20 ways to improve efficiency in your café or restaurant
Regardless of the style of hospitality business you run, keeping an eye on the efficiency of your processes will help you stay afloat. Here are 20 practical ways to improve café or restaurant efficiency from Kounta’s Head of Customers, Ed Randow-Stone.
By focusing on increasing efficiency in certain areas of your business where lots of time is spent, you can reduce your waste, keep staff happy and motivated, increase profits and improve customer experience.
Here are my top 20 ways to improve restaurant efficiency.
1. Get organised
There’s always a million things to do when running a restaurant or cafe, but it’s important to take the time to actively plan out your days and weeks, so that you can prioritise tasks and make sure you can coordinate your schedule in a way that allows you to get everything done
Make a to-do list for the week, check in with it each morning, assign tasks, and watch your efficiency sky rocket.
2. Keep staff motivated
Happy staff are efficient staff, and efficient staff are what it takes to keep your restaurant running smoothly.
Try identifying opportunities for improvement and then set up incentives for team members to achieve the goals you’ve set.
Whether it’s driving up their average transaction value (ATV) or maximising table management, keeping your staff motivated to excel in the areas that drive your business is key to operating efficiently and successfully.
3. Reduce human error
Integrating your POS to your payment systems so staff can’t key in wrong values is a great step to take when you’re considering how to improve restaurant performance. Prices are set and updated consistently, which drastically reduces the chance of mistakes and avoids negative customer interactions.
4. Upskill your team
Training your staff when they start is all well and good, but it’s important you don’t forget about ongoing training.
Giving team members the space and opportunity to upskill themselves not only helps your business run more smoothly but it’s an excellent way to improve employee retention and reduce the need to continually start from scratch with new employees.
Use POS reporting to spot your highest grossing staff by ATV and empower those team members to teach others.
5. Make it easy to cash out at closing time
The traditional end-of-day process can be a laborious one, fraught with lots of time spent looking for that stray five bucks.
By implementing an integrated payment solution, you can automatically reconcile your takings at day’s end, so you save an hour or so a day per site.
6. Integrate your accounting software
Anything that makes that world easier to understand, that makes that world less painful to view and limits the amount of time we need to spend tapping numbers into a computer, the better.
Centralised reporting, invoice management, tracking overheads, security and cash flow management are just some of the many benefits of integrating your accounting system with your POS.
Don’t let manual processes slow you down and get in the way of restaurant efficiency. Don’t spend unnecessary time on entering data by hand – integrate your accounting software with your POS to gain an accurate, real-time view of your business’ performance.
7. Spend less time managing staff logistics and more time running your business
Labour is one of the biggest expenses in your business, and as it gets busier, it gets a lot harder to know exactly when you should be cutting or adding labour hours to match all that extra demand.
Syncing your staff management program to your POS is a simple and efficient way to run your team, which will save you time and a lot of headaches.
Done correctly and this software setup allows you to build rosters off of historical sales data so you’re always staffing the right amount of staff and cutting back on any unnecessary labour costs. Plus, there are tools to better communicate and allocate assignments among your team, keeping efficiency high.
8. Leverage loyalty
Turn customers into regulars and increase restaurant efficiency by offering smart incentives that will keep them coming back – whether it be discounts, freebies or gift cards.
Check with your POS provider to see what they can offer in terms of a fully automated loyalty and referral program, and whether it syncs to your POS. Such a solution makes it easy to incentivise repeat business while also building your email database.
9. Make your data work harder
It’s all well and good to know your sales numbers, but the key to running a really efficient restaurant is to understand why the numbers are what they are.
Drilling into your data helps you complete the puzzle and use real, quantitative information from your business to make informed decisions that will keep your customers happy and help you make money.
10. Get everyone on the same page
Effective communication with your team is essential in order to run a smooth restaurant operation.
Hold a daily staff briefing that allows everyone to be across any important news or issues so everyone knows the lay of the land. Make sure your team are in the loop about any changes and the reasons why.
Having this knowledge avoids confusion and also makes team members feel confident about what’s going on around them.
11. Make purchasing stock simpler
Purchasing and managing your stock is one of the most important, and time consuming, parts of your business.
Your team should always know when and what to order, who to order it from, and what’s due for delivery – regardless of who’s on shift
Using purchasing software will help you keep over ordering and there for wastage to a minimum, and it also helps your team to log issues with anything that should have been received but wasn’t so you can follow up with suppliers as soon as the flag is raised.
12. Streamline food prep
Efficient food prep is a key component in any successful kitchen and it’s important that there are clear and consistent processes in place to make sure that the way the kitchen operates is the same no matter which staff are working or what’s on the menu that day and that the quality of the end product is always high.
Take, for example, a new staff member. If you or your most trained staff are no on site, will they know how to make all of your food items to a T?
Staying on top of how your kitchen operates gets much easier when you’ve got the right tools to do the heavy lifting.
Features that can facilitate a smoother kitchen workflow are now built right into cloud-based POS software.
13. Keep tabs on your tables
One of the most important restaurant efficiency tips is to implement a system that allows your team to know what’s going on in your restaurant at all times.
Often it’s not easy for staff to see all tables at once, so it’s important you have a table-management solution that allows your waitstaff to quickly see what tables are available to seat people efficiently and promptly.
The right solution will make this easy by allowing you to not only view all tables, but also see the status of tables in real-time. This awareness means that staff can keep on top of orders, identify issues, and fill spaces, which keeps customers happy and the restaurant flowing.
14. Communicate with the kitchen
No one likes to be kept waiting for their meal, so it’s important your restaurant has an effective system and process in place to ensure the waitstaff can communicate with the kitchen, so that meals arrive at tables when they should.
Believe it or not, there are products available on the market that handle this as well.
Such software features allows waiters to press a button to let the kitchen know when a particular table is ready for their next course.
This means meals will spend less time waiting around, getting cold, customers will receive their food in a timely manner, and waitstaff will spend less time running back and forth to the kitchen to chase orders.
15. Get the layout right
How your restaurant is designed is a key factor in how efficiently it runs. It’s important that your floor plan allows for easy circulation of staff and customers and that the different sections are positioned in a way that makes sense and reduces unnecessary back and forth.
Make sure not to overlook factors such as space between tables and the route of the waiters carrying the food to the dining area from the kitchen – this should be as straightforward and clear as possible to ensure quick and efficient service.
16. Remove unnecessary steps
Constantly be on the lookout for ways to trim wastage out of your processes. If certain tasks are sucking up a lot of your teams’ time, look at them critically and ask yourself if there’s a better way to go about it or a tech solution that could make them more efficient.
It’s easy to do things as they’ve always been done before, but constantly taking stock and evaluating the efficiency of your regular jobs will mean a much more streamlined business in the future.
17. Understand your products
Having a handle on which products are working the hardest for you, is an essential part of becoming more efficient. For example, if a product’s consistently underperforming, but it takes a long time to prep or includes a lot of ingredients, it might be worth ditching from the menu.
Look out for modern POS, inventory and specialist hospitality software that include analytics capabilities. Done properly, you can see at a glance what your top-selling products are by pulling your restaurant inventory management tracking report at any given time to determine which products are worth investing the time in.
18. Take payments to the table
These days, customers expect to pay their bill at the table, as soon as they’re ready for it, so it’s wise to make sure your payments solution is up to the task.
You want your POS and ordering software available on any device and integrates with fixed and mobile payment terminals to allow you to accept payments wherever your customers need to pay you, ensuring a seamless experience for them, making your teams’ life easier and increasing restaurant efficiency.
19. Take online reservations
People want to book online these days more and more, so it’s important that this feature is available to them.
Allowing customers to quickly and easily jump online and check availability on their preferred date and time, not only means more bookings, but it also reduces the time needed for staff to man the phones and take manual reservations.
20. Upgrade your POS system
A good POS will have efficiency minded features like table management, faster payments, and pretty much all of the above points, but the real benefit of a good POS is how it helps you stay on top of all your costs, like staffing, inventory, and more.
This type of solution will help you save on costs while giving you a lot more time to do the things you really should be focusing on. And that’s something we could probably all get behind.
Ready to streamline your operations for maximum restaurant efficiency? Find out how Kounta’s modern POS solutions can help.