How to Be More Productive at Your Restaurant Job

By: AJ Beltis

4 Minute Read

Mar 28, 2018

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Show up. Clock in. Inventory. Staff meetings. Wave of customers. Someone gets the wrong order. A server quits. You have an interview in 20 minutes. The specials haven't been written yet.

And it's not even 1:00 yet. I bet you just can't wait to do this all over again during the dinner shift.

Restaurant managers have more moving parts in their job than nearly any other profession. That's why we built out a restaurant productivity calculator to help you figure out how to be productive in your restaurant job.

Read on for best tips for staying productive, and download the restaurant productivity calculator for free below.

Click Here to Use the Restaurant Productivity Calculator

Step 1: Record Your Daily Activities

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First things first – determine how much time you spend on each of your daily duties.

We all think we're making the most of our time until we see just where it's allocated. Tracking and monitoring how productive you are will make you realize that you really do spend seven hours a week doing mundane G+A work and 16 hours a week putting out fires (literally or figuratively).

Using a tracking doc – itemized and broken down by task – is the most efficient way to do this. It holds you accountable and helps you reflect on how you spend your time.

2) Find the Time Suckers

restaurant time

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After you record the time spent on each task, take a look at which ones are draining the most hours from your day. Chances are, those are the activities that are making you less productive.

In the example above, this restaurateur is pretty on track when it comes to duties like payroll and G+A work. She also is performing better than average when it comes to marketing, social media management, scheduling, and menu work.

However, she can easily identify her time suckers – the tasks that drain more hours. Inventory, staffing, closing out, reporting, and putting out fires take more time for her than for the average restaurateur. By comparing her numbers to other industry numbers, she can start to make changes to get her productivity to a better place.

3) Make Your Changes

Once you identify your time suckers, start making changes to make yourself more productive. Here are some resources to help you save some time at your restaurant.

  • Inventory Tracking & Orders - Instead of tracking all of your food orders by pen and paper, use inventory management software to reduce human error and get a better grasp on your food waste variance, spillage, and actual usage.
  • Menu Work - Designing a menu takes more time than most people think. Menu engineering software gives insight into a specific restaurant's profit drivers and makes building a menu that much easier.
  • Hiring, Training & Interviewing -The whole process of hiring and staffing has become an ordeal for restaurants nationwide. Tools like onboarding plans and checklists are available in employee retention handbooks and can ease the communication between employer and employee.
  • Marketing & Social Media - Marketing can be complicated, especially if you're reactive than proactive. Get ahead of the game and use a well-thought-out restaurant marketing plan throughout the year.
  • Staff Meetings - Engaging staff training practices make meetings more informative and efficient. Get 15 free staff training and meeting ideas when you subscribe to the Toast Restaurant Management Blog.

4) Lather, Rinse, Repeat (Until Best Results)

Still not satisfied with the way your day is going?

Track your hours again, see where your time suckers and gaps are, and make some more changes until you find the feng shui in your day-to-day you need to function and run the business.

Yes, the unexpected fire will ignite and pull you away from your back-office duties. Yes, staff will churn, no matter how badly you want them to stay.

But as a wise wizard said, "All you have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to you."

The more you can plan out your day while leaving free time for those unexpected hurdles, the more you can expect to be productive (and the less you can stress). This can be easier said than done, so try using a free time tracking tool that can help you structure your schedule.

Download the Restaurant Productivity Calculator and start tracking your time for free.

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