The wait station is the nerve center of a busy dining room, bar, or patio. A well-stocked wait station is essential for everything to run smoothly during each shift. Before every shift each station should be checked, to make sure it is fully stocked. Following each shift, the waitstaff should restock as part of their side jobs. By regularly stocking the dining room/bar/patio wait station, everything runs smoother, offer better customer service. Staff are less likely to be frazzled if they aren't running around looking for coffee mugs or takeout containers.
How to stock a restaurant wait station
Every restaurant is a little different and will require different types of wait stations, depending on its size and concept. Some wait stations listed below can be combined into one area. Or a station might be part of the kitchen, like the dessert, soup, or salad stations. If the restaurant dining room is really small, the kitchen staff may be in charge of these items.
- Coffee Station Coffeemaker: Coffee pots, packages of coffee and decaf, filters, coffee mugs, tea bags, teapots, teacups, saucers, sugars, teaspoons.
- Reach-in Cooler or Refrigerator Station: Milk, cream, half and half, butter, whip cream, salad dressings, chocolate sauce and other sweet toppers, chopped fruit for dessert garnish. It may or may not contain desserts.
- Soda Station: This may be combined with the bar or a station all by itself. Glasses, kids cups, straws, ice bin with scoop, cocktail napkins, coasters, fruit garnishes. May also include an ice tea machine.
- Salad Station: If waitstaff is in charge of making their own salads, you may have a designated salad station that has salad plates, oil and vinegar cruets, salad dressings, lettuce crisper, salad dressings.
- Soup Station: Soup kettles or steam table, soup cups and bowls, soup spoons, crackers, dried or fresh garnish.
- Dessert Station: Plates, dessert forks, whipped cream and other condiments, garnish, extra napkins, ice cream.
Usually, the bartender will take care of the bar restocking, checking on items like chopped fruit, napkins, straws, coasters. If dining services are offered at the bar, then menus and silverware settings should also be stocked each shift.
Outdoor Patio Wait Station
Your restaurant offers outside dining In warm weather (or all year round if you are in the south), make sure you have a wait station handy for the patio.
A well-stocked wait station is essential for quick and efficient service. All of these stations depend on the layout of your restaurant and space. If you are working in a small space then you most likely will need to combine these stations into one central hub. Make a wait station checklist to help you stock your wait station with all the right supplies.