The Secret to (Almost) Perfect Restaurant Employee Scheduling

No restaurant manager likes constantly changing the employee schedule. These tips will help you get it right the first time… mostly.

It’s one thing to make a staff schedule with ease-it’s another to make an employee schedule and be sure that there will be minimal changes needed. Granted, even if you’re using employee scheduling software, there will always be schedule changes (this is the restaurant industry we’re talking about, here…). Even so, it should be possible to make a schedule and not have to make a bunch of changes two minutes after sending it out to your team.

So… how can you schedule with near certainty? Here are 12 tips to get your genius on:

1. Know Your Employees – Schedule Online

First and foremost-you should learn as much as you can about your employees. Know when they’re available and what makes them tick. And one you’ve done that, ditch the spreadsheets and track all of it in an online scheduling solution. An employee scheduling app will keep all of the time-off requests, records and previous messages in one place. Post-it notes and scraps of paper won’t cut it in today’s business environment. Your employees will thank you!

2. Be Proactive

Start getting your schedules out further in advance. Giving your team a week’s notice? Start giving them two weeks. That way, people can give you a heads up if they’ll be away before you’ve plugged them into your schedule. (If you have a restaurant in a city with predictive scheduling laws, you’re going to need to do this anyway!)

3. Enable Employee Communication

If you’re using paper, not everyone will be able to see the schedule. Right now, communication flies every which way – Facebook, Instagram, text messages, emails. But those methods still require you to track down information on multiple interfaces. Restaurant employee scheduling software with messaging capabilities puts all of those messages in one app that EVERYONE can see, so you don’t have to go Facebook stalk your team members. With streamlined modes of communication, you can get things done more quickly and efficiently.

4. Build Camaraderie and Engagement

Celebrate your team members when they do a good job with broadcast messages that your whole organization can see! Did the Wednesday night shift do a crazy number of covers? Let everyone know! Find a scheduling app that can send alerts to your whole staff about a job well done. Furthermore, cultivate a sense of community at work that can be carried into everyday life once the shift is over. Team members who are tight with each other will have each other’s backs when it comes to filling the gaps in the schedule.

5. Power to the People

Help your team members help you. Let employees manage their own schedules with these three little words – “online shift swap.” (See also: “With manager approval.”) Check it out! Amazing, right? Aw, we know. We love you too!

6. Integrate your POS

Now we’re getting deep. But, when it comes to scheduling with certainty, an integrated Point of Sale System will take you to whole new level. It’s worth checking out what it means for today’s scheduling:

A bird’s-eye view into your stores’ performance

  • Get reporting and visibility on your labor across multiple stores
  • See into all of your stores’ sales, labor costs, labor percentages, and overtime
  • See actual sales, projected sales, and the variance between the two
  • Create and edit surveys or polls that can be communicated company-wide
  • Share videos and other company-wide announcements that can be seen when employees log in

7. Forecast

These days, sales forecasting is how restaurants optimize and control their labor costs. You can’t over-schedule too many workers or fail to schedule enough workers when you’re pulling from intelligent, historical data.

8. Use Schedule Templates

What if you didn’t have to remake a schedule every week? You have a good idea of what’s coming, and if you know your employees, you also have a good idea of who you want to work. Scheduling templates enable you to create a schedule specifically designed for each and every rush.

9. Explore Auto Scheduler Functionality

If your restaurant scheduling solution has auto scheduler functionality, it could really make your life easier. An auto scheduler is a great tool for scheduling out your shifts quickly, and if you set the right parameters – which days should be scheduled first, which skill levels are needed for particular locations – you can get your restaurant staffed accurately, too. Just adjust your settings, auto schedule, and voila!

Kick your feet up for second and enjoy the peace and quiet-you deserve it.

10. Make Time and Attendance Easier for Employees… and You

Your team already does everything on their phones. Now get them to clock into work there, too. Why? It gives your employees control and it gives everybody visibility into punch times, so you can avoid pay disputes. Everybody wins!

Real-time mobile alerts will notify you if an employee is late to clock in or out. Same goes for missed meals or breaks, and you reduce the buddy-punching problem with IP address clock in/out enforcement. Trust us – it’ll definitely take the edge off.

11. Stay Compliant

The restaurant industry is heavily regulated, and new legislation is popping up at an alarming rate. Predictive scheduling laws are spreading, minor rules and overtime laws are changing. How are you supposed to keep up with all of it? You need a solution that takes the anxiety out of compliance issues, a solution that can be configured to adhere to your business’s regulations at a local or state level. After all, nobody likes lawsuits.

12. Learn to Predict the Weather

Create shifts automatically based on forecasted weather data. No, we aren’t blowing smoke! Can a spreadsheet see that it’s going to rain and then suggest how many servers to staff that afternoon? Didn’t think so!

See? Scheduling your hourly workers has really changed. It’s time to make more than just an educated guess. Put on that genius cap, incorporate a few of these tips, and watch how much better your business flows.

HotSchedules scheduling software can help your business create better schedules and reduce the time your managers spend doing tedious busy work!

To learn more about how you can achieve the most accurate forecast possible, get in touch. Want to see how accurate demand forecasting can help transform the scheduling process? Download our complimentary white paper, The Science of Scheduling.

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