We have all been “in the weeds,” meaning overly busy in restaurant lingo. These are the times when a lot of guests show up at the door at the same time, during your restaurant’s busiest hours, and you end up being double or triple seated. The front door just sat a party of two, a four top and an eight top in your station—”Gosh, what am I going to do?!”

First and most importantly, keep a clear mind. Do not panic as this will only blur your mind and cause you to stop functioning. Next, take a deep breath and start with the smallest party; two people ask less questions than four, and four people less questions than eight.

Remember to keep organized. This will avoid unnecessary trips back and forth to your tables. Try to take as much of the order as you can on each visit to the table. If one person in the party orders a cocktail, ask everyone else if they would like a cocktail too? There is nothing worse than coming back to the table with that one cocktail and having a second guest begin ordering another one—minimize your steps.

By maintaining a clear mind, you will know exactly what you need to do. You will be able to communicate clearly and delegate accordingly. “Hey Mr. Manager, can you please open the bottle of wine for table 26?” “Hey busser, can you bring water and bread to table 21, please?”

If your guests order multiple courses, mark your table for all the courses at the same time. This will save you time later. Another tip is to mark your table before placing your food order, ensuring that the proper silverware is ready for their food, avoiding the need to for you to rush in the middle of doing something else to fix the situation.

We will all find ourselves, at one time or another, in the weeds. By not letting it get the best of us, we will find our way out and continue to ensure good service for our guests!