How Many Employees Does It Take to Run Your Restaurant?

Apr 8, 2021

understanding the staff positions you need for a restaurant

How many employees you need in a restaurant boils down to a few important factors. In the bustling restaurant scene, restaurant owners need to balance customers’ needs with labor costs. In some cases, overstaffing becomes the norm, and cutting staff as required in the restaurant industry is commonplace.

This often ends up in some staff being overworked, or even worse, a high staff turnover. It’s better to understand how many employees it takes to run your restaurant and plan for any scenario.

How Many Staff Are In a Restaurant?

Industry statistics from the National Restaurant Association show there are 15.6 million restaurant employees in the U.S (1). Identifying the exact number of staff needed will depend on the kind of restaurant in question as well as a few other factors. So first, try and identify the type of restaurant you fall under, such as:

  • Restaurant chains
  • Fine dining
  • Fast food
  • Casual dining
  • Family style
  • Bistro
  • Food truck
  • Cafe

Once you have identified the type of restaurant, you will have to identify other factors such as different menu items, number of tables, and staffing needs. Typically, an average restaurant of about 1,000 to 6,0000 square feet in size will employ around 50 employees. However, not all these restaurant workers will be on-site at one time.

The Restaurant Performance Index shows the overall trend of restaurant sales and whether it is expanding or contracting. Restaurant managers can use the index to predict future sales and the number of employees needed.

How Many Servers Do I Need For My Restaurant?

Typically you can expect to have one server for every three to four tables and six to seven back-of-the-house staff for every fifty patrons (although this does depend on restaurant type, speed of turnover, and whether there are bussers and hosts on staff).

The number of servers can also depend on the efficiency of the worker and hourly wage. In some States, servers earn minimum wage, and in others, the set hourly wage is much lower. This labor cost can determine how many servers you have on staff at one time.

What Kind of Employees Do You Need For a Restaurant?

The sheer diversity of restaurant staff is what makes filling positions challenging. You have everything from kitchen roles to entry-level positions to fill at any time.


The backbone of any restaurant are the restaurant managers. They are responsible for everything from training staff to writing the employee handbook. Managers can be self-made through hands-on experience or a combination of going through a training program plus real-life experience.

Sometimes restaurant managers are the restaurant owners as well. Depending on the size of the eatery, you can have a general manager and an assistant manager. In large operations, there can be a regional manager, too.


If restaurant managers are the backbone, chefs are the heart. The kitchen staff is responsible for the food and usually has specialized training to help promote the restaurant concept with the dishes offered. Chefs have many titles, from sous chefs to pastry chefs. Head chefs or executive chefs are the ones with the most experience.


Cooks are sometimes called chefs but don’t usually have as much training or experience. Usually, cooks work in diners, cafes, and other casual dining establishments. As part of the back-of-the-house staff, they are sometimes called line cooks. Restaurants hire part-time cooks and full-time cooks to fill hours.

Serving Staff

In the restaurant business, the serving staff function as the face of the restaurant. They have the most contact with the customers and must be efficient, friendly, and professional. Servers must also communicate effectively with the chefs the needs of the customer. This is especially true if there’s a special request. And as a note, don’t forget about delivery drivers!


Not all restaurants employ bartenders, but ones that serve alcohol usually have one on staff. Bartenders must know how to mix up a tasty cocktail and relate to customers. They typically have to create drinks for the serving staff and take care of a few tables and seats at the bar.


It’s typical for bus persons to be the youngest or least experienced of all the restaurant staff. The majority of the time, the bus person is a high school or college student who works weekends for extra cash.


When you’re down a dishwasher, you notice it in the restaurant industry. They are responsible for washing dishes and clearing food waste. Washing dishes is not a glamorous job but one definitely needed for any restaurant to function correctly.

Hosting Staff

The host or hostess is an integral part of the front-of-house staff. They are the first person the customer meets, must be professional, and have excellent planning skills. The host fills server sections and needs to do this fairly.

How Many Customers Do Restaurants Have a Day?

The restaurant experience is why people love eating out. It’s essential to plan well to ensure you have enough staff to manage any number of visitors.

The exact number of customers that visit restaurants depends on many factors from the day of the week to the number of tables in the establishment. Restaurateurs also need to understand their turnover rate, check average, and estimate future restaurant sales.

All these considerations will give you a better understanding of how many customers restaurants have per day.

How Can You Ensure You’re Fully Staffed?

High turnover is an ongoing problem in the hospitality and restaurant industry. It can be as high as 74.9% in most eateries. But what has helped establishments become fully staffed at any time is using an on-demand labor app to fill restaurant positions, such as ShiftPixy. The benefits of using a gig app include the following:

  • Automatic scheduling
  • Estimates real-time staffing needs
  • Reduces staff turnover
  • Saves time and money

The restaurant employee wants steady work at a fair hourly wage. Restaurant owners seek talented and reliable employees at any time. Gig economy apps make sure both needs are met— at the touch of a button.

Determining how many employees it takes to run a restaurant depends on numerous factors. Restaurant operations have to consider how many tables, the day of the week, table turnover, and location. But what can help with restaurant marketing to make sure you’re never short-staffed again is a gig economy app. The future is here.