Effectively seating guests, taking and serving orders, and keeping guests happy during their meal is no easy feat. In comes table management… a way to turn tables efficiently by tracking tables and managing customers throughout their dining experience. It helps staff avoid confusion and paves the way for higher customer satisfaction and higher profit margin.
Small restaurants may effectively manage tables by a printed floor plan managed by the host or primary wait staff. Yet, when peak hours or an extra rush of guests appear, staff can become overwhelmed with the number of tables. This affects both wait staff and the kitchen, which inevitably leads to unhappy guests.
Are you ready to take a closer look at the ways in which you can run a smarter restaurant and manage your tables efficiently? Let’s get started!
The modern way to manage tables effectively is by investing in a table management app through the following steps:
Choosing a Table Management App
Your POS system should play a huge role in restaurant table management. If you do not have a POS with the ability to integrate table management, look for a new POS that offers table management as one of its many features. Choosing the best app for your restaurant may also provide ways for you to efficiently handle menu management, customer payments, and staff scheduling. The right table management app will automate your seating processes (especially for those rush times) and turn over tables quickly while keeping your customers happy.
The key features to seek in a table management app include:
- Replicate your actual table layout in the app.
- See how many people are seated at any given table.
- View open tables.
- View the size of each open table so you can appropriately seat parties.
- Keep track of tabs for the bar section of your restaurant.
- Track open orders.
- Track each table’s payment status.
Help Your Staff Maximize Efficiency
There are other ways your table management process can help both you and your staff. There should be written guidelines for successfully tending to tables, whether this means making sure water glasses are always filled or ensuring servers don’t rush customers through their meal. By clearly explaining exactly what you expect from your staff and keeping an open communication line, you’ll be running your restaurant effectively and efficiently in many ways, such as:
- Providing feedback on a regular basis by openly communicating with your staff about what they’re doing well and where there are areas of improvement. If you encourage an open dialogue, staff will be more receptive to your feedback and feel more comfortable giving you theirs. Remember to include customer feedback as motivation to provide excellent customer service to guests at all times.
- Using the table management feature in your POS system, track which servers are turning the most tables. You can then use this information to help underperforming servers help customers more quickly. This may mean determining their strengths and weaknesses in certain sections and repositioning them on the floor based on that.
- Beyond simply observing the data you receive through your table management app, it’s important to act on what you learn from that data. This means being aware of when times are busy and ensuring you and your staff make the right accommodations.
- Plan for busy periods of time. As shifts get busy, make sure each server has an area they cover so they can efficiently assist each customer. You don’t want a table to go without service for extended periods of time, or for them to feel rushed throughout the experience.
- Be strategic about where your hosts seat people. Don’t have multiple people seated in one server’s area in a short period of time, while other servers’ sections are empty. Make sure your host staff pays attention to how long parties have been seated in certain areas, who is close to departing, and where the optimal place would be for each arriv