When people are off sick, away for their holidays or you’re having trouble finding the right people, it can be hard to always have your restaurant fully staffed.

Not having a fully staffed restaurant can not only impact your customers, but also the remaining staff themselves and, subsequently, your business.

In short, it truly is a recipe for disaster.

Here’s what can happen if your restaurant is understaffed.

1. Kitchen and floor coverage challenges

This is the easiest one to spot. Back in the kitchen, your chefs are already working long hours, but they’re now working longer and, as a result, are harder to cover.

Quality can slip, it’ll begin to take longer for the orders to come out and tensions can run high.

Out on the restaurant floor, while the servers may apologise with a smile, the customers certainly won’t be happy. They’ll see the lack of front of house staff and become irritated if the service takes too long. Complimentary drink, madam? That won’t always work!

2. Fatigue creeps in

So, with people off, your remaining staff have been working extra hard on each of their shifts to fill the gap. On the odd day, this is usually fine, but if it continues repeatedly and for long periods of time, it’s a one-way ticket to burnout and resentment.

After a while, and regardless of whether it’s true or not, staff will begin to view the situation as you, the business owner, benefitting from lower labour costs at the expense of them – or just general bad management.

Reach this stage, and the situation may become a whole lot worse as staff members begin to hand in their notices.

3. Service suffers

Have you ever been to a restaurant and something is simply… off? You can see staff having mutinous mutterings and the other diners are looking equally miffed that they too have been waiting too long for their meals. By this point, fatigue, burnout and resentfulness have fully set in and no business wants to get to this point.

How to fix it

Don’t despair – it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s several ways of ensuring the above never happens:

  • Always keep your restaurant approachable when it comes to people handing in their CVs to ensure there’s a constant stream of potential applicants. Also, put a note on your website encouraging people to apply, noting that when you have something available you’ll be in touch.
  • Assess if you can do a shorter service. While you might want to keep hold of that random table of four that comes in last minute, is it really worth it when it results in your already tired staff working late into the night?
  • Last but not least, motivate and communicate! There will always be times where things are busier, but keeping a clear line of communication for your staff will help them understand the situation. Plus, a well-done meal or drink of their choice will always go down well!

Understaffing can cripple restaurant businesses. But not yours – because you’ve read our tips above. Go forth and be the awesome restaurateur you’re capable of being!