Business Resources

Restaurant Staffing Guide: How Many Servers and Cooks Do You Need?

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Restaurant Staffing Guide: How Many Servers and Cooks Do You Need?
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If runners are scrambling to get meals out to customers and servers are overloaded with tables, it may be time to reevaluate your staffing needs. Having the right amount of cooks, servers, hosts, and other restaurant staff is essential to keeping things running smoothly.

Luckily, Qwick is here to assist you in getting shifts covered even during a labor shortage. This restaurant staffing guide will help you determine how much help you need. Read on to learn about how many tables a server can handle, how many cooks you need, and more!

How many servers are needed in a restaurant?

Knowing how many servers you need for your restaurant can be tricky. It can depend on many factors that vary from restaurant to restaurant. Hire too few servers, and your customers and staff will suffer the consequences. Hire too many tipped employees, and they’ll be disappointed by the lack of tables they’re able to serve. Speaking of tables, you may be wondering how many tables a server can handle at one time. 

How many tables can a server handle?

When evaluating how many servers you need to staff your restaurant, you'll need to think about how many tables servers can handle. This may vary slightly depending on the individual server and their level of experience, but four to five tables at a time is an average number. This number can shift depending on the party sizes of the tables, as well. 

Most servers can manage about four tables at any given time during their shift. The number of customers may ebb and flow during the shift, but typically, each server should have about four tables when it’s steady. 

This ensures that servers have the chance to make enough money to make shifts worthwhile. Overstaffing servers can cause staff dissatisfaction due to a lack of income opportunities, so it's important to get the ratio right for your restaurant.

Sample server to table ratio

If your restaurant has 25 tables, you'll probably want to have around five to six servers. 


This would mean if your restaurant was operating steadily at full capacity, each server would have about four or five 5 tables at a time, sticking with the optimal ratio. 

25 tables / 5 servers ≈ 5 tables per server

25 tables / 6 servers ≈ 4.2 tables per server

If you’re struggling to find enough servers, Qwick is here to help! Qwick connects you to experienced hospitality freelancers to fill open shifts at your business. Staff up in advance, or even call in the Qwick crew for last-minute needs. Create an account for free to get started!

What about other restaurant positions? How many staff members do you need? Let’s continue on to how many cooks should be in a restaurant each shift.

How many cooks are needed in a restaurant?

So, how many cooks do you need to be fully staffed? Three? Five? More? This number can vary depending on the complexity of your restaurant’s menu and the size of the kitchen, but the average is four back of house staff members per 50 tables in a casual seated restaurant.

This average number of staff members includes chefs and prep cooks in the back of house setting. These four cooks should be able to manage cooking meals for up to 50 tables during their shift. However, this number could change depending on the experience levels of the staff.

Now that you know how many servers and cooks you need per shift, it’s time to fill those open shifts. If you are looking for qualified cooks, servers, hosts, and other restaurant positions, look no further than Qwick.

Need to fill restaurant shifts? Use Qwick!

If you’ve written a killer server job description, but are still short on staff, create a Qwick account today. Qwick’s professional platform for the hospitality industry connects businesses seeking to fill shifts with skilled freelancers eager to work.

Staff shifts with dependable talent quickly on the Qwick platform. We do all the prep work for you by vetting freelancers and verifying their experience and certifications. Then once they’ve met our qualifications, they can join the thousands of other freelancers picking up shifts using Qwick. It’s that easy—create an account to start filling shifts with Qwick today.

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