What is Restaurant Table Turnover Rate?

Table turnover rate measures of how often a table is occupied by a new group of guests during a specific period of time. It is calculated by dividing the number of guests served by the number of tables available during that time period.

For example, if a restaurant has 10 tables and serves 30 guests in a four-hour period, its table turnover would be 3. This means that each table was occupied by a new group of guests an average of three times during that four-hour period.

Finding the table turnover sweet spot is important for restaurant owners and operators because it can help improve profitability. A higher average table turnover rate may mean that more guests can be served right at the table in a given period of time, which can lead to increased sales and revenue. The rate at which tables are occupied by different groups of guests during a specific timeframe is known as the table turnover. This rate is determined by dividing the number of guests served by the number of tables available during that particular timeframe. The ideal turnover rate changes based on type of restaurant. For example, a casual restaurant usually has a higher turnover rate.

For example, if a restaurant has 10 tables and serves 30 guests within a span of four hours, its table turnover would be 3. This indicates that, on average, each table within was occupied by a new group of guests three times during that four-hour duration.

The table turnover holds significant importance for restaurant owners and operators as it can greatly impact profitability. A higher turnover suggests that more guests can be served within a given timeframe, potentially resulting in increased sales and revenue. 

How to Calculate Table Turnover Rate?

 To improve the table turnover rate, it’s important to understand how to calculate the table turnover rate. You can’t fix your table turnover rate without understanding the two key components: the total number of tables and the total number of customers served over a specific period. Here’s how you can calculate it and move closer towards a high table turnover rate:

1. Determine the total number of tables: Count the total number of tables available in your establishment. This should include all tables available for seating customers.

2. Determine the total number of customers served: Count the total number of customers served during a specific period. This period could be a day, week, month, or any time frame you choose. The number of customers can be obtained through your point of sale (POS) system or manual tracking.

3. Calculate the table turnover: Divide the total number of customers served by the total number of tables available. Then, multiply the result by 100 to get the percentage.

Table Turnover = (Total Number of Customers Served / Total Number of Tables) * 100

For example, if you served 400 customers over a day and have 20 tables, the calculation would be:
Table Turnover = (400 / 20) * 100 = 2,000%

This means that your table turnover is 2,000%, indicating that your tables were turned over 20 times in a day.

Keep in mind that the table turnover is an average for a period and may fluctuate depending on various factors like peak times, customer behavior, and service efficiency.

How to Increase Table Turnover and Improve Your Restaurant Table Turnover Rate

1. Efficiently manage reservations: Ensure that the booking system is organized and avoids overbooking to prevent delays in table turnover. Use technology, such as a restaurant management software, to track who chose to reserve a table, and manage waitlists effectively.
2. Optimize seating arrangements: Arrange tables in a way that maximizes the use of available space without compromising customer comfort. Consider using smaller tables for smaller groups, flexible seating options, and appropriately-sized dining areas for different occasions (e.g., casual dining vs. fine dining).
3. Streamline ordering processes: Implement efficient ordering systems, such as tablet-based or mobile ordering, which allow customers to place their orders directly with the kitchen or bar staff without relying on a server. Also, ensure that the waiting staff is adequately trained to take orders quickly and accurately.
4. Improve kitchen efficiency: Optimize kitchen operations by organizing workstations, implementing efficient food prep processes, and cross-training kitchen staff to handle different tasks. This will help minimize waits for food preparation, ensuring that customers are served promptly.
5. Enhance service speed: Train the waiting staff to work quickly and efficiently, minimizing the time taken to serve and clear tables. Encourage them to be attentive, ensuring that guests’ needs are promptly addressed and orders are delivered accurately.
6. Encourage self-service options: Introduce self-service stations or areas where guests can easily access beverages, condiments, or utensils. This reduces the need for staff involvement in basic tasks, allowing them to concentrate on more significant tasks like taking orders and serving food.
7. Incentivize quick dining: Offer time-limited promotions or specials during off-peak hours that encourage customers to eat quickly. For example, a discounted lunch menu that must be ordered and consumed within a specific time frame may motivate guests to dine efficiently.
8. Streamlined payment processes: Simplify the payment process by accepting different forms of payment (cash, credit/debit cards, mobile payments) and offering tableside payment options. This reduces the time required to settle the bill, allowing for quicker table turnover.
9. Pre-bussing tables: Train the staff to promptly clear tables of empty dishes and reset them for the next guests, known as pre-bussing. This practice not only keeps the restaurant tidy but also signals to waiting customers that the table is ready for seating.
10. Manage guest expectations: Educate customers about the average dining time in your establishment and provide estimated waits during busy periods. Transparent communication helps manage their expectations and reduces frustration.
11. Continuous staff training: Regularly train and refresh your team on efficient table turnover practices. Address any bottlenecks or issues that may be causing delays and provide ongoing coaching to improve productivity.
12. Collect customer feedback: Actively seek feedback from customers to identify any areas where improvements can be made. This feedback can help identify bottlenecks or issues that may impact table turnover and enable you to implement appropriate solutions.

Ways to Improve Your Restaurant Table Turnover Rate with Technology

1. Implementing a Kitchen Display System (KDS): A KDS integrated with Lavu POS can help streamline communication between the kitchen and the front of the house. Orders can be sent directly from the POS to the kitchen, minimizing errors and reducing the overall preparation time. This can help expedite the food preparation process and ensure a faster table turnover.
2. Utilize Contactless Payment Restaurant Kiosks: By offering self-service kiosks for ordering and payment, customers can place and pay for their orders without the need for staff assistance. This eliminates waiting time caused by long queues and improves the overall efficiency of the ordering process. Customers can quickly place their orders, pay, and move on, allowing tables to be occupied by new customers sooner.
3. Offer Mobile Ordering and Payment Options: Implement a mobile ordering and payment platform that integrates with Lavu POS. Customers can use their smartphones to browse the menu, place orders, and pay for their meals. This eliminates the need for physical menus and reduces the time taken for the ordering and payment process. A dedicated app or a mobile-responsive website can be developed for this purpose.
4. Optimize Waitstaff Efficiency with Smart POS Features: Lavu POS offers various features to enhance waitstaff efficiency. For example, tableside ordering allows waitstaff to take orders directly at the table and send them to the kitchen immediately, reducing the time taken for order processing. Additionally, features like split checks and quick order modifications can further speed up the order management process and improve overall table turnover.
5. Implement Table Management Software: Lavu POS offers table management features that can help optimize seating and manage table turnover. With advanced table layout management, it becomes easier to assign tables to customers efficiently. The system can also track dining durations and send alerts to the staff when a table is ready for the next customer. This allows for better planning and faster turnover.
6. Utilize Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools: Collect customer data and preferences, enabling personalized offers and promotions. By leveraging this information, you can encourage repeat business and build loyalty among customers. Offering exclusive deals or rewards to frequent patrons can incentivize them to dine more frequently, indirectly improving table turnover.

Overall, incorporating technology, particularly Lavu POS with KDS, contactless payment kiosks, and mobile ordering, can greatly enhance the operational efficiency and speed of service, leading to improved table turnover rate in restaurants.

How to Seat Incomplete Parties and Improve Table Turns

Seating incomplete parties and improving table turnover at any type of restaurant can be a challenging task to improve restaurant operations. However, with the following strategies, you can effectively manage incomplete parties and maximize table turnover in the restaurant industry:

1. Optimize table layouts: Consider having a variety of table sizes available that can be easily rearranged. This way, you can accommodate both small and large parties, making it easier to seat incomplete groups at appropriate tables without wasting space.
2. Train host/hostess staff: Ensure that your host/hostess staff is well-trained and empowered to make seating decisions. They should understand the capacity of each table and prioritize seating parties with missing members in appropriate areas to maximize seating efficiency.
3. Communicate waits: Keep an open line of communication with customers by providing accurate wait estimates. This will help manage their expectations and reduce frustration. Use a digital waitlist management system to update customers via SMS or mobile app notifications.
4. Offer seating options at the bar or lounge area: If your restaurant has a bar or lounge area, consider offering seating options for incomplete parties in these areas. This can help reduce overall waits and also provide a unique experience for customers.
5. Implement a call-ahead seating policy: Allow customers to call ahead and put their name on the waitlist before arriving at the restaurant. This way, you can plan for their arrival and minimize waits by assigning them a table as soon as possible.
6. Train servers on efficient service: Train your servers to provide efficient yet personalized service to ensure prompt dining experiences. Encourage them to present menus and take drink orders shortly after accommodating incomplete parties to save time and help table turnovers.
7. Use technology to streamline processes: Use a restaurant management system with Lavu that includes table management features, allowing you to track table availability, manage reservations, and streamline seating processes. Such technology can help optimize table turns and reduce wait times for incomplete parties.
8. Offer incentives for flexible seating: Consider providing incentives such as a complimentary drink or appetizer to customers who are willing to be flexible with their seating preferences. This can encourage cooperation and make it easier to seat incomplete groups in high-demand areas.
9. Monitor table turnover metrics: Regularly analyze data on table turns and wait times to identify areas for improvement. Look for bottlenecks in the seating process to make necessary adjustments and optimize efficiency.
10. Continuously improve communication and service: Regularly seek feedback from both customers and staff to identify areas where you can improve communication, service, and seating processes. This feedback loop will help you refine your strategies and create a better overall dining experience.
By implementing these strategies, you can effectively seat incomplete parties and improve table turnover in your restaurant, resulting in happier customers and increased efficiency. 

Other Ways to Calculate Your Restaurant Table Efficiency

Here are some other ways to calculate your efficiency, other than your table turnover rate:

1. Average time spent per guest: Calculate the average time each guest spends at a table. This can help identify slow or fast service times, allowing you to improve seat turnover rate efficiency in those areas.
2. Wait time: Measure the average wait time for guests to be seated. By reducing this time, you can accommodate more guests during peak hours and increase table efficiency.
3. Order completion time: Calculate the time it takes from placing an order to serving the food. Efficiency can be improved by streamlining the kitchen processes or optimizing the order-taking system.
4. Reservation management: Monitor the rate of reservation cancellations or no-shows. Efficient reservation management helps to optimize table usage, improves turnover time, and reduces unnecessary empty tables.
5. Service quality rating: Gather feedback from customers regarding service quality. By improving the overall dining experience, guests are more likely to stay longer, resulting in improved table efficiency.
6. Size of tables: Optimize table sizes to accommodate different party sizes. Having the right balance of small and large tables ensures maximum use of available space and minimizes wasted seating capacity.
7. Table arrangement: Evaluate the layout of tables in your restaurant. Consider different seating configurations to maximize space utilization without hampering guest comfort or service efficiency.
8. Staff productivity: Assess the performance of your staff in terms of table turnover. Consider training programs or staff monitoring to enhance their efficiency and minimize downtime between seating guests.
9. Online ordering and delivery efficiency: If your restaurant offers online ordering or delivery services, monitor the efficiency of these processes. Streamlining the order fulfillment and delivery systems can help maximize the number of orders served per hour.
10. Benchmarking: Compare your restaurant’s table efficiency with industry standards or similar establishments. Benchmarking can give you valuable insights into areas where you can improve and a way to increase overall efficiency.

These tips can help you turn tables much clicker. Connect with a Lavu professional today to learn more about how we can help.