Restaurant capacity measurement

An adequate measure of the capacity of the restaurant would be similar to the capacity measurements of others business - being the same production unit for a given unit of time. The aspects to deal with are the specific production and the amount of time to measure. In this way, the number of processed clients fully served during a given dinner period must be counted.

This term denotes the culmination of a duty cycle, which can be defined as the complete sequence of service steps that add value from the greeting to the customer's seat, through the collection of the account and ending at the moment the table is ready and ready to receive another guest. Hence the first step in calculating capacity is to measure the service cycle time.

Tools associated with capacity and its optimal use

An essential datum in service planning or programming models is the ideal capacity required in each period included in the programming horizon (Corominas et al., 2004). When there are no instruments to match demand and productive capacity, the average value of the latter in each period must be higher than the average demand expected for it, but said value is not directly observable or predictable, but depends on the expected demand and the level of service to be achieved. The procedures for calculating it have received relatively little attention in the literature.

The first peculiarity of the restaurant sector is that if it is not calculated correctly or the design principles established for the service are complied with, it will be affected. Another issue is that once the premises have been built, or adapted for operations, it will be difficult to respond to a growing demand. That is why the determination of the installed capacity and the good use that is made of it represent the first aspect to take into account in order to achieve the economic and social objectives that are set. An administrator cannot set goals above what he is really capable of assuming.

Erroneously, many restaurateurs think that the more diners they take on, the greater the benefit that the restaurant will receive. restaurant. They do not value the cost of the satisfaction that this implies and the delay that cooking and the dependent itself represents at the time of service.

Calculation of seating capacity knowing the space to be occupied

When the dimensions of the space that the lounge area will occupy are known, the method of calculating the area can be applied and the number of diners that can be assumed at a moment of maximum load can be determined.

According to international standards, it is known that the average customer occupies approximately one square meter of space including tables and chairs and if 20 cm are added to this due to the space occupied by corridors, sideboards, etc., in general they will be necessary 1.20m2 per person.

To perform the calculation operation and determine the number of clients that can be assumed in a room, you must have the length and width as data and multiply them, the result of the operation is divided by the sum of the client space, according to the type of establishment, plus 0,20 m2 and the quotient will be the approximate number of people that the room can assume at a time of maximum load.

Mathematically it is represented as follows:




Standard ranges that each client occupies in the different types of establishments is as follows:


This type of calculation is only applicable to premises where the available space is already known and it is necessary to determine what capacity it is possible to assume at a time of maximum load and therefore distribute the furniture.

Calculation of seating capacity knowing the area where the restaurant will be built

When only the dimensions of an area are known to become a restaurant, the above procedure cannot be applied. In this case it will be necessary to determine the dimensions that the living room and kitchen will occupy by applying another calculation system.

For this it is important to know that the dimensions must be adequate to the services they must render. An old rule states that the optimal size of a kitchen is three quarters (3/4) of the room or less, but never less than half of its surface. Whether this rule is true or not, the important thing is to know that when space is insufficient, limitations are imposed, whether from the point of view of personnel, equipment, storage, etc.

In this case, proceed as follows:

First: The spaces for the living room and kitchen are determined by applying the percentage rule: 60% for the living room and 40% for the kitchen that will occupy the ¾ parts in size of the total room:


Second: Already knowing the dimensions of the area that the room will occupy, the number of diners that can be assumed at a time of full load is determined by applying the procedure already reviewed and proceeding to define the locations of the tables and chairs, according to the established standards for this type of activity, taking care that options are available for the following group of tables according to their dimensions.


In the literature consulted, there is no proper methodology to determine how many tables by type and capacity can be located within the room. However, knowing the area of ​​the restaurant, the standard ranges that each client occupies in correspondence with the category and type of service that will be offered, the dimensions of the tables according to their capacity, it will be possible to determine how many of them can be located in the room, taking into account the following aspects:

  1. The tables for couples should preferably be located in the spaces occupied by the windows
  2. The tables with the highest capacity should be located in the center of the room
  3. The other group of tables is located in the rest of the spaces respecting aesthetics (alignment of chairs and tables)

Service capacity

A starting point in measuring the service capacity of an establishment is to check the ways to measure the production capacity of a production plant. Production capacity is often expressed as a certain volume of production over a certain period of time.

Probably the number of pieces manufactured per shift is the greatest measure. To bring attention closer, managers sometimes count the number of parts per hour, by department, or even by production machinery. To calculate the extent to which plant capacity is used, factory managers measure how many parts have been produced in a complete plant at the end of a given period of time, comparing these figures to an optimum rated capacity for machinery that made those pieces. The comparison provides a measure of factory production efficiency.

However, the calculation of similar percentages for service operations is complex, mainly due to the fact that there are normally no tangible production units. To solve that problem, many service businesses instead calculate some kind of occupancy percentage and also count total sales volume (i.e. productivity or income).

For restaurants, comparable time periods are smaller and noticeably more varied. Typically, the measurement is a part of the day (such as breakfast, lunch, or lunch) but each restaurant define those parts of the day in different ways. This variability in time measurements has made it difficult to compare and calculate the restaurant's efficiency.

As a result, administrators restaurants they use only open volume measures, such as daily cutlery accounts and productivity percentages per seat.

Measurement of service life and calculation of maximum seating capacity

The duration of the service cycle is no more than the time that occurs from when the customer arrives at the facility and is placed at a table until he is fired. Its measurement is important to establish actions with a double effect on demand, adjusting it according to your needs.

In a restaurant, this measurement can be supported by the process followed for customer service. In this case, so that the times can be better interpreted, it is suggested that they be recorded in minutes.


Issues to consider:

  1. Service cycle time includes idle time to seat the customer and re-prepare the table.
  2. Hours of service include only those when customers can be seated (this does not include kitchen or dining room operating times)
  3. The time frame should be an hourly meal period, but can also be added in parts of the day, total day, week, month, or year.
  4. Duty cycle times and hours of operation can be calculated in fractions of an hour, but minutes are generally an easier measure to apply. Thus the restaurant's four-hour plan equals 240 minutes.

By factoring the duty cycle time into the total number of seats available, you can calculate the maximum occupancy of a restaurant for any day or part of the day.


Optimal table capacity calculation

This calculation can be used in those establishments that wish to determine the number of tables instead of the accounts per seat.


Few restaurants they can operate at one hundred (100) percent of their capacity for long periods, and none work at full capacity at all times. In particular, the restaurants They cannot achieve that level of efficiency due to clients' temporary habits and their choice of eating when they feel like dining out. The skill of managers restaurants it is to use this capacity in the most efficient way, regardless of how loaded the restaurant is. The restaurant's success largely comes from effectively controlling the capacity of an operation.

Identify capacity use

Although it is relatively easy to calculate the potential capacity of a restaurant, it must be seen beyond the simple calculation to establish realistic objectives for the use of the operation's facilities.

Objectives of this type should be established for each individual unit, but by setting these, reference may be made to specific benchmarks or industry-established standards for restaurant types.

A simple calculation is the actual covered account per day or part of the day divided by the optimal seating (or table) capacity for the same dinner period

capacidadActions that help increase performance

Knowing the percentage of capacity can provide managers with information to analyze efficiency, operating results, and profitability. This type of information will allow the administrator to apply the following tactics in order to increase the performance of the installation:

  • Reduce peak load: Encourage customers to dine out of the peak by offering incentives such as customer rewards (a discount, a plate around the house, etc.) that arrive at one hour, of course, that time will be set earlier or after the restaurant rush hour.
  • Increase production rates: It consists of reducing the service cycle, which in addition to allowing more customers to be served, will increase the idea of ​​the value of the restaurant experience, based on the decrease in customer perception of waiting time .
  • Reduce the eventuality: Designing a reservation system, which will allow you control the arrival of customers and begin to reduce the service cycle.
  • Gain refinement: From the application of all those tools that allow the control of operations such as the calculation of capacity, queuing theories, modeling services, defining processes, and improving them, simulation, linear programming and forecasting.
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