Restaurant Capacity Management: What You Should Know
Capacity management references the level of output your operation can sustain, and still make a product or perform a service. In other words, it’s a measure of how much, and how effectively, your business can deliver, considering every factor. Many industries use the term, from IT to retail to hospitality, to analyze their effectiveness here.
When determining restaurant capacity management, you’re measuring how well you manage your traffic, from on and off-site. When traffic increases, your restaurant gets closer to its capacity. The kitchen works to keep up with the steady flow of orders and the front-of-house seats the walk-in guests accordingly.
Modern restaurant operators must remember that providing accurate quotes for walk-in guests is one thing. A real-time order status feature can give accurate readings when an order bumps from one stage to the next. However, blending this traffic with orders from off-site is another challenge entirely. An automated solution is critical in this effort, but moreover, one with specific capacity management features.
So here’s what restaurant capacity management looks like: A smart kitchen display system, integrated with your point-of-sale system and front-of-house, “reads” the bandwidth in your restaurant. Then, it uses this information to provide off-premise customers with an exact quote. When your kitchen is busy with in-store traffic, a smart KDS inflates that customer pickup quote to account for the workload. The kitchen courses the order appropriately, without disrupting in-store tickets, which carry on as usual, a process called “order throttling.” When traffic dies down, these quotes also decrease to account for the newly freed kitchen bandwidth.
Every Restaurant Segment
Whether you’re a single-site independent or a national chain with sites in every mall and suburb, capacity management will help you. It’s not a feature predicated purely on volume, but upon the composite, often intangible, factors affecting your restaurant at a given moment. So, what might constitute a slow night for the 400-capacity buffet may set your single-stove kitchen into a frenzy. Effective restaurant capacity management will pace meals and generate quotes according to the circumstances affecting your restaurant—not an arbitrary prediction.
Streamlines Restaurant Processes
Because restaurant capacity management, in principle, aims to keep things running at maximum efficiency, you waste less. With your KDS wholly integrated with every device in your restaurant, every process is informed and calculated. Your kitchen staff knows when to start an order and when to bump it. This saves time, effort and poorly-coursed meals dying under a heat lamp. Your pickup and delivery entrees go out as scheduled, coursed to account for your kitchen, and their drive time. You improve your speed of service metrics on every front. Finally, because you’re running at peak performance, you can process more orders and make more profit!
If you’re reading this and haven’t considered off-premise dining for your restaurant, you should. It’s a trend that’s not going to slow down, and frankly, you’re leaving money on the table by not providing the opportunity to your guests.
What makes an in-house order different from an off-premise one? Consider the time it takes to package a pickup order or the driving distance you’d need to consider for delivery. You need powerful software, capable of updating in real time, to provide quotes that consider these variables, for your off-premise guests. A KDS with good restaurant capacity management features can adjust quote and course times, to account for this. On those busy nights with orders flying in from every angle, you’ll appreciate the machine accuracy.
With a modern restaurant, technologically integrated and bolstered by smart data, you ensure an optimal experience for every guest who orders from you, whether through the door or a widget online. An automated kitchen means every entree starts at the optimal time, in correlation with your restaurant’s current capacity. Guests always receive their meals hot and fresh.
Restaurant Capacity Management is a simple technological feature with far-reaching benefits for your productivity, profit, and off-premise dining strategy. To maximize your restaurant’s potential, seek out a kitchen display system with capacity management features, and an ability to integrate, to craft a fully connected restaurant.
Looking for technology that will maximize your guest experience? Take a look at our guide:
About the Author
Dylan Chadwick is a Content Marketing Specialist at QSR Automations. He graduated from Brigham Young University with an English degree and loves to write about technology. When left to his own devices, he enjoys loud music, adorable dogs and documentaries about them.