How to Make a Restaurant Staffing Schedule

How to Make a Restaurant Employee Schedule: 1. Understanding Staffing Needs 2. Legal Considerations 3. Communication 4. Technology and more.

Labor Optimization
How to Make a Restaurant Employee Schedule: 1. Understanding Staffing Needs 2. Legal Considerations 3. Communication 4. Technology and more.
Michael Jones

Creating an effective employee schedule is more than just a routine task for restaurant owners; it's a pivotal element that significantly impacts the overall success of their business. The art of efficient restaurant employee scheduling goes beyond mere staff allocation; it plays a crucial role in enhancing customer experience, bolstering employee satisfaction, and ultimately driving profitability. When customers are greeted and served promptly by staff who have had sufficient days off in a row to recharge, and when opening shifts are staffed by eager and well-rested employees, the restaurant thrives.

However, crafting this perfect work schedule is not without its challenges. One of the most daunting hurdles in the restaurant industry is managing high staff turnover rates, which have recently soared to an alarming 130.7%. This constant flux of employees presents a significant challenge in maintaining a stable and reliable workforce. Additionally, restaurant owners must navigate the delicate balance between meeting business needs and accommodating employee availability. This balance is critical to ensure operational efficiency while also respecting the diverse needs and constraints of the staff.

Therefore, understanding and mastering the intricacies of restaurant scheduling is not just an operational necessity but a strategic imperative that can lead to a thriving restaurant environment. Here are the 7 steps for you to make your own restaurant schedule template without time-consuming process.

How to make a restaurant staffing schedule?

Step 1: Understanding Your Staffing Needs

Assessing Staff Size and Types

Understanding the composition of your restaurant staff is crucial. Striking the right balance between full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers can significantly affect your restaurant's efficiency and atmosphere. Full-time employees often bring stability and consistency, vital for maintaining the quality of service. Part-time workers, on the other hand, offer flexibility, filling in the gaps during busy periods or covering for absentees. Seasonal workers are essential during peak seasons when the demand is high, and additional hands are needed. Each category plays a unique role, and their effective integration is key to smooth restaurant operations.

Peak and Off-Peak Hours

Identifying peak and off-peak hours is vital for efficient staffing. Utilizing sales data and customer footfall trends can help pinpoint these critical times. During peak hours, such as dinner time or weekends, ensuring adequate staffing is essential to handle the high volume of customers efficiently. Conversely, during off-peak hours, you can operate with a leaner team, reducing labor costs without compromising service quality. Regularly analyzing these patterns allows for dynamic scheduling, ensuring you're never understaffed during a rush or overstaffed during slow periods.

Balancing Staff Experience

A mix of experienced and newer staff on each shift can enhance overall performance. Experienced staff members bring knowledge and expertise, often acting as mentors to newer employees. They can handle complex situations and maintain high standards of service. Newer staff, while they may require more guidance, bring fresh perspectives and energy. They can learn quickly from seasoned employees, gradually taking on more responsibilities. This blend not only fosters a learning environment but also ensures a diverse set of skills and experiences are available at all times to meet various customer needs effectively.

How to make a restaurant employee schedule?

Step 2: Legal and Ethical Considerations

Labor Laws Overview

Navigating the maze of labor laws is a key responsibility for any restaurant owner. Federal and state regulations set standards for overtime, minimum hours, and mandatory breaks, ensuring fair treatment for employees. For instance, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs federal minimum wage and overtime pay. Under these laws, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their regular rate for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Additionally, many states have their regulations, some with higher minimum wage rates and more stringent break requirements than federal laws. It's essential for restaurant owners to stay informed and compliant with these laws to avoid legal pitfalls and ensure fair treatment of employees.

Ethical Scheduling Practices

Beyond legal compliance, ethical scheduling practices play a crucial role in maintaining a positive workplace environment. This involves ensuring fairness in shift assignments, providing predictable shift schedules, and respecting employees' work-life balance. Fair scheduling means distributing desirable and less desirable shifts equitably among all staff and considering individual preferences and constraints where possible. Predictable scheduling helps employees plan their lives outside of work, contributing to their overall well-being. Lastly, better work-life balance involves recognizing that employees have commitments and interests outside of work and accommodating these where feasible. By adhering to these ethical principles, restaurant owners can foster loyalty and dedication among their staff, ultimately leading to a more harmonious and productive workplace.

Restaurant communication for staffing schedule.

Step 3: Effective Communication with Your Team

Importance of Clear Communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful restaurant operation, especially when it comes to scheduling. Transparent communication about schedules and expectations not only reduces confusion and conflict but also builds trust and respect among the team. This includes clearly conveying the restaurant scheduling process, the criteria used for assigning shifts, and the expectations for each role. Additionally, keeping staff informed about any potential changes or upcoming busy periods helps them prepare and adjust their plans accordingly. Regular team meetings and an open-door policy for discussing scheduling concerns can further enhance this communication, ensuring that every team member feels heard and valued.

Gathering Employee Input

Involving employees in the restaurant staff management process can lead to a more inclusive and effective restaurant schedule. One method is to regularly collect availability and preference information from staff. This can be done through simple tools like surveys, scheduling apps, or even a shared calendar. Understanding employees' preferred working hours, time-off requests, and any other commitments they might have allows for the creation of schedules that accommodate their needs as much as possible. This practice not only aids in minimizing conflicts but also contributes to employee satisfaction and retention, as staff feel their personal lives are respected and valued.

Handling Schedule Changes

Efficiently managing schedule changes and emergencies is crucial in the dynamic environment of a restaurant. Having clear policies and procedures for handling such situations can significantly ease the process. This includes establishing protocols for shift swaps, last-minute time-off requests, and unexpected absences. Utilizing scheduling software can facilitate quick updates and communication of changes to the entire team. Moreover, fostering a culture of flexibility and teamwork helps; encouraging staff to cover for each other when possible can create a supportive atmosphere. Training managers to handle these situations with fairness and empathy is also vital, ensuring that changes are managed smoothly and without undue stress on the team.

2 restaurant managers are utilizing restaurant scheduling software to manage employee schedules.

Step 4: Utilizing Technology for Scheduling

Overview of Scheduling Software

Scheduling software in the restaurant industry is a critical tool that simplifies the complex task of managing employee shifts. These digital solutions replace traditional, manual methods like spreadsheets or pen-and-paper schedules. The primary function of this software is to organize work shifts, considering factors like employee availability, shift preferences, and business needs. Modern restaurant scheduling software offers features such as easy creation and editing of schedules, real-time updates, shift-swapping functionalities, and instant communication with employees. This not only saves time and reduces errors but also enhances overall staff satisfaction as employees have more control and visibility over their schedules.

Integrating Sales Forecasting Tools

To further optimize restaurant scheduling, integrating scheduling software with sales forecasting tools can be incredibly beneficial. Sales forecasting tools, like the example of 5-Out, use historical sales data and other relevant external variables, such as weather, traffic, and events to predict future customer traffic and sales trends. By having an insight into expected busy or slow periods, restaurant managers can tailor their staffing schedules more accurately. This integration helps ensure that the restaurant is adequately staffed to handle peak times without being overstaffed during quieter periods, thereby optimizing labor costs and enhancing customer service.

Example: 5-Out Sales Forecasting Tool

5-Out is an AI-driven forecasting tool designed to enhance the profitability of restaurants. It integrates with your existing restaurant management systems like POS, labor scheduling, and inventory, and uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate decision-making. The tool predicts sales trends up to 21 days in advance with high confidence, enabling optimized labor and purchasing. Features include real-time recommendations, lookback reports, easy setup, and real-time monitoring. This integration helps create dynamic staffing plans, improving operational efficiency and customer service.

5-Out staffing feature shows what staff your restaurant needs for this week based on sales forecasting.

In summary, while scheduling software serves as the backbone of staff management, integrating it with advanced tools like 5-Out for sales forecasting elevates its effectiveness, ensuring that restaurants can meet both their operational demands and their employees' needs efficiently.

Book a demo now and see the power of 5-Out in optimizing your staff scheduling aligned with forecasted business trends.
A restaurant employee schedule from 5-Out sales forecasting software.

Step 5: Creating a Balanced Restaurant Schedule

Balancing Business and Employee Needs

Creating a balanced schedule in a restaurant setting involves aligning business demands with staff availability in a way that meets operational needs while respecting employee preferences. A key strategy here is to understand the peak times for your restaurant and ensure that enough staff is scheduled to handle these busy periods. This requires a deep knowledge of your business's ebb and flow, which can be gathered from sales data and customer traffic patterns. On the other hand, it's equally important to consider the personal lives and availability of your employees. A good practice is to regularly collect availability and preference data from your staff, allowing you to create schedules that are as accommodating as possible. By balancing these two aspects, you can maintain a harmonious workplace while ensuring that the restaurant operates efficiently.

Avoiding Scheduling Conflicts

To prevent common scheduling conflicts, clear and consistent communication is essential. Implementing a system where employees can easily request time off or swap shifts can significantly reduce scheduling headaches. Additionally, using scheduling software can help to automatically flag potential conflicts. It’s important to set clear policies for shift swaps and time-off requests to ensure fairness and transparency. Regularly reviewing and adjusting these policies based on staff feedback can also help in minimizing conflicts. Encouraging open communication about scheduling preferences and constraints among the staff can foster a more cooperative and flexible team environment.

Ensuring Appropriate Coverage

Ensuring that your restaurant has appropriate coverage during peak times without overstaffing during slower periods is a delicate balancing act. This can be achieved by analyzing historical data to predict busy times and scheduling staff accordingly. It’s also beneficial to have a group of part-time or on-call staff who can be scheduled during these peak periods. Training your staff to handle multiple roles can also be effective, allowing for more flexibility in scheduling. For slower periods, it's important to schedule a minimal yet sufficient number of staff to handle the expected customer flow, thus optimizing labor costs. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your scheduling strategy based on actual business performance will help in maintaining the right balance over time.

A confident restaurant shift manager makes a perfect restaurant staffing schedule.

Step 6: Training and Support for Managers

Training Importance

The effectiveness of a restaurant's scheduling largely hinges on the skill and competence of its managers. Training in scheduling practices is not just about learning to use software or tools; it's about understanding the dynamics of a successful work environment. Managers need to be adept at balancing business needs with employee well-being, which requires a deep understanding of both operational demands and staff morale. Training should cover areas such as conflict resolution, effective communication, labor law compliance, and strategic planning. This education empowers managers to make informed decisions, adapt to varying situations, and maintain a productive, happy workforce. Ensuring managers are well-trained is an investment in the smooth operation and overall success of the restaurant.

Resources and Support

To support managers in their scheduling tasks, a variety of resources and systems are available. This includes access to advanced scheduling software, which can automate many aspects of the process and provide valuable insights through data analysis. Additionally, workshops and seminars on leadership and management can offer new perspectives and strategies for handling common challenges. Online resources, such as forums and webinars, can also be valuable for managers to share experiences and learn from their peers in the industry. Many restaurants also benefit from consulting with HR professionals or labor law experts to ensure compliance and best practices. By providing these resources and support systems, restaurant owners can equip their managers with the tools they need to excel in their roles.

A restaurant manager monitors and adjusts the restaurant employee schedules.

Step 7: Monitoring and Adjusting Schedules

Effectiveness Monitoring Techniques

To ensure that the scheduling system is functioning optimally, it's crucial to employ effective monitoring techniques. One reliable method is to assess the impact of scheduling on customer service. This can be done through customer feedback forms, online reviews, or direct observations. High customer satisfaction and smooth service often indicate a well-functioning schedule. Another important aspect is employee feedback. Regularly checking in with staff to gauge their satisfaction with the scheduling process can provide valuable insights. Are they feeling overworked or underutilized? Do they have suggestions for improvement? Engaging with employees in this way not only helps in fine-tuning the schedule but also boosts morale by showing that their opinions are valued.

Adjustments Based on Feedback

The dynamic nature of the restaurant business means that schedules should not be set in stone. It's essential to be responsive to feedback and willing to make adjustments. This could involve changing shift patterns to better align with peak business times, identified through customer and sales data. It may also mean accommodating staff requests for changes in their work hours. Being adaptable and responsive to both customer trends and employee needs can lead to a more efficient and harmonious work environment. Regularly reviewing and adjusting the restaurant schedule based on this feedback helps to maintain a balance between operational efficiency and employee well-being, ultimately contributing to the success of the restaurant.

In conclusion, creating effective restaurant employee schedules is a balance of aligning business demands with staff availability, utilizing technology like scheduling software and AI tools like 5-Out for sales forecasting, and ensuring open communication and adaptability. Training and supporting managers in these practices is crucial. Continuous improvement is key; staying responsive to feedback and trends ensures your scheduling remains efficient and effective, ultimately contributing to your restaurant's success. Keep evolving your strategies to maintain an optimal workforce and customer satisfaction.

Ready to transform your restaurant's scheduling? Click here to book a demo with 5-Out and streamline your staff planning effortlessly!

Get our weekly email

5-Out is on a mission to maximize the profitability of every restaurant, using machine learning, artificial intelligence and predictive analysis to automate smarter, better decisions.