The #1 tip for serving during a rush is even more important than the talent of any individual server.  Many items a server needs in order to perform their job efficiently are a shared resource.  And if they rely on things being done, supplied or prepared by other team members, there is at least a 50% chance they’ll be disappointed and out of luck, and luck is not a thing to count on in when it comes to the strength of your restaurant serving teams.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” 

– Michael Jordan

The importance of teamwork demands respect by your serving teams.  If an individual server doesn’t have a strong sense of commitment to others, they may be negatively affecting the productivity of the restaurant, as your chain is only as strong as the weakest link.  There are lots of talented restaurant servers out there, but talent is worthless without serious effort and preparation, and your best servers are no longer your best if they don’t pull their weight for the team.

Not being prepared is the biggest roadblock

The #1 tip for serving during a rush and for keeping restaurant servers performing their best is preparation.  So many servers show up just in time to take their first table, and are simply not prepared to perform the job at optimum performance.  A server who doesn’t show up early for their shift will miss the opportunity to ensure they have everything they need for the shift in advance of when they need it, and leads to:

  • A disorganized section
  • Poorly set tables
  • Poorly stocked service stations, leading to…
  • Running out of service ware

Regardless of whose job it is to complete those tasks, it is ultimately the server that will sink or swim based on how prepared or not they are.

As a restaurant director, owner or manager, you’d be doing yourself a favour to make it mandatory for your serving teams to be in their sections 15 minutes early to ensure they and their stations are fully prepared and stocked and that they’re ready for anything.  Some of you may already have the 15 minute rule, but are you fully aware of whether they’re being effective during that time?  It’s true that the previous shift in the restaurant should be leaving the stations, sections and tables clean, prepared and stocked, but that doesn’t change the fact that the next shift has to take responsibility for themselves and at the very least, double check to ensure that’s all been done.

Does this seem obvious?

While this may all seem obvious to you, it may not be to your management teams.  The fact is that if your restaurant serving teams spend more time than necessary during the shift performing tasks they could have covered before they got busy managing the guests’ experience, they’ll become more efficient during peak periods.  Instead of playing catch up, they could put their best efforts on the real prioritiesselling and providing exceptional service to your guests.