The Dangers of Understaffing Restaurant Servers
Because there’s no “I” in team.
Although understaffing your restaurant might seem like no big deal on the surface, you might be surprised about all the problems that it could cause both short term and long term! Let’s take a quick look through some of the risks that come along with keeping your wait staff to a minimum.
1. Your workers will get burnt out
If you need an additional two or three workers during your lunch or dinner shift, do yourself a favor and schedule them. If you don’t, it’s going to come back and haunt you in the long run in the form of tired, slow moving, cranky workers. And who can blame them? Anyone doing the job of two or three people is going to get burnt out in a very short period of time.
2. You’ll find yourself with more dissatisfied customers
Burnt out workers often turn into lazy workers not because they’re lazy by nature, but because they are overwhelmed and in desperate need of a break. And that means they’re not at their best to serve your customers. Exhausted workers will be more prone to make errors while entering orders or bringing out food.
Furthermore, they’ll have trouble greeting and serving each table. Imagine three tables that were just seated, two tables waiting on drinks, and you hear the chef in the back yelling, “hot food up!” What’s your first step? Which tables are going to have your attention? It’s going to be hard to choose in the moment because, truthfully, you shouldn’t have to. As a server, you should have a team of people ready to take on a few of these responsibilities, freeing you up to care for your customers as needed.
Making matters even worse, a burnt out server might not be as kind to your customers as they’d normally like to be. To keep your ratings from plummeting because of snippy servers, make sure you schedule the right number of servers during a shift.
3. Get ready for more sick workers than usual
Get ready for more call-outs from your chronically understaffed restaurant. Burn out and long-term stress leads to a weakened immune system. And with all those customers coming in and out of your restaurant, bringing any virus or bacteria they have with them, your stressed out servers are more susceptible to catching the common cold or finding themselves with the flu. If you want to help ensure your wait-staff isn’t just happy but also healthy, make sure you refrain from overscheduling them and give them energy by allowing them to bounce work off one another during their shifts. Teamwork makes the dream work!
4. Do yourself a favor – schedule shifts with an appropriate number of servers
Be honest with yourself: saving a few bucks an hour isn’t worth it in exchange for the shining service you pride yourself on. There is no price that’s too much to keep your restaurant thriving.
Keep your ratings from plummeting by scheduling an appropriate number of servers per shift. Treat your workers with the respect they deserve; show them that you care about them by making their workday easier on them and more enjoyable.
Need more tips about ways to make your restaurant stand out in a tough industry? Get the first chapter of The Profit Recipe for free to see what it takes to help you improve your restaurant. Learn from some of the biggest mistakes new restaurant owners make and find out some features that will help your place not only survive, but strive.