That Can Be Done Better

From restaurant to restaurant there are small differences in the ways certain things are done, like where server stations are positioned, how the coffee station is organized, how the line out back is set up, etc. The restaurant should be set up and laid out so it runs at maximum efficiency, picture having a server station right next to the host stand, because the traffic flow there is heavy imagine being a guest walking in the front door and seeing 3 servers fighting to grab roll-ups or napkins for their tables, it’s doesn’t make the best first impression.

If you stop and think for a moment about the restaurant you work in, is there something that you think could be done to help things run smoother and more efficiently? Is there a problem with how a certain procedure is being done now?

If so why not speak up about it?

Everywhere I have worked, if there was something I could do to help make our job easier I would simply suggest it, or get permission to change something (providing it made sense and that everyone agreed). By this I’m not saying that you should go ask your managers for 6 new P.O.S. terminals or a staff massage chair (but kudos if you try), an example I’ll give you is something I suggested we do with tea setups at the coffee station.

The standard for how we did this was:

  • Grab a small oval plate and place a napkin on it.
  • Get a cup and put it on the left side of the plate.
  • Place a teaspoon next to that.
  • Put whatever tea bag was ordered into the cup, label facing the guest.
  • Find a tea-pot, fill it with hot water, place it on the plate to the right, then you are good to go.

This was such a drawn-out process (especially if 4 people were having tea at a table). This really frustrated me because for the extra $2.80 on the tables bill, it was the most time-consuming beverage we servers had to deal with and if it was busy it was a nightmare, it just wasn’t worth it. So rather than having to go through all these separate steps on-the-go I simply suggested that before service we just had as much of it ready as we could.

The new way we started to do things:

  • Grab a small oval plate (which already had the napkin, cup, spoon, and tea-pot on it).
  • Put the tea bag in the cup.
  • Fill the pot with hot water and you’re ready to rock and roll.

All it took for this change to happen was 5 minutes before the lunch or dinner service to have 20 of these plates preset, and if throughout service someone had the time they would just reset the few that may have been used so we would always have a full backup.

The amount of time it cut (especially when we were getting slammed) was awesome, and servers were less reluctant to cringe when a guest would ask for an Earl Grey tea.

Even though it may seem like a small thing, you have to remember that we work in a very time-sensitive job. I’m sure you are aware that if a guest has been waiting 4 minutes for their drink to get to them, they swear that it’s been 10 minutes. If you can save time and make things easier for you and your work colleagues then don’t be shy to make a suggestion. You could be responsible for making everyone’s job easier, good work :).

For more time-saving tips check out my other post 6 Time Management Tips.

Work smarter, not harder.