Finding your restaurant’s best turnover rate is a hard thing to master. One one hand you want to have as many patrons as possible during operating hours, but on the others you can’t make your customers feel like they are being rush — this is a great way to send your business down the tubes.

On average, a good goal for table turnover is to turn each table over 3 times during dinner service – or approximately, 90 minutes. Saying it sounds simple, but in reality that is not the case. Often times you find a group of people who just decide that they don’t want to leave, long after the check has been paid. These people can drag down your dinner services and your profits.

If you are looking for some tips on how to optimize your table turnover, continue reading below.

Menu Optimizations

One really simple way to optimize table turnover, is to optimize your restaurant’s menu, or offer less choices. Believe it or not, having too many choices makes a decision harder and ultimately takes more time for the customer to find something they like. An option to solve this would be to  have a smaller menu that includes only your popular dishes. Even better, you can keep it fresh by switching up the menu every season or have weekly specials. The faster you can get your customers to order, the faster you can get them out of there and on to the next table.

Keep Your Team on Schedule.

One of the easiest and simple ways to better maximize table turnover is to make sure that your serving staff is doing their job. An average dining experience is 1.5 hours, if your staff doesn’t show up to the table right away, guess what, you have already added extra time to the table. On top of that you will also have customers who start to change their attitudes if a server does not come and acknowledge the table within the first few minutes.

With that in mind, remember these things when keeping your staff scheduling:

  1. Have your staff greet the table within 1-2 minutes of being seated.
  2. Bring out water as soon as possible as well as take their drink orders
  3. Go over the daily specials as well as ask if your patrons have dined here before.  Always tell the price of the special to avoid final check surprises, which after a great experience can leave a bad negative.
  4. Have a large party? It may be best to have 2 servers cover the table to ensure all guest are satisfied.
  5. As soon as your patrons have cleared their plates, take them off the table
  6. Have your silverware, napkins, dishes all set and ready to be put out as soon as the table is cleared.

Organized Seating System

The next best thing you can do to optimize table turnover is to have an organized seating system as well as stellar communication between your servers and host. For example, as soon as the server collects the bill, they should notify the buss staff that the table needs to be cleared, as well as notify the host that the table is being prepared to seat new patrons. Basically, in a nutshell, the faster you can get your host to seat the latest patrons, the less amount of time your tables will stay empty.

Here are some tips to achieve that organized seating system.

  1. If possible, assign tables to customers waiting in line so that they can be seated as soon as a table opens up.
  2. Make sure you have a designated seating area for your patrons to wait in. If they have to stand outside, it will be that much harder to locate them when their table is ready.

Technology Is Your Friend

We live in a technological world, your restaurant should too. Nothing wastes more time than for a server to have to drop the check off, wait for the the payment, bring to the POS, print out receipts and then bring it back to the table. Even though it seems like short amount of time, it adds up as the night goes on.

One way to fix this problem is to have your restaurant invest in technologies such as a mobile POS system like Square (a lot of places in Europe do this too). If you have the money to really upgrade your restaurants POS, you could look to solutions that actually let you run a customer’s credit card at the table right in front of them, ensuring you are optimizing every single minute.

By making some of these small optimizations you will find that it can lead to shorter times for dining patrons as well as a higher rate of table turnover.

No Cost Analysis of Your Menu

We will be glad to review your menu and point out things that may help your menu work better. Even if you are not using our menu papers or printing services. Email a PDF or JPEG of your menu to

If you need our full service of typesetting and printing your menus or just printing from your files,
visit or call 1-800-815-5342 to get started