Published July 15, 2022
Anyone who’s ever worked in the restaurant industry knows how stressful it can be. Managing a large number of staff members and designing a comprehensive coverage schedule is chief among the many challenges restaurant owners face on a daily basis.
For years, many restaurants have handled the scheduling process manually using pen and paper. Many can remember their first restaurant jobs, having to fight for blank space on the schedule amidst cross-outs and write-ins, and scribbling down their names to swap shifts with coworkers.
Needless to say, this method of creating and maintaining schedules is not the clearest or most efficient way to manage restaurant staffing. In fact, restaurant managers spend nearly 140 hours per year creating employee schedule sheets. Leveraging an employee scheduling software can free up managers’ valuable time, prevent scheduling errors, identify employee availability more accurately and save money.
Employee scheduling software is a web-based system that allows restaurant owners to quickly and easily create both weekly and monthly schedules for their restaurants. Generally, this software is intuitive and easy to use. It also offers real-time updates if employees choose to swap shifts. As many as 51% of restaurant operators claim that staffing is a top challenge, so having a tool that helps streamline this process is a huge benefit. Many payroll software programs have functions that can track time, send mobile alerts, connect to the payroll system to automatically cut checks and provide real-time attendance reporting. There’s no limit to the benefits employee scheduling software can provide for your restaurant.
Restaurant managers are spending an inordinate amount of time working and reworking restaurant schedules. Scheduling software or a restaurant scheduling app can save up to 10 hours of a manager’s time each week, allowing them to focus on revenue-enhancing activities for the restaurant.
Scheduling software can also align staffing with sales by storing real-time labor data and linking to your POS software to integrate sales data. In this way, it can let you see fluctuations in your sales volume, allowing you to make smarter staffing decisions — like scheduling more employees during peak business hours and fewer during down times. Even better, scheduling software and restaurant scheduling apps have overtime alerts that will notify your restaurant manager when a team member is about to hit overtime hours, allowing you to keep your budget in check.
Since restaurant owners are always on the move, spending hours in a back office pouring over a schedule spreadsheet is hardly an efficient use of their time. Scheduling software unlocks the flexibility to manage the employee schedule from anywhere — whether on a tablet, laptop or smart phone. This flexibility makes it easier for managers or owners to deal with shift-swaps or employees who call out sick. Also, the mobility afforded by a scheduling software allows your restaurant manager to handle staffing needs from anywhere, which can be beneficial if they need to meet with suppliers or other local business owners. Scheduling software gives greater flexibility to its users.
If you’re a restaurant owner managing a local franchise or multiple restaurant locations, you know it can be challenging to keep tabs on the employees at each site. Are they coming in to work? Is there enough employee availability? Was anyone late to their shift? These are the questions that might plague you on a daily basis.
Restaurant scheduling software and other programs make it easier to juggle shift schedules and effective task management from multiple locations. Even if you employ local restaurant managers at each site, you’ll still want eyes on employee scheduling across locations. Restaurant scheduling software apps offer real-time insights into employees scheduled to work, allowing you to easily adjust the number of available shifts based on the projected business at any given location on any given day. With this additional information, you’re able to provide better oversight and control over multiple restaurant locations and ensure the entire business runs smoothly.
The great thing about scheduling software is that it’s not only useful for restaurant owners and managers — workers can benefit, too. These days, almost everyone has a smart mobile device on them 24/7, so coupling scheduling software with a mobile app radically improves the ease with which your employees can access information about their schedule.
This feature gives employees the flexibility to request shift changes quickly and remotely through a virtual platform. Some scheduling software may even allow group chats and messaging to allow employees swap shifts and work out scheduling issues when they’re not at on-site.
Notifications can be set up to keep managers in the loop, but these types of restaurant scheduling software apps give employees autonomy to take control of their own schedules. They also allow employees to keep track of their schedules without having to text their managers or write themselves reminders.
The traditional pen-and-paper schedule method can, in some cases, impede the trust between restaurant managers and employees. Imagine being an employee looking to request time off, going into your manager’s office to check the calendar on the wall and seeing that someone has crossed out your name for a shift. You’re liable to blame your manager for lack of oversight.
With scheduling software, everyone — managers and employees alike — has access to the same schedule. The software can also be configured to prevent shifts from being “stolen” from employees by their colleagues. Having access to live updates to employee schedules improves transparency between managers and their staff, improving overall restaurant efficiency and employee retention. Better yet, managers can leverage scheduling software functionality to push real-time notifications to employees about schedule changes or other management-related updates.
Scheduling software is a crucial element to more effectively utilizing your restaurant workforce. It offers increased control over labor costs, improved mobility, greater employee autonomy and more transparency between employees and managers — and those are just some of the many benefits.
Technology is no longer “the future” — it’s very much a big part of the present. By embracing the efficiencies technology can provide, restaurants are sure to run a more cost-effective, revenue-capturing business.