“We can’t make the receptionist sit at the front desk while everyone else goes to lunch. It’s not fair!”

I’m betting that you’ve heard this once or twice… that is IF you’ve ever considered the issue and IF you dared to suggest that it’s a bad idea to lock the door and not answer the phone during lunch. I have visited hundreds of offices and the vast majority of them close for lunch. Whenever I point this out, most doctors don’t think it is a big deal to be closed during lunchtime.


Think for a minute. When do people run errands, make phone calls, do research online and make appointments for themselves and their kids? DURING LUNCH!

So if you’re hoping to receive an overdue payment, or heaven forbid, get a new patient phone call or walk in, when do you think that’s most likely to occur?

During lunch of course!

Now that you realize being closed during lunch is a bad idea, what are you going to do about it? Well it’s is up to you but if you decide to act in the best interest of your business and your patients then I would suggest you let your receptionist go to lunch an hour earlier than everyone else and have someone cover the front desk during the slow hour before lunch – if you have one receptionist. If you have two receptionists then have one leave for lunch half an hour before the normal beginning of lunch and come back an hour later so the other receptionist can go to lunch and come back half an hour after you start back with patients.

Explain to the team that the changes are necessary and good for all of you because if the business does well then you all have jobs!

P.S. Don’t be totally shocked if someone quits over this… but one person should not hold the entire practice hostage.

3 thoughts on “Being Closed For Lunch Is Dumb

  1. In our practice, we rotate through the entire staff. Each person has a different day of the week. We have 10 staff, so they work one day every other week. They are all trained how to take a payment, look up insurance, make an appointment, or handle a new patient call. The person who is working through lunch that day leaves about 30 minutes early and picks up lunch for the doctors and herself (docs pay for her lunch that day). The practice has been doing this for years and it has worked really well. It seems like there are at least 1-2 new patient calls each day during lunch…many times more than that.

  2. Same with us. We’ve been doing it for years. Most of our staff rotate through covering lunch. It’s not unusual to get 8-10 calls over that 90 minute time frame.

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