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    7 Ways To Improve Restaurant Table Turnover Rates

    Written by Joel Strulovitch

    In the restaurant industry, table turnover rates are an important part of the revenue equation. Still, you never want your customers to feel pushed out of their seats for the next customer. Learning to tactfully balance the length of time diners spend at your tables can provide you the table turnover rate you need while actually improving the dining experience for your valued customers.

    How Your Restaurant Furniture Can Change Table Turnover Rates

    There are several practices your restaurant staff can use to encourage diners to give up their table quickly. But employing them tactfully can be a little difficult. Before you change the services you provide, it's a great idea to examine your dining room for ways to improve customer flow. Your restaurant furniture does more than offer your customers a comfortable spot to consume a meal. The pieces you use will provide subtle cues that trigger customer behavior.

    Your restaurant should make your guests feel comfortable — but not so relaxed they don't need to go home. 

    For instance, if every table in your dining room is a padded booth with plenty of privacy, diners may linger long after they're finished with the meal. Large tables and booths aren't necessary to seat small parties. Even the colors and materials of your restaurant furniture can impact how quickly each table is ready for the next customer in line.

    7 Ways to Speed Up Table Turnover Rates

    Table turnover rates come from a combination of practices and features that occur in your dining room. If you're using the right tactics, diners enjoy the time spent in your restaurant and will happily return for another visit. If you're failing to balance the equation, you miss out on the opportunity to serve as many first-time and repeat customers as possible. Try these seven tips to speed up your table turnover rates without spoiling your customers' dining experience.

    1. Consider Color Choices

    Believe it or not, the colors in your restaurant can impact how long diners remain at a table. Bold colors like red, yellow, and orange raise your heart rate and blood pressure in a way that mimics excitement. When these colors are implemented in your dining room, guests eat faster, providing you with quicker turnover rates. Bold colors can be used practically anywhere in your restaurant, including walls, plates, upholstery, tabletops, and even napkins

    2. Organize Your Seating System

    Good communication between staff members provides value in a variety of ways. When your host or hostess is managing a line of waiting customers, communication with servers can mean tables spend less time empty. As soon as a server collects the check and signals the busser to clear the table, the host should be notified to prepare the next party to be seated. Try these tips to effectively organize seating:

    • Assign tables to waiting customers.
    • Provide a waiting area near the host stand.
    • Provide a simple contact system between staff members

    3. Use Easy-to-Clean, Efficient Furniture

    Your customers aren't the only thing that affects how quickly tables are prepared for the next party. Each guest in your restaurant needs a clean, fresh place to enjoy their meal. While fine dining establishments require certain comforts, furniture should be easy to wipe down quickly. For example, many types of wood and leather can maintain a luxurious feel while being easy to clean. Alternatively, plastic and laminate make cleaning a cinch in casual dining spaces.

    4. Rearrange the Dining Room

    You may have noticed that guests tend to linger in some areas and pass through quickly in others. Tables and chairs placed in the center of the dining room put guests in a space that feels busy, prompting them to eat faster and avoid lingering. Anchored furniture like a booth tends to make diners more comfortable with longer stays. Using this knowledge to seat smaller parties at tables instead of booths and maximizing table use during times when customers are more likely to be in a hurry (like the lunch rush) can improve your table turnover rates.

    5. Prepare Servers With Easy Tips

    server taking orders at a small restaurant table

    There are a variety of ways that your servers can politely and discreetly keep customers moving throughout their visit. Engaging conversation and efficiency can provide both streamlined and tailored customer service. Try these tips for fast and friendly service.

    • Greet guests as soon as they're seated. 
    • Gather customer expectations with a friendly question: What brings you here today? 
    • Provide efficient service by combining visits to the table. For instance, bring a bread basket to the table when you approach to introduce yourself.

    6. Provide the Check Before Guests Are on Their Feet

    When your customers are lingering over drinks or dessert, they may be waiting for their server to make the next move. While you don't want to rush your guests out the door when they're only halfway through their meal, it's perfectly acceptable to provide the check if they've declined dessert. To speed up this step, have the check ready in your apron when offering dessert. Always be sure to politely add that the check is there for the customer's convenience with a simple "whenever you're ready" comment.

    7. Make Use of Bar Space

    If you've tried every trick in the book and diners still won't budge, politely ask them to move. Offering a free drink or dessert at the bar is a winning strategy for everyone involved. Bar stools seat customers more efficiently and allow you to get hungry customers to the table they've been waiting for. 

    Providing your patrons with a variety of different furniture in your restaurant allows you to offer the right service in every situation. Striking the perfect balance is key. If you're attempting to arrange your dining room furniture to provide maximum turnover and trim down your table turnover rates, advice from a reliable commercial furniture wholesaler can help. If you're planning to upgrade your restaurant furniture, consider checking out the wide variety of options available at Moda Seating. Our commercial furniture experts can even help you with floor planning so you can maximize your revenue without sacrificing ambiance.

    About Moda Seating

    Moda Seating is the pioneer of providing commercial seating online. Since 2008, Joel Strulovitch, the company’s founder, has been building upon his family’s tradition of providing quality commercial seating at affordable prices. Moda Seating has helped thousands of people achieve their dreams to open restaurants, hotels, event centers, and many other types of businesses where the patron’s experience is influenced by their physical environment.

    If you’re in the process of opening a restaurant or other type of venue where the experience of your customers will be influenced by the environment you provide, then rely on Moda Seating. No other commercial furniture wholesaler has been helping merchants online longer than we have. To help you get started, please download our free guide, 11 Steps to Successfully Open a Restaurant. And don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance. We’re happy to help!

    11 Steps to Successfully Open a Restaurant


    Tags: restaurant seating, restaurant tables, restaurant booths, open a restaurant