How to Maintain Good Staffing Levels For Your Restaurant

by braniac ; Updated September 26, 2017
A Busy Wait Staff Member

Thinking everything is under control in your "front of the house" and suddenly you discover there aren't enough wait staff available to cover all the tables in the dining area! Or, just before opening, you learn that a dish room employee called in sick! This is a problem that will quickly reduce the profitability of any food service operation and possibly result in dramatic consequences. Such a situation in any restaurant, diner, hotel, or assisted living dining service operation can be remedied. In order to learn how to maintain good staffing levels for your restaurant, some very important steps need to be taken.

A Good Staff Has Good Direction

Designate a leader. Understanding all aspects of their job and exactly what is expected of them, enables any member of the staff to go about his/her duties efficiently. Consequently, it's necessary to have one person specifically in charge of hiring, scheduling, training and supervising the members of the staff. No matter what the title of this position is, that person must have full authority and accountability over all aspects of staff performance under his or her control.

Explain What's Being Served

Inform your people. Prior to the beginning of any shift, each and every member of the staff needs to attend a staff "line up", or briefing. During this activity, all aspects of the menu items will be explained by the lead chef or his representative, followed by a question and answer period discussing the menu of the day. Also, during this period, the person in charge of the wait staff will be observing staff members to make sure proper dress code is being followed.

Provide Plenty Of Tools For The Job

Provide tools for the job. Proper equipment and easy access to it is critical for a smooth and successful meal service operation. Availability of menus, order slips, aprons, napkins, table cloths, silver ware, coffee servers, trays and tray stands etc., allows the wait staff to operate in a professional manner.

Abide By The Rules

Monitor the staff closely. Providing table service and getting paid for it is the reason members of the wait staff are here. Everyone deserves to work in a pleasant work environment and with that in mind, bickering, arguing, yelling, bullying and the use of profanity are all unacceptable actions among the staff members. Violators of these rules of the workplace should be dealt with accordingly and swiftly.

Staff Members Having An After Shift Meal

Praise your workers often. Provide feedback frequently. Permitting the staff members to have a meal "on the house" when their shift is over, is a great way for the business to express its thanks to these hard working people. Such a meal, including a soft beverage, should be made available only for consumption on the premises, at the chef's discretion and isn't one selected from a menu.

Follow The Work Schedule

Honor a person's time off. Many employees consider their free-time as something that's almost sacred. Posting an employee work schedule enables staff and management to plan ahead. And observing that work schedule is what keeps everybody happy. Some food service operations have a "good-to-call list" posted under the employee's work schedule, for the benefit of those who wouldn't mind being "called in" on their scheduled day off.

Congratulate People For Their Service

Congratulate people for their service. And be willing to welcome them back. Times and situations change and people move on. Be happy for those employees who've been of vital service to your business and who may make a decision to involve themselves in a career move. Who knows, at some point in the future they may become some of your better "regular" customers! The points mentioned here are limited and not inclusive of all methods used to answer the question, how to maintain good staffing level for your restaurant. Remember that these key employees represent the most important people within your organization and the results of their labor will reflect the quality of your business.


  • Be honest with each employee Be sure to post the work schedule well in advance Be fair in dealing with staff Be quick to give credit for a good job

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  • Photos & Graphics: Wikimedia Commons
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