Research has shown that the business lunch hour has shrunk to under 45 minutes. Many guests, in fact, have even less time if they have significant two-way travel to your restaurant. This results in lunch-hour guests who are constantly watching the clock. Here are some tips to improve restaurant service to guests in a hurry.

Consider these service steps to get the clock-watchers in, out, and back to the office:

  • If you use a host seating system, train every employee on the table numbers and the proper way to seat guests. Then have everyone near the entrance available to seat guests, as necessary, when the lunch crunch begins. This will also keep the host up front, ready to greet every guest immediately and keep control of the seating system.
  • For top efficiency, have every server seat his or her first table. That way they’re immediately on top of their first turn.
  • Don’t allow servers to begin their shift standing in the service area or in the kitchen. No one should ever have to track down a server to tell him or her that guests are waiting.
  • Have popular lunch specials every day that can be held on the line and are easily assembled. This not only provides fast execution in the kitchen, but also aids in the prep cycle.
  • Train servers to be check-ready. Every time something is added, the check should be re-printed and ready for presentation, even if guests aren’t ready to leave. When servers suggest dessert and say, the guests decline, the check is ready to be placed on the table — no extra trip back to the POS area to print the check.