Survive Managing a Busy Restaurant

How to Survive Managing a Busy Restaurant in 2024

What happens when the number of customers entering your restaurant takes a dramatic leap forward? Without adequate preparation, managing a busy restaurant can soon spiral into a logistical nightmare. Here’s what to know about the essentials.

Still learning how to keep restaurants busy and manage them on busy days? After reading about our top tips, sign up for key one-to-one information on restaurant management skills — including solutions for managers and owners to use right now today.

“Busy Kitchen” by Hubert F. via Flickr (creative commons 2.0)

What Does it Mean to Manage a Busy Restaurant?

Managing a busy restaurant means drawing on all the key skills of a business manager (i.e., task allocation and delegation, timekeeping skills), but at double speed. 

Practically speaking, restaurant staff will know what a busy restaurant is when they see it: when more customers come through the doors, the greater the workload and burden on staff.

To be busy means to have a lot of work to do, and a restaurant filled with traffic, people, and activity, maximises the workload.

So what happens when staff are too busy and have too much work to do? Naturally, they focus on the task at hand, which means neglecting other necessary restaurant duties.

This is not anyone’s fault: one study has shown and proven that multitasking is mostly a myth. To an extent such skills can improve with practice, but multitasking largely leads to poor performance. For example, 9 in 10 Americans multitask on everyday activities while working, but this rarely leads to any success. 

Therefore, when the unexpected occurs and a restaurant becomes busy, it is best to improve management skills to help staff approach key tasks with a clear, singular focus.

The hurry, bustle, and agitation of a busy restaurant can have dramatic impacts on a restaurant’s overall performance. That’s why technology is here to help. Designed with the parallel processing abilities of computer software in mind, restaurants can benefit by opting for a free online reservation system to ease the pressure on staff during the busy months. 

Why Preparation Helps

Every business is unique — but it is a truth commonly observed that solid preparation fits all business models. 

Timing is crucial. Currently, two-thirds of the UK’s top restaurants are making a loss. So now more than ever restaurants need to prepare their teams to handle busy days efficiently and with economy. 

Generally speaking, being well prepared in hospitality has the same benefits in other areas of life, including:

  • Saves time for task delegation
  • Reduces decision-making errors
  • Creates space for reflection in the hospitality workspace
  • Provides an incentive to go further on business decisions
  • Leads to further success with better, more rigorous training programmes, catered to the task at hand

Harvard Business Review is a renowned publication that has written extensively on the wider benefits of preparation in business culture. If you like their advice, we have used their recommendations in other articles that may interest you: “Get Started With Free Restaurant Management App”.

“People Standing” by Image Catalogue via Flickr (creative commons 2.0)

Crowds Can Come Unexpectedly

Many business leaders have argued that facing the unexpected is key to restaurant success. When discussing sudden crowds, the following should be kept in mind. 

  • Create opportunities for thinking. In a busy restaurant environment, labour-intensive tasks can sometimes prevent staff from an under-appreciated skill: to stop in their tracks and take the time to focus and think through problems. “The first thing you should do in an emergency situation,” advises Harvard Business Review, “is smoke a cigarette. Proverbially, anyway.”
  • Make thoughtful decisions fast. When it comes to running a restaurant, there are often too many variables to prepare for. Focus more on building up resilience and quick-thinking in facing the great unknown.
  • Learn to commit. It is near useless to jump quickly from one decision to another; like stepping stones in a rapid river, we can slip and fall between the decisions we make on the spot. In a busy restaurant, make a decision and commit — “even if it’s not giving you everything you hoped for originally”. Focusing on one decision is better than none at all.

How to Keep Restaurants Busy With Management Skills

Once restaurateurs and their teams become better at handling crowds, more guests come. Better service mechanisms lead to better experiences for customers. 

So to revise, here are our final tips.

  • Expect the unexpected
  • Learn not to panic
  • Trust and enjoy the company of customers 

However, if your restaurant really wants to make dramatic improvements to how it manages those busy days, a free option is now readily available.

The Easiest Way to Handle High Demand

Carbonara App is both the easiest and quickest way to manage busy restaurants without all the tricky handiwork. Assisting restaurant managers and their teams, the app’s special features include:
An online booking service, complete with Google Reserve integrations. In today’s digital age, this is a super important feature that helps restaurants widen their customer base. Online booking systems help lessen the load on staff, creating accurate table counts to improve staff preparation for busy nights.

A mobile drinks pre-ordering system, which further boosts staff preparation skills. Now customers can buy beverages while they wait for tables, sending a signal to restaurant staff on what drinks to prepare, anticipating at least an hour beforehand what guests will order with their drinks. Plus, it is a feature that helps make restaurants more money.

A table management system, for staff to keep a keen eye on tables throughout the day. If a restaurant manager is off-site, for example, they can maintain control over the guest management journey, using the app to keep ahead of customer allocation and table limits. 

Still interested in how to keep restaurants busy? Learning how to manage restaurants on busy days with Carbonara App is a piece of cake. Read about one of our clients in north Italy, who quickly picked up and successfully used the app’s special features: “Owner of Ristorante la Canisela Enjoys Carbonara App.”