Time Management in Restaurants

Discover how time management is essential for restaurant success


A job position in restaurants implies focus, speed and organisation, and good time management is essential to run things smoothly.

There are different tasks that restaurant operators have to overlook, depending on their role.

A restaurant manager schedule often includes accounting, hiring, shift planning, stocking up the kitchen, working on the menu and service. People working in the front of house and back of house can deal with these duties too, on top of prepping, cooking, cleaning, and serving.

While it is no secret that long shifts are common in restaurants, we believe that getting time back from work can help sustain the fast-paced workflow that is typical in this industry.

According to our interviews with 140 industry operators, for 2 out of 3 people, the ideal shift length doesn’t coincide with the actual amount of time they spend working. What does this imply?

73% of restaurant workers think their shift is too long

Not all people have the same workflow and this is why some might prefer working shorter or even longer shifts - surprisingly, among our group of chefs, managers, servers, prep cooks, and baristas, we also found out that a small percentage of people would even prefer doing longer shifts to have better work-life balance and feel more productive.

This can be understandable, especially when considering that getting more days off turned out to be the biggest incentive for people to be convinced to work longer shifts. Nevertheless, 74% thought a shift should last no more than 8 hours.

Before diving into our solution to improve time management and efficiency at work, let’s have a look at what people in the industry had to say about work-life in restaurants.

What do people think about their time at work?

According to our survey, here is what restaurant operators think about their time at work:

  • 7 hours and 40 minutes is the ideal shift duration for productivity and work-life balance.
  • 2 hours and 16 minutes is the average extra work time.
  • 11-12 hours-long shifts are the norm for 44% of people.
  • 10 hours and 5 minutes is the average shift length in the back of house.
  • 2 out of 3 people think their shift shouldn’t last more than 8 hours.
  • 2 out of 3 people think their shift length is either too short or too long to allow better productivity and good work-life balance.

What are the most time-consuming tasks?

The most time-consuming tasks in restaurants:

  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Ordering products
  • Managing inventory

Moreover, 2 out of 3 people chose at least one operation among sourcing and ordering products, doing inventory, planning shifts, hiring, or accounting as the most time-consuming activities.

"Our business was growing and it was important to streamline our ordering process, especially because we had different people taking care of it. Now it takes us 5 minutes, instead of 30"

Alex (Executive Chef) from Lucky Buns, D.C. about the Choco app


3 Key-facts about time management in restaurants

According to our community:

  • Getting more time off is the biggest incentive to work longer shifts
  • Procrastination is a no-go for 1 out of 2 people.
  • Leisure time with family time, friends and dating are left out because of work by 94 out of 140 people.

What would you do if you could save up to 2 hours every week?

We asked restaurant workers about their mostly left out activities and undisclosed desires. Among our favourite answers, we’ve got:

  • Gardening
  • Getting more sleep
  • Touching grass
  • Making a good staff meal (and sitting at a table to eat it)
  • Getting back into painting
  • Making some extra special treats for customers
  • Fishing

...how would you spend your free time? Let us know here.