Last Updated On May 10, 2021 / Written By Lauren Christiansen

Time Management in Restaurants- Tips, Tricks & More

What is Time Management?

Time management is the strategy of planning ahead of time and controlling the amount of time spent on various activities. Its purpose is to maximize efficiency by scheduling different tasks for different time frames, which in turn helps to organize and plan out a daily list of requirements. Though some individuals are more proficient at time management than others, it is a skill that everyone can acquire with practice.

Good time management is particularly useful in the restaurant industry. For example, servers need to be highly organized and efficient to provide high-quality customer service, pickup orders, and complete any cleaning duties. Restaurant managers need to use time management skills to finish all of the required duties associated with ownership. Between inventory management, employee scheduling, and cash flow management, managers need an efficient way to fulfill their responsibilities.

Poor time management results in lower quality of work, missed benchmarks and increased anxiety. It also decreases the quality of a work-life balance, which further increases employee stress. Finally, poor time management can damage a restaurant worker's reputation, which makes it more difficult to advance and gain the respect of management.

A restaurant that employs workers with good time management skills tends to have more sales and better customer service. They are better at goal setting and getting things done, which improves the quality of outcome.

Poor time management decreases overall operational effectiveness and impacts other restaurant employees that are involved in a group task. Therefore, implementing effective time management skills is essential to a restaurant's success and profitability.

The Importance of Time Management in Restaurants

Managing time efficiently is crucial in the restaurant industry for several reasons. These include -

  • Time is Limited- Because there is only an 8-hour period to complete important business activities, it's imperative to manage time effectively to complete essential tasks.
  • Need for Greater Productivity- Those with effective time management skills can accomplish more with less difficulty.
  • Critical to Make Quick Decisions- Proper time management decreases stress and improves decision-making, which results in enhanced operational effectiveness.
  • Pinpoint Career Advancement Opportunities- Restaurant managers make sure to notice when employees are organized, efficient, and able to complete urgent tasks on time. This leads to greater career opportunities for the restaurant employee.
  • Desire for More Learning Opportunities- Efficient restaurant staff have more time to learn different workplace skills and showcase their talent. This improves knowledge management.
  • Reduced Anxiety Improves Productivity- Flustered individuals tend to be disorganized and cannot manage their time.This causes stress and other health-related issues.
  • Restaurant Staff Gain a Better Work-Life Balance- To maintain mental health and ensure work satisfaction, retaurant staff needs to create time to relax and recharge.
  • Restaurant Staff Acquires Self-Discipline- Restaurant employees who control time well tend to advance, build good relationships, set goals, and feel confident at work.

The Benefits of Time Management in Restaurants

Restaurants that employ effective time managers have more productive team members and a better company culture. When a worker is flummoxed, frustrated, and strapped for time, it impacts the ability of others to perform their jobs.

Poor time management impacts other team members which in turn affects the bottom line. For example, a disorgnized cook continues to finish orders later than required. This impacts the server's tips and the quality of customer service. It also makes it less likely that customers will return to the establishment.

It's critical to educate the workforce on the importance of organization and time management to ensure the restaurant is successful. Here are the other benefits of time management in restaurants.

1. Helps to Meet Deadlines

When workers allocate time to a specific task, they control the time allocated to them. Good time managers use an appropriate length of time to complete a project.

Time management ensures restaurant staff remembers and meets important deadlines to manage their workload. Time-bound tasks rewire the brain to ensure each project is finished in the predetermined frame.

2. Improves Work Quality

Good time managers prioritize quality over quantity when they work on important tasks. Time wasters tend to turn in a lower quality of work because they started it at the last minute.

Furthermore, those with poor time management skills tend to be more anxious, which results in a lower capacity for problem-solving and decision making. Because these individuals don't use time to their advantage, it impacts the quality of customer service and deliverables. For example, a server who doesn't manage time well may bring out the wrong item. A busser may forget to clean tables for a VIP guest.

3. Optimizes Efficiency

Proper time management increases productivity and enables restaurant staff to complete more tasks in less time. Because workers are more aware of the work ahead of them, they can manage their tasks according to their schedule.

Proper time management also ensures that workers prioritize the most important tasks and minimize the time spent on non-essential tasks. They will be more focused and less anxious, and won't forget important details or instructions. Restaurant managers will begin to trust these individuals with more work and consider them for promotions or raises.

  • Overall, restaurant employees rate their engagement as 8/10
  • 60% of restaurant employees felt that a promotion would increase workplace happiness
  • 70% of restaurant employees want hands-on training from management
  • 40% of restaurant employees report a lack of team-building events and activities

4. Decreases Procrastination

Effective time management assists in completing more activities in a shorter period while minimizing bad habits that result in procrastination.

Workers that manage time proficiently understand the importance of smart work as opposed to hard work. Smart work is when team members prioritize tasks depending on how important they are. It is not advisable to expend excessive energy on every project because critical tasks require more brainpower and skill.

Well-meaning employees who work hard rather than intelligently will burn out long before they begin the most improtant tasks.

Good time management skills prevents burnout, ensures smart work, and eliminates procrastination because restaurant staff understands priorities and timelines of requirements.

5. Minimizes Anxiety

High-stress levels in the restaurant industry are directly coorelate to poor time management skills. When an employee feels overwhelmed and exhausted by the end of each day, it takes a toll on mental and physical health. It also impacts performance levels.

Unfortunately, this creates an endless cycle in which poor time management skills leads to greater stress, which leads to poor performance and greater anxiety. Effective time management eliminates this negative cycle. It ensures there is plenty of time to complete the most urgent goals, and thereby decreases any unwanted anxiety.

6. Helps Manage Disruptions

A disruptive atmosphere can negatively impact the productivity and operational effectiveness of a restaurant. It is one of the primary reasons why individuals waste time rather than use it wisely.

Effective time management allows individuals to better handle distractions, whereas ineffective time managers are unable to focus at work.

Those who master proficient time management will meet key performance indicators. They won't gossip, check social media, or make non-work related phone calls because they prioritize business requirements.

7. Minimizes Conflicts with Team Members

Ineffective time management indirectly or directly impacts everyone in the restaurant.

Because most tasks require collaboration between the front of the house and back of the house, there is a disruption when one employee completes their portion late. If this is a frequent occurrence, team members in other areas of the restaurant will grow frustrated. They also won't want to work with the inefficient individual.

Good time management ensures individuals spend time on critical tasks, which optimizes and strengthens relationships across all aspects of the restaurant.

Types of Time Management Skills in Restaurants

Time management is a broad term that requires one to utilize a skillset to ensure optimal effectiveness. It necessitates an individual to assess a workload, prioritize critical tasks, and focus on productive ventures.

To better understand how a restaurant ensures productivity in the workplace, it's essential to know the different types of effective time management and how they function.

1. Prioritization

Good time managers prioritize their requirements to ensure they finish the most essential tasks in the correct order. They consider critical to-do items, estimate how long they will take to finish, and know their level of importance in comparison to others. This requires -

  • Allocating resources effectively
  • Reasonably managing expectations
  • Minimizing and preventing waste
  • Pinpointing high-value tasks
  • Setting goals
  • Reviewing performance upon completion

2. Creating a Schedule

Proficient scheduling is essential because certain tasks must be complete by specific times. Poor scheduling can also impact relationships with others and their capacity to finish a worklow.

Workers should consider which times of the day they are most productive and which times of the day other individuals are the most productive. This requires one to have emotional intelligence and common sense. A restaurant employee will optimize scheduling when he/she -

  • Utilizes available restaurant scheduling software or personal time management apps to plan ahead
  • Is punctual and intentional with every required business process
  • Can break large requirements into separate small projects
  • Can break up small achievements into projects

3. Task Management

A to-do list should integrate with a daily workload so employees don't forget to finish an important task.

Many proficient time managers split all of their requirements into a list per day so they don't have to concern themselves with all tasks at the same time.

To not become overwhelmed, employees should remember to take one day/week/month at a time. In the restaurant industry, projects fluctuate by the day and shift. Employees will need to generate new to-do lists each day to stay on top of critical requirements. Other skills associated with effective time management include -

  • Self-starter who can plan ahead
  • Groups and prioritizes activities
  • Generates to-do lists by day, week, and month
  • Multitasks
  • Meticulous
  • Good communication skills

4. Workload Management

While employees should not over-exert themselves, they must complete tasks on time. This requires one to balance time management skills with wellness and relaxation. Effective team members schedule breaks, eat a snack, and stay hydrated to optimize workload management.

Each individual must know how much work he/she can complete in a given time frame. It may take some employees longer to finish certain tasks, which is fine as long as they can manage their workload. Necessary skills for workload management include -

  • Ability to align required tasks with business goals
  • Possesses an assertiveness and doesn't take on too many responsibilities
  • Ability to minimize wasted resources and time
  • Knows to take breaks to avoid burnout

5. Effective Delegation

Proficient time managers know how to delegate tasks to someone else when necessary. Confident and intelligent individuals understand that delegation is more important than always being in control.

Over-scheduling will lead to a decrease in productivity, frustration, and poor time management. If restaurant staffers implement time management skills but still don't complete tasks, they may not delegate enough.

Because most restaurant managers prefer quality over quantity, employees are better off if they delegate. Delegation requires important time management skills, which include -

  • Ability to seek expertise and help from others
  • Effective teamwork and collaboration skills
  • Strong leadership
  • Ability to be assertive
  • An understanding of one's limitations

How to Improve Time Management in Restaurants

Not everyone has effective time management skills in the workplace. Some individuals are more proactive while others may be talented in some ways, but cannot manage their time well.

Personal obligations, difficulties at home, and other outside issues can impact time management. Those who struggle to complete tasks on time should utilize the following set of best practices.

1. Set Small Goals

Employees should pick key goals and decide and how to achieve them. A good way to start is to pick a set of measurable and attainable KPIs.

Restaurant staffers who work diligently to achieve smaller milestones will have the confidence to reach larger targets. They should break down long-term targets into smaller weekly or monthly objectives, and then break these down further into daily goals.

Because required tasks change quickly in the restaurant industry, team members may need to break daily goals into hourly goals or goals-per-shift.

2. Map Out Requirements

Restaurant staff can schedule each day, week, and month based on the quantity of work they must finish and which goals they want to achieve.

It's always better to over-plan than leave a daily agenda up to chance. During the planning period, workers should check how effectively they meet KPIs and determine whether to include any new goals.

3. Choose a Tool and System

There is restaurant scheduling software and task management tools to help plan out tasks and monitor projects.

Restaurant managers should invest in one of these tools, depending on business needs and priorities. Many employees still prefer to manage schedules with handwritten to-do lists. Any method is only effective is the manager/worker committs to the schedule and to-do list.

4. Understand Priorities

Most restaurant employees fail to complete one or two items by the end of the day, as more critical requirements come up. However, if the employee is regularly misses important deadlines then it may be time to re-prioritize.

Every day, employees should write down the most essential requirements and make certain to complete those items first. A good scheduling app can help achieve a more desirable outcome.

5. Utilize Time Tracking

Time tracking software can be an effective way to optimize time management in the workplace. It can help restaurant employees focus on the task at-hand and give an accurate account of how their time is spent each day.

Restaurants that track time can pinpoint the employee's strengths and problem areas to help them make improvements.

Key Takeaways of Time Management in Restaurants

In conclusion, here are the key takeaways to remember about time management in restaurants -

  • Time management is crucial to ensure business and employee success. Because time is limited, it's important to optimize productivity and instill discipline through effective time management.
  • The benefits of time management include improved work quality, greater efficiency, the ability to meet deadlines, decreased anxiety, decreased procrastination, the ability to manage disruption from coworkers, and optimized relationships among team members.
  • Effective time management requires utilizing prioritization, proficient scheduling techniques, task management, workload management, and delegation.
  • To improve time management, employees should set small goals, map out requirements, utilize software systems or techniques, understand priorities, and invest in time tracking.