Scheduling employees is a challenge for any type of restaurant. While it is often seen as a routine but necessary task, a clearly defined staff schedule makes everyone’s lives easier. When done right your employees won’t feel overwhelmed, resulting in more satisfied employees and increased retention. Get it wrong and you could end up causing unnecessary stress and a high chance your staff will feel unappreciated — even before their shift starts.
Getting restaurant employee scheduling right – easier said than done
Any us working in the restaurant industry are familiar with the classic cork board on the wall – the steadfast source of information when it comes to the staff schedule. Often a schedule is posted, a week to two-week before that schedule is relevant – but as we all know a lot of things happen in that timeframe. An employee forgot to ask for a day off, a doctor’s appointment, and of course mostly recently, Covid situations. As such, it’s quite common staff will routinely come in on their day off to stop by “the” board to check their schedule and if needs be, post a request off on a little piece of paper or put up a note saying “I am scheduled Friday 5-CL and need to switch. Can work Saturday day shift or Monday night”.
Similarly, given the unpredictable nature of the industry, many restaurants are notorious for scheduling employees ahead of time and then changing it all around at the eleventh hour. But regardless of whether it’s the employee or the employer, all these last-minute swapped shifts result in a flurry of confusion, with calls, texts, and emails fly back and forth.
Coordinating schedules is exhausting. Not only do you have to balance business needs with employee availability and days they marked off but you also have to anticipate employee emergencies, shift requests and sick days. Scheduling mismanagement puts unnecessary stress on employees and can sometimes impact customer service and hospitality.
Overstaffing – although perhaps not a current problem – also isn’t great. It adds extra hours to your daily labor costs, and can leave employees unfulfilled on the job. Either way, staffing issues can have critical repercussions on your bottom line.
But, there is an easier way.
Streamline staff schedules and optimize labor with technology
While it’s possible to complete your schedule with pen and paper – or even via spreadsheets, technology eliminates the frustrations. Enter restaurant scheduling software.
With restaurant scheduling software everything is entered electronically and instantly available to you for review. At the click of a button, you can accurately manage the entire work schedule, ensuring that your restaurant meets customer demand and employee flexibility in the most economically efficient way possible. Not only does it help reduce manual entry errors, but it can also point out employee requests and scheduling conflicts – very helpful for restaurants juggling multiple locations. Combined with a mobile app for employees, restaurant scheduling software provides scheduling transparency for your team.
With an app, employees can see their up-to-date schedule whenever and wherever they want. They can then make shift and time-off requests which other employees receive notifications about and view instantly. So instead of the traditional note left on the cork board which may or may not been seen, the greatly increases the chances of someone picking it up. Shift swaps can then be done digitally and approved remotely in a timely manner by management.
The app prevents miscommunication, empowers staff to take charge of their availability, leading to more shifts properly staffed and a less stressed workforce. Ultimately the right restaurant scheduling software tool can optimize your business operations, save you time and money in the long run and increase both customer and staff satisfaction.