Table Turnover – How to calculate it and optimise it

As dining demand continues to rise, understanding table turnover rate can be a true asset in helping maximise your restaurant revenue and welcome as many diners as possible throughout the day.

Optimising and understanding average table turnover rate can sometimes be tricky, as you want to turn your restaurant tables as quickly as possible, while also avoiding rushing or adding pressure to your diners.

Placing too little attention on table turnover can invite a decrease in revenue potential as well as dining satisfaction. Finding the perfect middle point between giving your diners an adequate amount of time to dine and not losing time with long, drawn-out wait times between parties is the trick.

Luckily, there are some simple ways that you can calculate and optimise your restaurant table turnover while keeping diners satisfied.

How to Calculate Table Turnover

Calculating average table turnover rate is fairly simple – you just need to track how many guests (parties) you seat during a given dining time, then divide that by your total number of tables. 

For example: To calculate average table turnover rate during your dinner hours, you will need to divide the number of parties seated by the number of available tables at the end of the dinner period. 

If you have 10 tables and you seated 30 parties, your table turnover will be 3.

You can calculate by day or by dining time, which is more efficient and specific.

Creating table turnover goals and measuring success can vary as every dining experience differs. To find out the optimal time diners might need to spend in your restaurant, you can calculate the table turnaround time. The table turnaround time is how long a diner spends in your restaurant from the moment they sit to the moment they leave. Take a few days to analyse this at your different dining times to find an average, and with that you can better understand your table turnover goals.

Don’t forget – table turnover can always be optimised to ensure you are getting maximum results and revenue.

Increasing turnover through smoother processes 

One thing COVID taught the industry is how technology and processes can make everyone’s life easier. Ensuring that your restaurant is time efficient in every step is key to encouraging better table turnover. 

Improve service response times

Ensuring you have enough staff to meet demand is essential. Staff should be proactive in greeting and seating guests as soon as possible, as the dead time can have a big impact on table turnover. Not only will quicker greetings, quicker seatings and quicker responses to diners optimise table turnover, it will also improve diner satisfaction. 

Going Digital 

Many restaurants have already taken advantage of digital menus and digital payment solutions, and for good reason – these additions can play a big role in table turnover. With diners having access to your menus right away and even before being seated, they are much more likely to decide on their order quicker. 

Digital mobile payment solutions are great tools to improve efficiency. Diners no longer have to wait for payments to be processed during busy periods and can pay early if they choose to.

Avoid seating incomplete parties 

Whether it’s an online reservation, call-in or walk-in party, try to avoid seating parties before the full party has arrived as this can have a negative impact on table turnaround and turnover. To manage your diner’s expectations, be sure to communicate to them that you can only seat complete parties, particularly when you are at maximum occupancy.

Be creative in encouraging guests to move on after dining

While you never want to rush your guests or be pushy, sometimes they might not realise how long they have stayed after finishing their meals. During busy times, try offering your diners a seat at the bar if available or checking in to ask if they have finished or would like to order something else. As long as you are friendly and respectful to your diners, they should be understanding!

Make the most of seating arrangements and floorplan

Design your floorplan to best utilise the available space and ensure parties are seated on tables appropriate to size. Using digital seating technology like TheFork Manager will help you manage your seating plan efficiently and effectively, while also providing the flexibility to view and adjust your seating plan in real time. 

Even in times that are not so busy, try to keep parties of two at tables with seating for two, as you never know when demand could pick up throughout the day and a true party of four will arrive needing that seating.  

Make the most of these tips and find restaurant specific tips and tricks that work to optimize your table turnover. Once you have understood how to calculate and optimize your table turnover you can look forward to better restaurant flow and increased revenue.

Want to learn more about how to increase your restaurant revenue and optimise your activity? TheFork Manager offers a range of solutions to improve your restaurant’s operations and attract new customers.