In order for your restaurant to run smoothly during every service, the right equipment has to be in store and on hand so that your servers can deliver the best possible service to your customers without running around like headless chickens trying to find something that should take them a matter of seconds to find.

It is incredible how much time can be saved over the course of a year, simply by keeping your restaurant stocked with the right equipment, and ensuring that all of your staff knows how and where to find the equipment they need to do their job to the best of their abilities.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a Front of House equipment checklist for restaurateurs to follow. Tick these off as you get them stocked up, and there will be no reason why your restaurant shouldn’t run like clockwork, and create the best possible dining experience for your guests.

On the Tables:

  • Flatware – This includes knives, forks and spoons. These should be polished and set out identically for every customer.
  • Glassware – Wine glasses and water glasses are a standard in most restaurants, with the exception of some steakhouses and fast-food-style establishments. They should be polished and there should always be spares, in case of breakages or extra guests arriving.
  • Napkins – Whether you’re a fine-dining restaurant or a high-volume city center eatery, your customers still need to have napkins to hand, even if they are the throwaway kind.
  • Tablecloths – This depends on the type of establishment you are running, but they certainly add a touch of class to any restaurant.
  • Salt and peppershakers – These are an essential item for tables, and you should choose the type of shakers that suit your establishment. Make sure you have plenty of spares, as these are known to go walkabout.

At your Service Stations:

All of the above should be kept at your service stations, but there are plenty of additions, including:

  • Different types of cutlery – Including soupspoons, dessert knives, salad forks and steak knives. The use of these will often depend on what the customer orders from the menu, and will be switched before service.
  • Side plates – Restaurants that serve bread to their guests will often have side plates on the tables. These should be kept at your service station so you can re-set tables quickly and store them when you clear tables.
  • Order pads and pens – If you are not using mobile POS systems, having a good supply of pads and pens at your station is important. It looks extremely unprofessional to go to take a table’s order and then realize you don’t have a pad or pen.
  • Cleaning materials – For a quicker turnaround, servers should have cleaning products and materials to hand so that tables can be cleared and cleaned quickly and the next set of customers can be seated quickly. That said, cleaning materials should be kept out of the view of customers wherever possible.
  • Trays and stands – For restaurants with large tables, trays and stands are essential tools for which to serve customers quickly. Smaller trays can be used to deliver drinks to tables, and to use when changing cutlery and taking items from your customer’s tables.

Useful extras:

  • High chairs – For restaurants that cater for families, these are essential. Without them, you are likely to lose customers, as the only alternative is for the parent of the child to sit with the little one on their lap, which isn’t great service and won’t be much fun for your guests. Restaurant owners should look to store at least two high chairs for customers with children.
  • Black boards – If your restaurant has specials – including daily specials, drink specials or any other form of special offer, having black boards to create handwritten menus is a great way to communicate this inside your restaurant. You can wipe them clean and use them again and again, which makes them a useful investment for restaurants with changing specials.
  • Tea lights and Votives – For creating a little ambience during the evening, tea lights and their votives make a useful addition to any table.
  • Wall art – Your customers want something nice to look at other than the food and their loved ones across the table. Create an atmosphere and style in your restaurant by adding some decoration and wall art. Just make sure that it fits the style of your restaurant and doesn’t put the customers off their food.

There you have it: a thorough checklist for front of house equipment. Now you can get your restaurant fitted out and be positive that you have everything you need to serve your customers to be the best of your abilities. [/fullwidth]