Increase the Restaurant Table Turnover Rate In 7 Easy Steps

December 19, 2022
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Lauren Platero
December 19, 2022
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Are you searching for restaurant or bar profitability strategies? If so, we recommend raising the restaurant table turnover rate. Similar to inventory turnover, the restaurant table turnover rate is a major KPI in the restaurant industry

Want to learn all about calculating the restaurant table turnover rate? We’ve got you covered, from its formula to ways to increase it. Let’s jump in. 

Table Turnover Rate: Definition

The table turnover rate in a restaurant refers to the number of tables that are occupied during a specific period. A high restaurant table turnover rate is common in more casual dining eateries. Whether it be a fast casual or quick service restaurant, it’s normal to serve many tables during operating hours.

It’s important to note that in fine dining restaurants, it’s not recommended to promote a fast table turnover rate. Part of an upscale restaurant experience includes taking time to enjoy each course. It’s also important for such restaurants to encourage guests to relax and enjoy their experience.

Restaurant Table Turnover Rate: Formula

To calculate the restaurant table turnover rate, start by choosing a time period. More often than not, this will be a shift or the number of operating hours in a given day. If you’re overhauling your restaurant strategies, it’s also a good idea to calculate the table turnover rate for each day of the week. 

Once you have a time period picked out, divide the number of customers you serve by the total number of tables in the establishment. In simpler terms, here is what the restaurant table turnover rate formula should look like:

Restaurant Table Turnover Rate = Total Customers Seated / Total Number of Tables

For example, if a restaurant seats 50 customers in an evening and they’re dispersed across 10 tables, then the restaurant table turnover rate is 5 turns. 

How to Increase the Restaurant Table Turnover Rate

Are you ready to increase the restaurant table turnover rate? Bear in mind that it’ll warrant much more work and dedication from the staff. However, once there’s a balance, the business’ profitability can potentially skyrocket. 

So, let’s dive into seven ways that a business owner or restaurant manager can boost table turnover rates!

1. Use QR Codes

QR codes are cost-effective and favorable ways to speed up the restaurant table turnover rate. A custom QR code is a multi-functional feature that can integrate with your menus and restaurant POS platform

QR codes are a type of innovative restaurant technology that can speed up the table turnover rate in no time. Not only do they give guests constant access to menus, but they also allow them to place orders and pay with the tap of a button. 

SproutQR can host the most user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing QR code menus. Book a demo today to create one for your restaurant! 

2. Install Tableside Devices

Pay at table restaurants have high turnover rates. This is due to the use of tableside devices. Such technology allows customers to order menu items and pay the bill independent of a server. 

Customers who are able to handle tasks before the server returns to their table are speeding up the entire process. Plus, it eliminates the number of responsibilities for the wait staff

3. Serve Guests ASAP

You can’t speed up the restaurant table turnover rate if the dishes take too long coming out of the kitchen. Ensure that your kitchen operations are efficient and that there aren’t any delays. 

An effective way to combat this issue is to onboard a kitchen display system. This popular restaurant tech solution is present in the front of house and back of house areas of an eatery. As orders enter the POS system by the host, the kitchen staff will have immediate access to them. 

Chefs won’t have to wait on one of the waiters to retrieve their party’s order. Plus, it allows them to prepare dishes in chronological order, so none of them get left behind. 

4. Offer Contactless Payment Methods

Contactless payments are valuable in restaurants for many reasons. Card and chip readers are useful payment processing methods, but contactless mobile payments are even better. 

Allowing customers to pay the bill by scanning their smartphone is efficient, simple, sanitary, and a time-saver. By offering such payment methods, restaurants can speed up the time it takes for parties to pay the check and leave. 

5. Keep the Menu Types to a Minimum

Restaurants that have an extensive menu run the risk of a slow table turnover rate. A lengthy menu will boost the time it takes for customers to decide on what to order. In turn, you usually can’t experience a high restaurant table turnover rate. 

A limited menu can also streamline kitchen operations. When customers have a plethora of items to choose from, it’s that much harder for the chefs. It also makes it unreasonable to prepare items in advance. 

Even though a restaurant with a long menu can include best-sellers, you can’t always count on them being sold every shift. So, creating various meals from scratch every single day can take more time than you’d like to see. 

6. Prepare Meals In Advance

A fast restaurant table turnover rate stems from the kitchen. Chefs can help increase the table turnover rate by having certain items prepared in advance.

Are there any particular menu items that sell during every shift? If so, prepare these meals ahead of time. From pre-slicing meat and fish to organizing portions of salad ingredients, there are many ways to save time once orders start rolling in. 

Another way that you can speed up kitchen processes is by having frequently used ingredients measured in individual storage containers. A lot of time while cooking and baking is spent measuring ingredients. By completing this step before each shift, chefs can take the math or guesswork out of preparing each recipe. 

7. Create An Upbeat Atmosphere

Music is a powerful tool in restaurant settings. Studies have shown that people are more likely to consume their food at a quicker rate when fast tempo music is on. That’s why vibrant yet casual chain restaurants play popular hits, while luxury restaurants play softer, low tempo music. 

It might also be beneficial to update your restaurant’s color scheme. Warm, vibrant colors like red and orange are known to increase a sense of urgency. Neutral tones on the other hand, are much more comfortable and can cause customers to linger.  

Frequently Asked Questions About the Restaurant Table Turnover Rate

Learning how to calculate the restaurant table turnover rate is essential for business owners. This metric can help guide new strategies and gauge the success of current operations. See below for a recap surrounding this topic:

How Do You Calculate Restaurant Table Turnover Rate? 

To calculate the restaurant table turnover rate, divide the number of customers served by the number of tables during a specific time period. For example, if you served 40 customers who occupied 10 tables during an eight hour period, your table turnover would be 4 turns over an 8 hour period.

What Is Restaurant Seating Turnover Rate?

Restaurant seating turnover rate refers to the total number of times each seat will be occupied during a shift. The higher the seat turnover ratio, the more sales you’ll generate. 

Is Table Turnover the Same As Seat Turnover?

Table turnover refers to the rate in which customers occupy a table, whereas seat turnover refers to the number of times an individual seat will be occupied during a shift. With this said, table turnover and seat turnover are slightly different concepts. 

What Does Table Turnover Mean?

Table turnover refers to the amount of time parties occupy tables before they leave. In theory, a fast table turnover rate is ideal, as it allows restaurants to serve more customers during a shift.  

Why Are Restaurant Turnover Rates So High?

Restaurant turnover rates have a tendency to increase when business owners hire the following employees:

  • First-time restaurant industry employees 
  • Part-time and temporary employees
  • High school and university students
  • Seasonal employees 

To avoid high turnover rates, consider hiring employees who have experience in the restaurant business and are looking for a long-term opportunity. 

Conclusion 

A high restaurant table turnover rate means that businesses can serve more customers. Once your restaurant establishes a way to maintain a high table turnover rate, anticipate a boost in revenue and profitability.

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