How to Calculate Seat Turnover

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Seat turnover measures how fast guests eat and leave.
Seat turnover measures how fast guests eat and leave. (Image: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images)

Food service establishments often go to considerable lengths during busy periods to encourage customers to eat and drink more and then leave quickly. Some employ tactics like playing loud music, seating guests in high-traffic areas and using warm, stimulating colors to promote faster dining. There’s good reason for tracking and maximizing seat turnover. Rapid turnover means more guest capacity, which translates into greater revenues.

Tracking Seat Turnover

The formula for calculating seat turnover is the number of guests served in a selected time period divided by the number of seats. Suppose a restaurant or lounge serves 200 guests one evening and has a seating capacity of 80. The seat turnover works out to 200 divided by 80, or 2.5.

Measurement Strategies

Restaurants typically track seat turnover for individual meal periods and by days of the week. Measuring seat turnover on a seasonal basis is sometimes useful when traffic varies significantly depending on the time of year. You may need to track turnover for separate sections of a restaurant. For instance, a dining room usually has higher turnover than a bar area, so calculating separate figures gives more insight into the level of business activity.

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