Table turnover rate refers to the number of times a restaurant's tables are occupied by different groups of customers over a specific period, typically an hour or a day. It is an essential metric for restaurants as it helps measure the efficiency and profitability of their operations. A high table turnover rate generally indicates that a restaurant is serving more customers and generating more revenue, while a lower turnover rate may suggest slower service or under utilized seating capacity.
In this blog we’ll cover how to calculate your table turnover rate as well as methods to increase the table turnover rate for your restaurant!
How to Calculate Your Restaurant’s Table Turnover Rate
To calculate the table turnover rate, you can use the following formula:
For example, if your restaurant has 20 tables, and over the course of one evening you served 80 different groups of customers, then the table turnover rate would be:
So, in this example, your restaurant has a table turnover rate of 4, meaning that each table, on average, was occupied by different groups of customers four times during the chosen time period.
A high turnover rate is generally desirable for most restaurants as it indicates that they are efficiently using their seating capacity and serving a larger number of customers, which can lead to increased revenue. However, it's essential to strike a balance between a high turnover rate and providing a pleasant dining experience to customers, as rushing diners can negatively impact their satisfaction.
How to Increase Your Table Turnover Rate
Train Your Staff in Efficient Seating
It's essential to have the host efficiently seat customers as soon as tables become available. This minimizes idle periods for tables and maximizes the number of parties served. Additionally, implementing a well-organized seating plan is crucial, particularly during peak hours. This ensures that every available table is utilized effectively, preventing situations where tables remain vacant when there is high demand. These actions can significantly enhance the restaurant's capacity to serve more customers in a shorter amount of time.
Incorporate a Streamlined Menu
Optimizing your restaurant menu can impact table turnover rate, positively influencing both the dining experience and revenue generation. To improve table turnover, consider streamlining your menu by focusing on high-demand and efficiently prepared menu items. A concise menu not only reduces the time customers spend deciding on what to eat but also speeds up kitchen operations. It's important to strike a balance by offering a variety of dishes while avoiding an overly extensive menu that can overwhelm diners and lead to longer wait times.
Implement Quick Service
To improve table turnover, prioritize training your staff to be efficient without rushing guests. Implementing strategies like taking orders promptly, delivering dishes on time, and offering timely bill settlements can significantly reduce wait times. Remember that quick service doesn't mean sacrificing quality, it's about finding the right balance to serve a maximum number of parties within a specific time period while ensuring guests have a satisfying dining experience.
Include a Reservation Option
By encouraging customers to make reservations, you can better manage your restaurant's flow of customers. To maximize table turnover, set clear reservation guidelines that ensure guests arrive on time or within a reasonable grace period. This prevents empty tables during peak hours and optimizes the restaurant's capacity to serve more customers. Additionally, consider allocating specific time slots for reservations, especially during busy periods, to efficiently accommodate as many parties as possible.
Pre-bussing, the practice of promptly clearing tables once guests have finished their meals, is a valuable strategy for restaurant owners aiming to increase table turnover rate. By ensuring that tables are cleaned and reset as soon as diners leave, you create an efficient transition for the next party. This not only prepares the table for the next guests but also gives the impression of attentive service, which contributes to an overall positive dining experience. Train your staff to be proactive in pre-bussing, removing empty plates, used utensils, and other debris swiftly, allowing for quicker seating of new customers.
Utilize Digital Menus
Incorporating digital menus and ordering systems can be a game-changer for restaurant owners. By leveraging technology, you can streamline the ordering process, reducing wait times and enhancing efficiency. Digital menus, accessible through tablets or mobile apps, allow customers to browse and place orders seamlessly, minimizing the time spent waiting for a server to take their order.
Experiment With Design and Layout
Strategic restaurant decor and layout choices can significantly impact a restaurant's table turnover rate. Choose a design that combines aesthetics with functionality. Consider using vibrant and energetic colour schemes to subtly encourage diners to enjoy their meals without lingering excessively. Furthermore, an open and spacious layout that allows for easy movement of both customers and staff can promote efficient seating and service. Experiment with seating arrangements to find the most effective layout for your specific space.
Add Order Ahead Options for Reservations
By allowing customers to pre-order their meals when they have a reservation, you can streamline the dining experience. This approach not only reduces the time spent looking at the menu but also expedites kitchen operations, enabling faster food preparation.
Try Pay at the Table Technology
Integrating pay-at-the-table technology is a smart strategy for restaurant owners. This technology enables customers to settle their bills directly at their tables, reducing the wait times associated with traditional payment processes. By allowing customers to pay at their convenience, you not only expedite the departure process but also create a more satisfying dining experience.