tips restaurant reduce wait time

Tips How Restaurants Can Reduce Wait Time to Minimize Customer Complaints

Waiting is one of the most hated customer service related grievances. Customers often complain about waiting, and it can reduce their satisfaction with your restaurant.

On top of that, waiting times can reduce staff morale and lead to stress-related problems for employees.

This post will share some tips on how restaurants can reduce the time customers wait in line, without compromising on efficiency or effectiveness – all while reducing complaints, increasing customer satisfaction and easing staff stress!

Lets get started 🙂

The most logical step is to hire more staff. However, for many, it’s simply not possible due to high payroll cost and staff shortages on the market. Therefore, let’s focus on more  cost-effective and efficient ways to reduce waiting time.

Consider online ordering

Allowing customers to place orders online is a great way to reduce wait times. Not only does it speed up operations, but it also eliminates the need to pay employees for taking orders, thereby saving money on payroll costs.

If a customer knows that they can order their food online with ease, the chances are that they will do so before arriving at your restaurant!

For more information about how restaurants can reduce waiting times by allowing customers to place orders online, check out our online ordering page.

Offer QR code menu

By adding QR codes on your restaurant’s menu , you can reduce service time by up to 20% . People no longer have to ask servers about how long certain foods take to prepare and instead simply scan these codes themselves using their smartphones. It takes minutes and saves everyone involved from having lengthy conversations, so that guests can decide on what meal they want faster.

Let your customers know about wait time.

Set expectations with your guests. Let them know the wait time beforehand. This is especially important if you are a full-service restaurant.  Your guests will be happier knowing in advance how long they need to wait for their meal, as opposed to having the server keep them in the dark until the food is finally delivered.

Tableside ordering

Handheld point of sale terminals have also been known to reduce waiting time. Servers are able to  place orders on the spot, eliminating the 5-10 minutes or longer that it takes for them to take the order, do a quick check on their section, and then add their payment to the terminal. Feel free to learn about Poynt POS devices

Offer complimentary food while guests wait

Offering a glass of water, salad, or small appetizer can reduce the amount of complaints from patrons. It will also reduce the amount of time they spend waiting for their meal to arrive.

Quality food and service is the key

It goes without saying that good food and good service go hand in hand when it comes to restaurant satisfaction. Guests want both things but sometimes only get one, which leaves them dissatisfied at times, which may cause them to not come back or even tell others about their experience with lackluster service.

Offer takeout during peak hours

Offer takeout services during peak hours using an online ordering website. Not only will this reduce customers’ time spent in line at busy hours, but it will also lead to increased sales!

Pre-prepare certain menu items 

Pre-prepare certain menu items. This will reduce the wait time for orders being delivered if your restaurant is busy, leaving your staff free to focus on other tasks and providing excellent customer service.

Offer a coupon or discount after long waits

If your restaurant is experiencing long wait times during peak hours, consider offering a coupon, via a loyalty program, that can be used at another visit or a discounted meal, in order to keep them satisfied and entice them to come back for more.

Provide express line option

If possible, provide an express line for customers who placed their orders online or allow them to pay with self-serve kiosks.

Provide separate staff for takeout orders

If your restaurant does not offer this option already, consider hiring separate staff members who are solely responsible for taking phone and online orders, in order to reduce wait times during peak hours.

This way customers looking to pick up their meals can do so without having to stand on the back of people dining inside. By doing all of these things, you will reduce customer complaints, as well as enhance satisfaction levels at a high rate!

Eliminate gratuity for prompt services

This may not work for everyone, but if you are looking to reduce waiting time, consider eliminating gratuity.

If customers don’t have to pay extra for prompt services then they might be more inclined to wait for their turn rather than order-in or takeout.

They would also appreciate this option because it allows them to have the freedom of not feeling obliged to tip when the service is good!

Try keeping your visitors occupied

Consider offering your visitors some mini table games or create your own TV channel programming, using your digital signage TVs.

Once in a while, it may also be a good idea to offer free tastings, like a new menu item sample.  This will reduce waiting time considerably, so you can limit the number of staff needed at any given moment. Keep your customers happy while they wait!

Automate your processes

Automation is the key to  reducing waiting time in restaurants. When you reduce the need for manual processes, your employees will be able to focus on other tasks and there will be fewer errors! Consider using a cloud-based point of sale system with a fully integrated online ordering website or self-serve kiosk. In this case, orders that are placed online are entered into your point of sale system automatically, saving you time and money on staffing.

Improve staff communication

When we talk about reducing waiting time in restaurants, it is important not to forget that customers may become impatient when they do not know how long it will take for their order to get prepared: if they don’t receive a timely update then chances are that customer complaints might rise. Make sure your team communicates effectively with each other so that one person doesn’t shoulder all responsibilities when things go wrong!

Some final thoughts

We hope that this post has given you some new ideas on how to tackle customer wait time!

Don’t forget that you can view all of our latest blog posts on the restaurant industry, here on our website blog.

We also encourage you to test drive our OmniChannel point of sale solution. It surely will allow you to save tons of time on operations, while reducing wait time!

If you need any assistance or have questions, feel free to contact us for an online demonstration. We would love to show you how our point of sale system for restaurants works 🙂

Image Credit: