Optimize Time: Best Tasks To Complete While Waiting On Customers

Every restaurant needs servers, and servers handle many tasks, from taking orders to cleaning up after customers who’ve left.

But servers certainly don’t do all the work – the greeters at the front show customers to their tables, the chefs make the food, and the janitors clean. The manager or business owner often handles administrative tasks, marketing, accounting, and so on, at least until they can delegate or automate.

These dynamics are different from one business to another. But servers can handle multiple responsibilities, particularly if they are sharp and trained well. Here are several examples.

Write Down Tasks As They Come To Mind

Any server who’s been at the restaurant until closing knows the steps they must walk through before they can go home and call it a day.

Managers may delegate additional tasks to them, or there may be some extra tasks to handle. Though a server may not have the time to handle the assignments the moment they are asked to do them, they can always make a running list of things they need to complete later, whether it’s for closing or just other things they need to do.

To-do lists ensure nothing is missed, and this is also a good way for owners or managers to get help from their team in systematizing repeatable processes.

Communicate With The Kitchen Staff

Any experienced server knows to do this and does it well. They let chefs know if there is a large group of customers just coming in. They keep the kitchen staff updated on the state of the restaurant, and how many mouths they must feed.

Skilled servers have also learned to keep things simple with getting orders to the kitchen. Today, with allergies, gluten-free options, and a focus on health and organic foods, customers have more demands than ever before. Staying on top of this and delivering the right plate every time keeps customers coming back.

Communicate With Other Servers

It’s wise for the entire serving team to be in constant communication to avoid overwhelm and ensure everything gets done. Certainly, most servers tend to handle whatever tables they’ve been assigned, but running for drink refills, cleaning tables, or delivering orders can be done by anyone if they are clear on what their responsibilities are.

Ongoing communication keeps things running smooth, and helps everyone stay on top of exactly what they need to do.

Clean Other Tables

When a server has a spare moment, they can always do some quick cleaning work and prepare for customers who may soon walk in the door. This is serving 101, but worth mentioning nonetheless.

Review Important Menu Information

Menus are often updated to reflect customer demands and interests, especially as a restaurant business is just getting off the ground. It can be hard to keep up with all these changes, but a server should make it their goal to get acquainted with the menus, even if they can’t learn it all in just one sitting.

Servers can spend their spare moments refreshing themselves on drink or menu specials, and learn about menu items they don’t know about so they know how to answer customer questions.

Conclusion

Servers can handle a variety of additional simple tasks, especially those with significant experience. Naturally, they should be focused on their primary role of taking orders, delivering and refilling drinks, clearing tables, bringing out food, and so on. But this doesn’t mean they can’t take on administrative duties or project work if they have the extra time and skills.

If you’re looking to make better use of you and your team’s time, stay in regular communication with them, hold meetings, and discuss workload. Some will be happy where they are, but there are typically others who wouldn’t mind taking on more.

Also, look at where communication is breaking down, or areas where workers could benefit from checklists or process documents that make repetitive tasks more streamlined.