Streamlining the restaurant staff scheduling process is important for your entire management. Restaurants rely on their employees to implement all procedures inside and out of the business. Scheduling errors could cause the shift to having trouble recovering.
Efficient dining service is dependent on a well-planned staffing schedule. Creating a schedule for your employees involves some basic steps which you should know before you begin.
Making a successful restaurant schedule requires the consideration of factors such as tipping, scheduling, vacation, overtime, and laws concerning the employment of minors. While the process can seem daunting, there are a few helpful points to remember that will simplify things substantially.
Staff Scheduling 101
In restaurant scheduling, staff names and time slots aren’t the only factors to consider. If it was that easy, whacking random names together would still be effective.
An effective restaurant schedule takes a cohesive team. As a result, putting together a schedule that is both effective and convenient for your employees requires serious planning and consideration.
Here are the basic steps you can follow to create a fair and productive schedule for your team.
Organize a correct number of employee
To ensure that you have an adequate number of an employee on the floor during a shift, you can use your POS system for help. Your POS can produce reports that show the slowest and busiest shift and season of your restaurant.
If there are busy times, schedule more staff, and if there are slow times, schedule fewer team members. This arrangement not only makes tip distribution more equitable but also ensures there are sufficient employees to manage the workload.
You might think it is reasonable to offer a higher hourly rate during slower times – times when tips are less plentiful, there is a good chance your staff is less stressed during your slower shifts. Therefore, it makes sense for them to earn more money by servicing more customers.
Meanwhile, when downtime is available, it can be used to clean up or perform other important tasks. In reality, simple chores such as mopping the floor don’t require three people. If you have too many idle employees, it’ll hurt your labor cost, and at the same time tips will not be divided fairly.
Differentiate each employee’s shifts
The early morning hours of the day are likely to be the busiest for coffee shops, as customers swing by to pick up breakfast or coffee before starting their day. As people wind down with a beer after a long day, the evening is likely to be your busiest time as a bar owner.
The busy and slow periods of your business will usually alternate. By varying schedules, you can ensure that your employees receive fair tips.
To deal with this difference in shifts, it is best to equally distribute employees. This way, recruits, and senior employees will have an equal opportunity to gain insight into different working hours.
As a result, every employee will receive extensive training and experience related to the responsibilities that come with every shift time. This will allow employees to assume more responsibility as necessary and allow the workplace to be more adaptable.
Prepare staff for on-call
The staff on-call approach is not ideal, but it ensures you will have help if unexpected work occurs. In addition, never hesitate to send employees home if shifts go slowly.
In restaurant and bar staffing, whenever possible, be up-front with your staff about being able to stay flexible for a few hours on a Saturday. It’s not good to ask someone to set aside their personal life to accommodate last-minute requests. Additionally, you can ask your managers to take the helm if things get hectic since they receive a higher salary.
Ensure that your employees are given adequate rest
Staff members must have a break from work to prevent burnout. It’s ideal to hire enough employees so that everyone can take two consecutive days off every week.
In addition, make sure you only contact the same staff to do the opening and closing shift if there is an emergency. Before returning to work, you want your staff to be well-rested.
Everyone in your company likely needs to schedule their time differently. When a new employee is hired, it is ideal to find out their specific schedule.
Thus, you can ensure you have enough staff based on their availability. Still, schedules are likely to change due to life’s unpredictable events. Be mindful and keep an open mind when making a fair schedule, and check the availability of your employees.
Employ multiple managers
It seems counterintuitive that paying two managers can be beneficial to your business, but having a manager on hand can go a long way to improving customer service. It’s a well-known fact that the only way for your business to flourish is to ensure that your customers enjoy their dining experience.
Hire two co-managers to help relieve your manager of some of the pressure. Having a manager on duty at all times allows the other one to deal with any issues that may take their attention away from their regular duties.
Staff Scheduling – Do’s and Don’ts
Balance is the key to staff scheduling. Insufficient workers on the schedule? This will negatively affect service and quality. Set up too many employees, however, and your budget will be depleted.
Having the right number of employees on board at the right time is the secret to optimal business performance. Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow to create a good foundation for staff scheduling.
Do: Establish open communication to your staff
As an owner, it is your responsibility to create a healthy working culture and environment for your employees. Your staff should feel that they can talk and reach out to you professionally at any given time. You have to be the one to oversee all changes.
Restaurant work is appealing to many people on account of the flexibility it offers. Employees should be allowed to request bar and restaurant scheduling. It doesn’t mean you have to comply with every request. It’s crucial to let them know you will always try to meet their requests, but it will be considered appropriate with the business.
You must let your team know that you’re open to reasonable compromise and requests. Just make sure to set ground rules to avoid confusion of authority.
Don’t: Skip on reviewing labor laws
Running a restaurant business will require you and your entire team to work irregular hours. Ensure that you’re still protecting your staff’s welfare and you’re complying with the labor laws under your location.
Labor laws about minors must also be accounted for in bar and restaurant scheduling. Each region has its laws, which regulate everything from minimum ages to tasks they are allowed to perform. The majority of regions forbid minors to perform dangerous tasks, like slicing or grinding meat or operating bakery equipment.
You must be knowledgeable about these laws to prevent miscommunication and conflicts in the future.
Do: Maintain a varying shift schedule
Now that you know how important varying schedules are, ensure that the entire team is on board and can stick with it. Getting into a weekly rhythm is also an important strategy for smart scheduling. Give employees a deadline by which requests can be made.
Say it’s Thursday, 7 PM. You will have Friday to arrange the schedule, and it should be posted at the same time every week. Trying to publish a schedule every two or three weeks is more ideal as it increases the efficiency and productivity of staff.
It is important to consistently create and publish schedules so your team can become accustomed to them. As a result, your staff can work more efficiently, and they can plan if they need to make changes. If you need to make a change, inform your team.
Don’t: Overstaff a shift
One more secret of restaurant and bar staff scheduling is the fact that you want at least some of your best employees to be at work at peak periods.
Nevertheless, you should resist the urge to schedule your best staff for the same peak shift and days. You’ll have a hard time expecting your new hires to manage other shifts as seamlessly as you expected because they’ll need more monitoring.
In the case of tipped employees, they especially want to work busy shifts so that they can earn tips. Staff may end up quitting if you display favoritism constantly in your bar and restaurant scheduling.
Additionally, pairing up a few newer staff members with a few best-performing employees can be a great way to build teamwork. Having new employees work alongside the top pros will help them learn and grow.
Do: Utilize staffing solution and scheduling tools
Many apps feature communication capabilities for bars and restaurants. On this app, your staff can request their preferred shift schedules, vacation, and even alert you if they can’t come in on their shift.
Of course, you don’t have to comply with every request that your employees make. But showing them that you tried to work around the schedule according to their convenience is a great way to boost their morale.
You won’t have to deal with employee messages regarding the schedule of restaurants and bars anymore.
When all of these factors are considered together, a more knowledgeable and engaged workforce will be more productive. You will also be able to keep your productivity high because you will be automating what would normally be a time-consuming process.
Don’t: Just toss staff into a shift
Prioritizing is a necessary skill. Prioritize your busiest shifts first before moving onto other shifts, just like when you create your staff schedule. POS systems can help you determine your busiest periods.
It is important to have a balanced distribution of staff. Team members must have experience working during peak tipping seasons and on day shifts. An employee will gain skills and knowledge by experiencing different types of shifts and operational activities.
Having a strong opening team ensures that your next shift will be delivering outstanding customer service. This often leads to boosted revenue. Please let your team know that everyone will work a day shift at the meeting. It would be helpful if you explained why it is happening so your team won’t feel like they’re being dragged to a punishment.
The step also provides you with a better insight into your operations, so you can appropriately distribute your top performers.
Do: Constantly review your staff schedule
Consider the case where you’ve created a schedule that fits perfectly for the first two weeks of the month. It is important to remember that different factors such as the season, events, and even demands can affect the need and availability of staff.
You must bring your team into the conversation and ask them if the current schedule needs to be adjusted. For the schedule to work, teamwork is necessary. Tell them that their input is also important in this process.
It’s important to reassess your schedule every two to three months to make sure it’s optimal. Make sure you don’t fear making changes for better performance.
When it comes to your schedule, try asking your employees for suggestions. They may provide a different perspective. Then, implement the best input they have for improving the schedule creation, posting process, or whatever else needs it.
Don’t: Create a back-to-back schedule
Even though it may sometimes not be possible to avoid it, you must always avoid having people work consecutive shifts. You’ll need your employees to perform at their peak, and if they’re not at their best, they won’t perform well.
It is difficult enough to work the closing shift. And it can be a productivity killer to have the same opening team.
Having to work back-to-back shifts can be a downer on an employee’s morale. This can interfere with their ability to perform on either shift or both. Negative comments are also common, which can affect the whole team’s productivity.
Another advantage of avoiding back-to-back shifts is to ensure everyone is accountable for their work. The same person tends to overlook problems since he knows he’ll be the first one to address the issue the next day.
The staff working with the same shift as him may be negatively impacted by this because they may be less aggressive when it is their turn to close. The business also doesn’t benefit from things not being done during your closed hours.
Staff Scheduling – Rules and Considerations
Restaurant scheduling can sometimes appear to be a challenge. One other factor comes into play once you have laid out everything sufficiently and accurately. Among the things to keep in mind are the following.
As a first step, it is vital to verify everyone’s stated availability. As long as they do not formally update their availability form, the information they enter there is what they must work on every week.
Please clarify that they may not have the time they listed, or they could get called in. As for when they should be available, how they write it down and submit it is their most recent availability.
Mutual respect is at stake here. If they don’t agree to a shift, you will not schedule them for that shift. However, in return, they should be prepared to meet their commitments.
Clarify overtime rules
Employees who work over forty hours a week are entitled to overtime. While overtime rules may differ for every area you are in, the basics should be that for every hour they work over forty, they receive their regular salary plus fifty percent of what they earn per hour.
Keep employees under forty hours per week and equip your staff well with proper tools and technology to avoid overtime. Employees may also be encouraged to work overtime to earn a higher salary, though the additional time they spend at work may negatively impact their productivity.
Build a master scheduling template
You may want to keep separate staffing schedules for front-of-house and kitchen, depending on how many departments you have. Using the schedule, plot everyone’s availability.
You can take advantage of being able to just fill up your schedule now instead of trying to figure out how to do it. You now can also pinpoint any trouble spots that aren’t well covered.
It may be necessary to hire some new part-time employees to cover the gap. As a way to determine if your team members can be flexible with their schedule, you might need to discuss their availability with them.
This approach has the advantage of ensuring your team will be available no matter how short notice. Consequently, you can minimize the chaos that may arise at the last minute.
Scheduling your managers first is advisable because they will be dependable and least likely to cancel. Your senior team and top performers should then take over. They are less likely to throw you a curveball where the schedule has to be rearranged.
It may be a lot to take in at first, but don’t let this list overwhelm you. As we’ve been mentioning above, this process requires teamwork. As a restaurant owner, you must know how to lead and communicate with your team to ensure that you’ll be getting accurate information from them.
Building a healthy working environment and culture for the entire staff is crucial for every business, especially if you’re in the service industry. By making your employees accountable, you’ll stay on top of things, so if you incorporate scheduling software, you’ll become an expert scheduling expert before you know it.