October 1, 2021

How to create good staff schedules for your restaurant

Restaurant owners have a hard time creating employee schedules because of the many factors involved. Here’s how you can make better decisions with software.
By
Pamela Romano

Employee schedules have been a restaurant's nightmare for decades since labour targets depend on them. With the introduction of new technology and data driven software, restaurant owners can now have an easier time creating schedules to be fair and balanced. This blog post will discuss how this is done with meeting employee expectations, making time for adjustments, following regulations, and more.

There are many ways to create an effective staff schedule, but it all starts with understanding what you need in order to have better customer service while meeting labor laws and regulations. It is not done by just throwing names on the schedule and hoping for the best.

Schedule Meetings that employees actually attend

The worst thing you can do is rely on your gut instinct when planning out your schedules because your biases (such as preferred staff) can be obvious to your coworkers.

For starters, managers should set up meetings where they can talk to their employees about the restaurant's overall goals and how they can achieve them. Ideally, this meeting should happen twice a year or even quarterly - if you are busy enough or have high turnover rates.

The goal is for all parties to be happy with not only the hours given to them, but the people they get to work with and the career advancement they are offered.

For example, if you have a restaurant that has a high turnover rate or one where employees work split shifts, then creating open-ended schedules may be the best option.

Make sure that you have a schedule where employees can swap shifts with each other or pick their own based on their availabilities. It is more likely that these schedules will be balanced and not cause any staffing issues when it comes time to figure out who needs to work which shift.

This is why data driven scheduling is used instead of manual spreadsheets. They provide security and benefits for restaurant businesses and you will no longer second guess the scheduling process and have input conflicts. More on this later.

Inputs and expectations

Employee satisfaction

It is important that you communicate with staff to figure out availabilities, find out about any bookings / orders that would require more staff, and to ask for time off requests.

Additionally, setting up schedule deadlines for major holidays or events needs to be done at least two months in advance.

Therefore, asking your employees to participate or volunteer for their shifts, as opposed to assigning them, you are building a sense of trust and appreciation and they will more likely work hard and collaborate in the process.

Knowing time off requests early also ensures staff get their schedule ahead of time to plan around their personal lives. It can also help you identify if there are any other issues that need to be addressed internally, and avoid stressing out your employees.

Restaurant satisfaction

It is wise to build your schedule around what your restaurant needs. This includes having staff levels that are appropriate for the restaurant's hours of operation, and knowing not to overextend yourself with more staff than needed on a particular day or hour.

Usually, 6 to 8 hour shifts are the standard, however you can solve this by finding a few restaurant staff that are flexible enough to work with any type of hours.

Additionally, if a restaurant needs to schedule 20 hours of staff time but they only have 12 available on that day or hour, then the restaurant should not take any more reservations until their staffing levels are higher again.

It is also wise to schedule shifts based on the restaurant's sales numbers.

For example, if a restaurant has an event that is coming up or their busiest hours are from 11 AM to 12 PM then they should schedule more staff for these time periods so as not to over-extend themselves or have any staffing issues later on in the day.

It is recommended to hire 1/3 part time employees and 2/3 full time employees since this is the balanced formula for reducing labour and overtime costs.

This strategy helps you manage rising minimum wages, while still giving opportunities to diverse groups of people with different job seeking hours. You can also retain your level of service by redistributing hours this way.

Fairness and recognition

Now that we have discussed how restaurant scheduling works, let's get into understanding what fair scheduling is and why it is important.

When a restaurant owner schedules staff in an unfair way, this can lead to an inability to offer quality service, which results in overworked or underpaid employees.

It is important to have a plan for restaurant staff in order for them to work the same amount of hours throughout a given time period, or at least have similar numbers of hours per week.

This will make restaurant employees feel like their hard work is recognized in some way.

Fair scheduling is important since data shows that about 50% of employees receive their schedule within 2 weeks, 20% would need to find and pay a last minute sitter for their children, and 37% have had no compensation due to changes / cancellations in shifts.

Therefore, taking the time to plan your next restaurant schedule with your employees in mind is a step to solve increasing turnover rates.

How restaurants schedule sick days

Restaurant staff should always be aware of management's expectations of them.

This includes understanding sick days, which can vary by restaurant in terms of how many they offer or when it is appropriate for their employees to use a sick day.

Some restaurants may offer "sick time" that employees are allowed to accumulate over a period of time, while other businesses will allow them to accrue sick days over the course of their employment.

However, most restaurant employees have only one day off per week and it is often unpaid, so you should always be fair in understanding what your expectations are around this subject matter.

It also important to note that restaurant staff should never come to work if they are sick because it is not only unsafe for the restaurant's customers, but also puts restaurant staff at risk of developing their illness or infection.

If you encounter a situation where your employee can't come to work, having a backup member is crucial. You can either plan this with the other individual in case someone cannot make it, or find a temporary replacement with similar skill sets.

This is why training is crucial, restaurant owners and management should always be prepared to delegate any task or job that is needed for their business.

How to manage overtime

Overtime pay is usually a percentage of the restaurant's total hourly wages or some other form of compensation.

When restaurant staff work overtime, it is important to be fair and transparent. This includes setting up an agreement on how much time any given employee can spend working these hour before they require compensation for their extra hours.

This agreement should be set up beforehand and restaurant staff should not be forced to work an unpaid second shift.

Additionally, employees should never have to cook more than one shift in a day without being offered compensation.

Paying restaurant staff overtime is rare, but it can be done if restaurant owners wish to do so. However, nobody deserves to work for free, especially those who benefit your business and are experienced in the workforce.

In addition, avoid making restaurant employees work more than eight hours without overtime pay.

Employers should be aware of local laws regarding this subject matter before scheduling restaurant staff at all!

How to schedule break times

Restaurant staff should have proper break time.

Some restaurants may offer restaurant employees a five minute break for every three hours of work, while others might allow them ten minutes or so per hour worked.

It is also common to offer a 30 minute to an hour break to those working double shifts to give them time to have a meal before starting again.

It is important to be fair and offer a scheduling plan that does not interrupt or rush break times.

As for employees who smoke, a break of maximum fifteen minutes for every four hours of work should be permitted, as it is the standard in most states.

If restaurant staff cannot take their smoker's break at work, then they should be compensated with time off later on or given incentives. However, the same breaks should be given to non-smokers because they should not be penalized for adopting different lifestyle choices.

Time off policy for restaurants

It is important to provide restaurant staff with time off in a way that's fair. Restaurant owners and managers should consider the restaurant employees' future needs and how they might want to use their vacation days when scheduling time off.

For instance, requiring restaurant staff to use all of their vacation days before being able to take sick leave, should be avoided because it can make them lose the time off benefits they are entitled to from both types.

Granted, restaurant owners and managers should not be expected to know restaurant staff's personal lives, but they can have a better understanding of how restaurant employees might want to use vacation time.

It is important for restaurant staff who are taking maternity or parental leave that it does not affect their benefit eligibility in any way.

For example, restaurant staff may need additional time off as they recover from childbirth in order to take care of their newborn, therefore notifying managers of this and requesting time off early is crucial.

It is also important to keep track of restaurant staff's work hours and work days so restaurant owners can be aware of their restaurant staff's eligibility for time off.

How to schedule during holidays

When holidays are around the corner, employees should be paid time and a half for every hour they work on a holiday, and thus managers must distribute days off for employees who worked those days.

Running your restaurant during the holidays may not always be profitable; in the case where hiring more staff would cost you more than the amount you can possibly profit from being open. So, keep an eye out when holidays are approaching and adjust your restaurant schedule accordingly.

Types of shifts to consider

Fixed shifts

Fixed shifts are a restaurant employee's set number of work hours and days.

This schedule is best for restaurant staff who are able to control their shifts and have a consistent and predictable schedule - which is easy to work around with a schedule template.

This fixed schedule, however, might not be the most convenient for those often requesting time off because it would leave a big gap in the staff schedule if not organized appropriately.

Open shifts

On the other hand, open shifts do provide an easy and flexible alternative to fixed schedules since shifts can more easily be swapped, replaced, and moved.

Open shifts can allow restaurant owners to run more efficiently by scheduling restaurant staff in waves, which can be done by finalizing restaurant staff schedules in advance.

Employers might find that open shifts promote loyalty and commitment from restaurant staff because they are able to know how many days and hours their work schedule is going to be on a weekly basis, with the liberty of planning to their employees needs.

This is an easy way to ensure that there's a steady stream of customers coming into the restaurant, and more opportunities are provided for restaurant employees who may not want fixed shifts.

The downside to open shift scheduling is that it might work better for restaurant staff who have more than one job or go to school because their other work schedules can be completely different from their restaurant shifts.

On-call shifts

On-call shifts are a restaurant employee's set number of work hours and days, but they must contact the restaurant owner or manager to find out when their shift is next.

This type of employee scheduling might not be suitable for all types of workers because it requires them to stay in touch with restaurant management and other staff and take on shifts that are often last minute.

Furthermore, those who have on-call shifts might not be able to commit as much time for other work or school because they need to call restaurant management when their next shift is - which can make it difficult if they are unavailable at the moment of contact.

However, this type of workforce has more flexibility and availability which is beneficial to restaurant owners owning small businesses which often cannot afford the cost of hiring full-time restaurant staff.

Best practices to adopt for restaurant staff scheduling

Pay on time

Managers and owners should pay on time since employee livelihoods depend on their wages and income as much as everyone else does. Restaurant salaries have a huge impact on the restaurant industry because turnover rates are high among restaurant staff.

Employers must also be aware that restaurant staff salaries can determine someone's performance, those paid on time are shown to provide better customer service. However, paying on time comes with proper knowledge of your sales and an investment in your team members to increase overall productivity.

Balance skills per shift

Restaurant owners and managers should also consider a skillset plan. Some are more skilled than others in the kitchen or front of house - which means it is important to balance skillsets on your schedule so that everyone can excel together.

This tactic can promote restaurant staff loyalty and a better restaurant experience because people are more likely to stay with the restaurant if they feel appreciated.

It also is an opportunity for employees to work with different people and learn from them on the job. It's as simple as choosing a mentor (a qualified employee) to train newcomers or those willing to learn and offer them new skills in the process.

By mixing newcomers and experienced staff, the new employee can quickly catch on to how you want your restaurant to be run and what makes your top employees so special.

If an employee feels like they are being undervalued or that their needs aren't being met at a particular restaurant, then it is possible for them to move on without worrying about losing all of their skills - which might happen if restaurant employees are put on the same shift every day.

By choosing the right amount of employees for a shift and finding a diverse mix of staff on hand, you can offer a better customer service. Especially if you have your fastest employees and with the highest skill sets for busy periods, while keeping your sociable and lower skilled employees for slower periods. However, you can have a mix of both to train those who can improve over time.

Offer sidework

Offering restaurant staff side work is a way to offer them more hours and opportunity for extra pay. This might be difficult for those who have other responsibilities because they may not set their job as the top priority.

However, this option could benefit restaurant workers who are struggling to find another restaurant job in the area, who are experiencing a change of career, or are looking to increase their income.

This is a beneficial solution for restaurant owners because it helps them save on hiring new staff - which can be expensive and challenging to find a right fit.

Offering restaurant staff side work also provides opportunities for training and development within your restaurant. However, make sure you are following minimum shift time bylaws of your state, some examples are:

  • The restaurant staff cannot work for more than 12 hours in a shift
  • No restaurant employee can be assigned to work longer than 16 hours per day without taking at least one hour of rest during the shift.
  • No employee should work less than an 1 to 2 hours

Cross-train your employees

Cross-training restaurant employees is a great way to balance and build skill sets which, in turn, can benefit the restaurant - as well as offer variety for customers who are seeking help or are needing quicker service. Cross-training restaurant staff can also help to create a more cohesive restaurant, as well as offer the restaurant higher sales.

Cross-trained employees are able to take on different tasks should there be an emergency or if another employee is absent from work for any reason.

If you have waiters cross-trained in food preparation, and can help cooks in the kitchen, they are more likely to offer customers a diverse menu and have the ability to answer restaurant customer questions.

This is because the waiters will be able to provide restaurant guests with information about any dish on your restaurant's menu - which can lead customers to ordering something new.

Cross-trained restaurant staff will have more opportunities for advancement within your restaurant and potentially have chances to move up in their career or seek more work. The plan is to maximize the time each employee spends working, it is unlikely that they will have nothing to do.

Communicate with your team

Communicating with restaurant staff is important for restaurant owners to do, no matter what type of strategy they are using.

A good way to start communicating with restaurant staff is by setting up meetings and having open communication lines where you can offer feedback on any problems or challenges within your restaurant - this will get their input in the process and help restaurant staff feel more involved in the restaurant.

This is also a good way to make sure restaurant employees know about any changes or new information you have come across, such as an increase in restaurant customer demand - which could mean there's a need for additional restaurant staff on hand.

If you're working with a scheduling software, restaurant owners should make sure to use the software's communication features. This is a quick solution to miscommunication which may arise from a fast-paced working environment.

There are a number of scheduling software programs that offer live chat, email notifications, and phone call options - as well as other forms of instant messaging which can help restaurant owners communicate with their team in real-time. This can also be done through Facebook messenger, what's app, slack, etc.

Staying connected is one of the most important steps to cultivating a scheduling plan.

Optimize labour spending

When it comes to optimizing labour spending, restaurant owners will need to look at their restaurant staffing needs - which can be done by using data analysis, scheduling software, and the restaurant's labour costs.

The goal is to have a schedule that aligns with your restaurant's peak hours of operation and offers employees the opportunity for overtime pay.

This can be done by cross-linking restaurant sales data with restaurant staff availability, which will provide a better understanding of the labour demand and help restaurant owners create an economically sustainable schedule.

The goal is to balance skill sets and increase employee retention rates so that they stay at your restaurant for longer periods of time - this ensures there's less turnover.

A restaurant scheduling strategy that is based on restaurant sales will look at how much revenue each shift makes - this can be done by using restaurant payroll data, since it could take into account other aspects such as customer demand or industry trends.

Use sales and service trends

Scheduling restaurant staff is best done with a balance between external demand drivers, such as restaurant customer demand or industry trends, and internal factors such as employee availability.

An example of an external demand driver is hosting events and drawing in more crowds at the same time. This will ensure that your employees get more busy hours to work, which also means more practice, more tips, and more restaurant traffic.

This can be achieved by looking at restaurant staff scheduling in relation with any overtime spent on labour - restaurant owners should monitor how much labour has been spent on a certain shift and compare it to the restaurant's revenue.

Finding an employee schedule strategy that is based on sales provides you with data stating how many customers come into your restaurant, what they order, how much they tip, etc - which can help you understand if there's an opportunity for a change in staff or less labour.

By using historical sales and labour data, it is possible to figure out which are your peak days and which aren't, and are then reflected better in your scheduling.

You can also ask around and see what other local restaurants are doing and when. You can start noticing what most do during holidays and large events, as well as how many staff they have on hand, the work environment, and the success they receive on certain days.

Use scheduling templates

A scheduling template will provide a clear guideline for restaurant employees and business owners on what needs to be accomplished to make sure everything gets done effectively. You can use the template as an outline of tasks that need to get done, in what order they should be done, and when restaurant staff should do them.

The template will help restaurant owners create more efficiency in their restaurant operations - which can makes it easy for both the restaurant owner as well as the employees. The templates are generally constructed by using a variety of formats such as bullet points or numeric lists so that restaurant owners can easily reference the information.

Scheduling restaurant staff is important for restaurant operations, and that's because it helps with customer service, teamwork between your restaurant employees, as well as economic stability.

You can find scheduling templates on restaurant management websites, Google Sheets, Canva, Smartsheets, and more.

Switching to restaurant scheduling software

When you rely on your printed schedules in your restaurant, you are setting yourself up for failure; you may struggle to stay on top of schedule changes and assign appropriate shifts for staff.

An employee scheduling software will provide restaurant owners with a database of restaurant staff availability, which can be cross-referenced with restaurant sales data to create an effective and economically sustainable schedule.

There are many different types of management programs that can help make your restaurant's operations more efficient, such as bookkeeping software for accounting purposes or payroll processing software for restaurant payroll.

These programs are designed to help restaurant owners and managers with a variety of different tasks within the restaurant, such as fairly scheduling restaurant staff or compiling sales data.

These programs can be set up to automatically, send restaurant staff reminders, handle scheduling restaurant staff, and cross-referencing it with sales data for more effective restaurant staffing - which will ensure that you have access to everything your restaurant needs.

The goal is to offer better customer service along with a restaurant staff schedule that is accessible to restaurant owners by managing the restaurant operations both within and from home through a mobile app or desktop app.

Here are some features to look out for in a scheduling program:

Mobile access

Scheduling programs which have mobile accessibility provide better means of communication between staff members and management because it's a platform that is convenient and versatile to use.

Since the majority of the population has a phone, a mobile app is a tool which can be integrated fairly easy. Coworkers can request shift changes, directly get schedule updates, and have their schedule accessible at any time or place. They wouldn't need to wait until a manager posts it before or after their shift, they would be able to see it in real time.

The other benefit is organization, you won't need to keep track of all the changes taking place all at once, you will be able to curate better schedules for your restaurant from the get go. Of course, if changes happen, you will be able to see them updating only once a manager approves them for security and organizational purposes.

Ease of use

It is important that the software you begin to use is not too complicated for yourself and your coworkers to use, it should be hassle free.

What this means is that it shouldn't be too time consuming like spreadsheets are and take up a few hours of your time a week. With scheduling programs, you will only need a couple minutes and then you can redirect your time elsewhere.

When it comes to updates, you should no longer have to chase each employee down to finalize their availabilities, you would simply make updates as you go on the sample schedule template.

Another useful feature is automatic updates, where employees would be notified every time a change has occurred. The benefit with this is that your schedule would not need to be reposted after every update, it would just modify as changes are approved.

With this, employees would have access to the latest modifications and essentially be in the loop every time.

Another important feature to scheduling programs is automating recurring events or shifts, known as predictive scheduling. This would simplify your schedule creation process as you input shifts over time.

Instead of you having to remember every time a shift or event repeats, and possibly forgetting in the process, the automation would have it scheduled until you want it to be assigned and you can predict who to staff for those specific days and weeks.

Predictive scheduling is reliable and is actually becoming the standard in the U.S. for businesses of any size. Employees would no longer need to ask for their shifts and run after their managers. They would simply save time by getting notice of their shifts through the application and can improve their overall communication with their coworkers. This is proven to avoid "clopening" shifts (closing one night and opening the next day).

Reporting

Reporting is a key feature in scheduling programs, as it allows restaurant staff schedules to be more organized and maintain their efficiency.

This means that you will have access not only to your schedule but the restaurant staff's as well - so it is obvious who is working with whom, when there are off days or holidays etc., all without needing to do the legwork.

This would also include a calendar which will show you how busy your restaurant is every day, and an attendance log to know who's at work or not.

After all this information has been accounted for, it becomes easier to see what needs fixing because there are no longer any secrets to the way restaurant management is proceeded.

With all this, you would also have the power to reduce overtime rates - which cost you far more than you think in the long run.

Tracking

Tracking restaurant staff's time and schedule will be easy with software for several reasons. You would have the opportunity to reduce scheduling errors, such as staff holes, scheduling someone who's unavailable, or forgetting about a replacement.

The power to track restaurant staff allows you to see the whole picture and know exactly what is performing well and what is not. Therefore, there won't be conflicts of interest because the data is automatically given to you as proof.

The software will do all the work for you, including being able to track shift conflicts and new events that have been entered.

This means that restaurant management would no longer need to be concerned about whether or not their restaurant is properly staffed, as they can just check the software for help in ensuring this.

Employees will also find it easier because there is a better chance of finding a shift that suits their needs as restaurant management is making the effort to create a schedule with an entirely accurate and transparent system.

This would mean restaurant staff schedules are fair, easier to maintain, and you can be sure there will never again be misunderstandings between employees because of conflicts of interest, double-shifts, overlapping shifts, pay delays, etc.

Monitoring

It is difficult to monitor staff without a scheduling software, therefore with this tool you will be able to do the following:

  • Reduce no shows by automatically scheduling restaurant shifts according to availability and sending reminders for upcoming shifts
  • Check who is scheduled for a shift so you can monitor their time on the clock
  • Reduce the buddy-punching problem with IP address clock in and out restrictions
  • Be able to reserve shifts and work with time slotting before you accidentally schedule too many employees
  • Know who is responsible in closing or opening your restaurant

Scan. Confirm. Done.

Inventory done 5x faster with 150,000 in your pocket.

Make your staffs life easier

Recommended scheduling software apps

Coast

Coast is designed to work with any restaurant's specific needs to manage a team. It removes any potential lost messages and connects all your staff instead. By doing so, it keeps all the important updates and task information in one place.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Shareable calendars
  • Create, assign, track orders
  • Make checklists to assign to staff
  • Managing staff shift swaps
  • Restaurant staff attendance logs
  • Directly post job openings to indeed
  • Track tasks and deadlines
  • Create your own workflow
  • Unlimited messaging
  • User friendly

7shifts

7shifts is a scheduling software that integrates with POS and Payroll systems in order to provide restaurants with efficient schedules and payroll. It has an intuitive drag and drop builder which organizes all areas of staff availability, time-off, and regional labor compliance. It also helps you stay on top of our sales and forecasts by revealing the difference between labor trends and projected labor sales.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Create, edit, and publish your schedules online with drag-and-drop
  • Time clocking and staff health checks
  • Stay connected with messaging, reminders, and announcements
  • Sync with your manager log book
  • Customize checklists for each shift
  • Integrates with your POS and Payroll to monitor sales and labor
  • Sends sales forecasts
  • Shift dashboards and feedback platforms for your staff

Homebase

Homebase is an app which controls everything you need for payroll, monitoring, team communication, and organization. It can be used to manage restaurant staff schedules and improve restaurant management for scheduling beyond 10 days in advance.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Sharable restaurant staff schedules
  • Tracks hours, breaks, availability, and overtime
  • Automatically calculates paychecks
  • Sends direct deposits to employees
  • Files payroll taxes
  • Team messaging, alerts, and reminders
  • New hire onboarding
  • GPS time clocks and timesheets

HotSchedules

HotSchedules is useful for forecasting sales and adopting a sustainable time and management solution for your restaurant.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Access to shift approvals
  • Sales and budget forecasts
  • Team messaging and live notifications
  • Overtime, breaks, and new shift alerts
  • Templates for schedule creation
  • Store reports on performance, labor, and more
  • Scheduled payments and notifications
  • Add to your logbook and manage tasks
  • Send health surveys to your staff

Deputy

Deputy is restaurant scheduling software that aims to provide efficient scheduling, time and attendance tracking, wage and hour compliance, and all-in-one employee app with easily accessible forecasting at your fingertips. Deputy is known to generate an ROI at double industry's average.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Trend graphs for performance management
  • Scheduling plans for restaurant managers and owners, including multiple sites
  • Automated reporting to track labor costs and sales trends across the restaurant or chain of restaurants
  • Enables shift swap approval requests through text messaging. Schedules can be shared directly with restaurant staff
  • Assign people to monitor restaurant open and close times, as well as server availability for a particular shift
  • Add breaks between shifts
  • Data Driven Scheduling
  • Attendance tracking
  • Payroll and POS integrations

When I Work

When I Work is a workplace scheduling software which aims to put the back office into your front pocket. It is designed for employee scheduling and time tracking specifically and offers all the following features for both desktop and mobile.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Auto scheduling
  • Sends shift confirmations and notifies employees of their shifts, swaps, and drops
  • Shareable schedules
  • Manages your labor budget with labor forecasting
  • Controls overtime costs with reporting and alerts
  • Integrates with your timesheets for payroll
  • Forecasts labor distribution
  • Uses time clocks for easy check in and check outs
  • Connects staff through messaging

Planaday

Planday is a cloud-based software that retains all your information online and secured. It takes into account employee schedules, available staff, payroll costs and other aspects when building a schedule. It provides businesses in retail, leisure, hospitality, healthcare, hotels, and more, with the ability to perform administrative tasks and facilitating this by integrating with POS systems.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Flexible scheduling
  • Unlimited shifts, time off / vacation requests
  • Shift trading process, shift swaps, holidays management.
  • Integrates with your payroll for seamless integration
  • Automated scheduling and streamlined shift changes
  • Data driven forecasting to ensure you're budgeting correctly
  • Accurate time tracking
  • In-app messaging
  • Create independent schedules
  • Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly schedule outlook
  • Salary and hour calculations
  • Optimise staffing levels by calculating the cost of your schedule
  • Force read messaging feature
  • Punch clock and location time tracking

Push operations

Push operations is a scheduling software that primarily focuses on your payroll, hr, scheduling, and time tracking.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Push HCM for hiring and onboarding, and KPI tracking / alarms
  • Time tracking
  • Integrates with your POS system
  • Shift swapping, overtime projections, and shift approvals
  • Calculate payroll with automated calculation and integration functionality
  • View actual sales and labor against projections
  • Staff onboarding and performance
  • Flexible wage tracking
  • Schedule forecasting
  • Facial recognition and customizable clock ins
  • Track and automate labor compliance
  • Mobile approval and notifications

Sling

Sling is restaurant scheduling software that provides users with the ability to forecast labor and sales levels, as well as change these forecasts over time. It also features a data driven dashboard and live notifications for restaurant managers.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Data-driven forecasting
  • Customizable shift templates in real-time
  • Live restaurant manager notifications for timely scheduling and accountability
  • Shift change approvals, overtime calculations and alerts, location tracking
  • Integrates with payroll systems to manage requests and eliminate shift conflicts
  • Employee self-service portal to request shifts electronically
  • Shift swaps are automatically approved when both parties agree.
  • Provides predictive sales and restaurant labor forecasts for up to a 12-month period, viewable in real time.
  • Integrates with your POS and Payroll system

Zoomshift

Zoomshift restaurant scheduling software allows you to creates shift schedules, manage requests and provides location-based access. It integrates with your payroll system for seamless integration.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Online restaurant staff schedule maker
  • Building shifts from templates or creating them on the fly
  • Shift planning
  • Integrated into restaurant POS system
  • Private messaging system for restaurant staff to communicate with each other
  • Integrates seamlessly with restaurant payroll systems, POS Systems and any third party HRMS
  • Staff schedules are automatically updated at the restaurant level as shifts are requested or swapped.
  • Shift swaps require approval from both parties before being approved.
  • Labor forecasting is data-driven and allows managers to see restaurant labor and sales levels in real-time.
  • Automatic clock in reminders, time-off tracker
  • GPS powered timesheets

Crew

Crew restaurant scheduling software is a restaurant management system that allows you to easily manage your restaurant's staff and create schedules. It features location based access, an intuitive interface and automatic time tracking with GPS technology.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Online restaurant manager dashboard
  • Full-time & part-time employee support
  • Employee time off requests
  • Templates and task assignment tools
  • In-app data insights
  • Content-filtering
  • POS integrations
  • Live and on-demand training resources
  • Staff onboarding and customer support
  • Real-time communication
  • Role-based controls
  • Define staff groups by skill, role, location, certifications
  • SMS integration
  • Voice calling
  • Shift coverage scheduling
  • Employee surveys
  • Task delegation

Jolt

The restaurant scheduling software, Jolt, is focused on restaurant management and features an intuitive interface.

It comes equipped with many restaurant specific features such as:

  • Restaurant manager dashboard
  • Menu board creation for specials or seasonal menus
  • Integrated calendar system to view staff availability
  • Staff requests for time off in one place, approved in one place
  • Training resources and live chat
  • Team checklists and accountability
  • Integrated with Payroll and POS system for restaurant staff
  • Menu board creation for specials or seasonal menus
  • Employee performance

Harri

Harri focuses on restaurant scheduling and customer service for  restaurants, hotels, and retailers to transform their HR and Operations practices which is data driven.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Online restaurant manager dashboard
  • Full-time & part-time employee support
  • Employee time off request approval in the app or through email
  • Applicant tracking, customizable filtering
  • Staff onboarding and document management system
  • Integrates seamlessly with restaurant payroll systems, POS Systems and any third party HRMS
  • Clock-in and clock-out attendance tracking
  • Organize conversations, requests, and notice updates
  • Insights and analytics on performance, sales, speed, and customer tracking

Hubstaff

Hubstaff restaurant scheduling software is a restaurant management system that helps with shift planning and assigning tasks to employees by tracking hours, streamlining reports, and managing requests.

It comes equipped with features such as:

  • Online restaurant manager dashboard
  • Full-time & part-time employee support
  • Employee requests and approval in the app or through email
  • Applicant tracking, customizable filtering
  • Staff onboarding and document management system
  • Availability and time off request management
  • Easy clock-in system with time tracking
  • Create new projects and assign to-do lists
  • Receive smart notifications for shifts
  • Track payments and view weekly reports of your whole team
  • View recent activity on the home dashboard
  • Stay on top of staff activities
  • Manage invoices

Restaurant employee scheduling considerations

Each restaurant is different and will have their own employee scheduling considerations. However, there are some general rules to follow when setting up a restaurant schedule to make your business competitive over others.

Schedule your busiest days first

If your restaurant is open on the weekends, consider scheduling those days first. This will ensure that you and all of your employees are ready to work when they need to be even if it's their first shift of the week. Scheduling Saturday before Sunday may also help with ensuring staff members have enough time off during slower times in order to take care of themselves.

Having these days scheduled first allows employees to prepare themselves in their workspace and within their work week. They can take on more prep work, take on cleaning tasks for their premises, and start restocking before the big day arrives.

When you create a schedule, make sure to include all of the restaurant staff members involved in your restaurant's operation. Some positions may need an opening and closing shift because they have more responsibilities during those hours than others or are necessary for our restaurant's success. Other employees may only be needed on certain days or parts of the day depending on your restaurant needs.

Offer staff to work a high-dollar shift

Being able to offer high-tip and high-hour shifts to all your staff throughout their employment is a must. Everyone, including your newer or less experienced employees should be able to work one shift a week that offers them with more money in their pocket.

Separate your staff into teams

When you have people working the same shift, it's a good idea to divide them into teams. The team could be broken up by section, such as customer service and restaurant front of house duties. In ensures that each person performs their primary tasks without being interrupted and without having to rush from one region to another to do their job.

This way, if a restaurant employee has an emergency, needs to leave work early or takes off for personal reasons, their team is aware of such and can back them up.

As mentioned earlier, training staff to be multitaskers is essential. Thus, a multitasking team can adjust as circumstances arise and interchange between responsibilities if necessary.

Use payroll to your advantage

Payroll is useful in gathering data about your restaurant and it can be used to your advantage. You can also figure out overtime rates and what can be adapted in your restaurant to fix this.

For example, you may want to use payroll data to know which requests are more urgent, such as those nearing the end of their working year or those who haven't used their vacation days yet.

Some restaurant owners enjoy using payroll as an opportunity to balance skill sets between staff members and assign them a restaurant shift in which they qualify for or are capable of handling.

For instance, if there is a restaurant event coming up that requires simple food prep but your restaurant's kitchen staff is unavailable or overworked, you can use payroll to swap out an employee to work in the back and prepare the meals instead of working in customer service or performing front of house duties.

Offer full-time equivalent days

Offering restaurant staff days off, or their equivalent in hours is very important for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. You want to avoid overworking your staff, while at the same time offering them a reasonable amount of hours per shift.

You may consider offering them Friday evenings and Sundays to give your employees time to prepare for the upcoming week. Some restaurants offer Saturday morning shifts to help with preparing for their weekend rush.

Knowing how many hours each employee needs to work also depends on your restaurant's traffic. Therefore, by integrating with a scheduling software that uses your POS and your payroll data, you can more easily figure out when are your low traffic hours versus your high traffic hours. With this, you can choose who to hire for a certain shift which maximizes your staff time, and ensures your servers leaves with a good portion of tips.

Integrate with your POS

In restaurant scheduling software, you can integrate with your POS system. This way, if a staff member is working their schedule and does not have any open tables for them to wait on customers or take orders from, they can log in the restaurant POS system to see what needs are available.

Staff members should be informed of how many hours they need per shift to meet deadlines and know how when their next paycheck will be sent to them.

Your POS helps with calendar solutions because it offers sales data which can reveal productivity per labor hour, it can confirm your busiest days of the week, and can determine how many customers are being served at what rate.

Laws and regulations

Payroll taxes

Payroll taxes are a restaurant owner's responsibility, therefore the scheduling software you use should be integrated with your payroll provider.

This way, when an employee's timesheet is evaluated, information about their income taxes is automatically calculated by your restaurant scheduling software.

It's important to follow the software's instructions to setting up payroll taxes and the percentage of restaurant staffing you will have for each department, so that everything is calculated to your liking.

The software should also integrate with local law enforcement, tax agencies, or any other regulations in order for it to be compliant.

Fair Labour Standards Act

The restaurant scheduling software you use should be able to create schedules that are at least 40 hours per week which meets the Fair Labour Standards Act.

This is a law put in place by Congress and governs how much employees have to work, for what kind of pay they must be compensated, who's eligible for overtime pay, as well as the time of day that employees can work.

Issues around work hours and wages are overseen by the Department of Labour, the federal state, and the local government. Make sure that you are familiar with your restaurant scheduling software's rules around these issues to avoid any legal problems.

FICA

Under the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) tip credit, restaurant owners are responsible for following rules about how customers tips will be divided among their restaurant employees.

A restaurant scheduling software can help you calculate this by dividing your total wages, including any cash or credit card income such as food and merchandise sales from your restaurant, by the number of hours worked.

The software should also integrate with your payroll provider to take care of any FICA and Federal Income Tax deductions as well as withholdings in order for you to be compliant with all state and federal laws.

Contacting a labor lawyer

The restaurant staffing schedule is the backbone of restaurant staffing and will dictate everything about the running of the restaurant; from its financial productivity per labor hour, to which days are busier than others, to how many customers are being served at what rate.

A labor lawyer can help restaurant owners understand how to navigate staff scheduling regulations and laws. They should guide restaurant owners through the steps to comply with state department regulations and local law enforcement, and help find suitable payroll providers. With this information, you are guided to improving your restaurant reputation and efficiency.

Therefore, when in doubt, consider a labor lawyer.

Offering fixed rates

Fixed rates are implemented with staffing schedules when a restaurant owner sets an amount of work hours for each role and pays that person those same fixed wages.

This type of staffing schedule is often used when it's difficult to predict the right number of employees needed per working hour.

But restaurant owners should be aware that this can lead to paying their restaurant staff more than they're working. This type of restaurant staffing schedule is said to be fair because it avoids pay disputes. Yet, there are instances where the restaurant owner will not see their revenue increase as much since there's a base wage for each hour worked and then overtime rates apply if certain thresholds are met.

Final thoughts

Restaurant staff scheduling is an important part of management. There are a variety of schedule templates that owners can use to improve labor costs, however the goal is to make your employees and customers enjoy your restaurant.

Make sure you are following up and keeping close contact with your staff through regular meetings, team building opportunities, and offering flexibility in their work schedules. Ensure that you provide your staff with competitive hours, salaries, and work environments to your best capacity. This comes with finding the right employees and using the right scheduling software or scheduling techniques.

In order to comply with all laws and regulations relating to restaurant scheduling practices, it's important that you consult your local state department as well as any applicable federal agencies like the Department of Labour so you don't make mistakes about how much workers should be paid at what wage rate. For additional help with this process, contact a restaurant labor lawyer.

Creating fair staff schedules does not come easy, but restaurant staff scheduling software can help restaurant owners stay organized, become more productive with their restaurant staffing schedules and see an increase in restaurant revenue.

Share

Taking inventory should not take hours.