“The more the merrier” adage doesn’t always hold truth when it comes to service in small restaurants.

What in theory seems logical, does not always work for those without a corporate bank account. We can’t afford more new hires. Nor fit them in close quarters during busy service.

So if we don’t have more staff to get the job done, how can we provide better service?

Well, here’s the secret. And it’s something small restaurants forget when comparing themselves to the big competition. You have an emotional advantage over corporate restaurants. And no, this doesn’t mean the drawn out breakup story, or a tear-jerker before every shift.

What do you have that the big competition doesn’t?

Passion. Inspiration. The ability to get your staff excited so they can provide better service to your guests in a welcoming environment.

I guarantee you, if you’re not excited about your restaurant, your staff will sure as hell recognise it. And it will show through their service.

But are we going to write an entire article on restaurant inspiration? No (unless you’d want us to of course), but we will write an entire article on ways you can provide the same, if not better service, than your competition.

And it all starts with…

The Dreaded Training Manual

small restaurants

At some point in life, we’ve all gotten that massive book of text on how to do your job. Even if you were a cashier at Coles during Uni.

Even though you never read from cover to close… or any of it for that matter, there’s a few pointers in the manual that may have been voiced by your hiring manager. How short your draw is allowed to be, what competitor coupons you take, how long your meals are.

The type of service they expect from you each and every shift.

This is an important service factor even for small restaurants. Because if you don’t tell your staff what you expect from them, how will they know what you want? If it’s not clear, they’ll pull from past experiences which may not align with your goals or morals.

Small restaurants that provide new hires with written expectations are more likely to strive. It shows them what makes you different from other restaurants.

Build a list of what you expect from each position, compile into a short employee manual and share with your staff.

Hire Experienced Staff

small restaurants

Big corporate strives, theoretically, because they dig up the most experienced staff. Those who care about the company’s mission (in your case, provide great food and great service), and who have experience doing you.

As mentioned before, if your staff don’t care about your restaurant, it will show in every customer interaction. Servers who don’t care also don’t provide good service.

Inexperienced servers are worse off because they can’t even fake it to make it. Busy dining rooms are overwhelming, and it takes experience to manage pushy, hungry customers for a living.

Get ahead of yourself. Save yourself the time and energy. Hire new staff with experience, heart, and a sense of personality. A dull server means a dull atmosphere.

Give Your Staff Tools of The Trade, Effectively.

You wouldn’t ask a plumber to snake a drain with his fingers, right?

And you wouldn’t expect your staff to run your restaurant without the tools of the trade on hand at all times.

Keep your inventory stocked – front and back of house. If you don’t know what they need, ask. They’ll happily tell you what they feel will make them more efficient.

What’s the guests’ experience if you’re out of a fan-favourite dish? Or serving water in a wine glass? Not very memorable, or the good kind of memorable.

Whether it’s food, silverware, or booze, ensure you are fully stocked at all times. It’s okay to make ordering mistakes. It happens. But if it’s bad habit, fix it.

Guests don’t want to frequent small restaurants if the server consistently lets them down with a “No”.

Improve Service Efficiency With Mobile Ordering

small restaurants

Tayble releases servers from their conventional pen-and-pad duties so they can focus on providing customer care.

With less time taking orders and fixing bills, servers are able to give better, intuitive service that your guests want. Imagine no more back up at the POS, no hand-written tickets, faster turnover times.

Our beta testing found that customers will become a part of the ordering process if it means better service. This is a seriously huge advantage for small restaurants because you don’t have to hire any new staff.

Simply utilise the low-cost technology on the market to dramatically improve your service.

Final Thoughts on Small Restaurants

As a small restaurant owner, you have the advantage over the big competition to provide better service for guests. Yes, they may have more money, resources, and experience in hiring staff.

But you have something bigger than that. Something better than that.

You have passion. Personal motivation. And most importantly, you have the capability to optimise your service with a few simple tweaks in your current business plan.

Get your staff moving by using these four methods in your restaurant to provide better service than the big competition.