Last Updated On June 20, 2019 / Written By John Adebimitan

Managing the No Call, No Show, How to Handle It Like a Pro

Unfortunately, no call, no shows are common in the hospitality and foodservice industries, and how you handle them often affects your business. This article shares industry insider tips designed to help you handle no call, no shows like a pro.

Say, for example, you open for business on a beautiful day, and like most employers, you were among the first to be at the restaurant. You watched as staff members come in, go straight to their job, and start preparing the place for customers; however, your chef is nowhere to be found. He hasn’t called you, nor were you notified that he was going to be late. Business starts, the first set of customers come in, and you have to run around to ensure that customers are given needed attention. Your chef doesn’t show up, he doesn’t call you, and he didn’t give any indication that he will not be present. You have what we call a no call, no show on your hands.

In short, an employee who doesn’t show up at work at the scheduled time without giving a notice in advance is a no call, no show. So basically, they don’t call to inform you, and they didn’t show up.

If you have been running a restaurant for some time, you've likely experienced a no call, no show at least once. The industry is demanding and comes with unpredictable hours since few restaurants close early. As one of the most labor-intensive industries, workers in the hospitality industry have few things they love about their jobs and the industry, so they won’t see anything wrong with taking time off to concentrate on other activities.

As common as this is in this industry, we are quick to point out that it’s wrong and unprofessional of an employee to ghost you. That’s why we have encouraged employers to take appropriate action when an employee does this even once.

A simple call few hours to your shift often saves managers a lot of stress.

We have been there. We have had no call, no shows when we were short on staff, and finding it hard to get someone to cover a shift. We have also dealt with the consequences, taking disciplinary action on employees to send a message to all staff member that this behavior isn't acceptable.

In this article, we’ll be sharing everything we know to help you deal with no call, no shows in an appropriate manner.

Is the No Call, No Show Habitual Behavior for the Employee?

The best time to handle a no call, no show is the first time it happens. While we rarely ever dish out serious disciplinary actions, we try as much as possible to communicate why it’s not right, how that affects the team, and get to know why they did it and see how we can help.

If the no call, no show was caused by stress or an issue at home, being willing to discuss and help them deal with it will result in a loyal employee.

Did You Clearly Communicate the Employee Work Schedule in Advance?

A no call, no show could be caused by management without even them knowing, so communicate schedules and shifts clearly and early.

It is also not legal to change your employee’s work schedule without giving a minimum of 14 days’ notice under the predictive scheduling laws. In San Francisco, for example, you could be hit with up to four hours of pay penalty if your restaurant management doesn’t give a minimum of 7 days’ notice when making changes to an employee’s work schedule.

So invest in quality scheduling tools that employees can easily access and know when they would be on duty. We found that this reduces no call, no shows drastically.

Did You Deny a Recent Employee Time-Off Request?

Restaurants rarely ever have off days; in fact, more sales come over the weekend and on holidays. Interestingly, but perhaps not coincidentally, the weekends are the two days with the most no-shows.

Your restaurant management surely has good reasons to deny an employee a day or two off, and therefore taking that day off, even after explicitly communicating the denial to the employee should not be taken lightly.

Many restaurants have more than one employee requesting time-off on the same day and, therefore, might consider granting some requests while denying others. If those whose request was denied then miss work, it puts even more strain on the already burdened team, so, appropriate action should be taken. You don't want to have a toxic mindset around, especially when building a workplace with a supportive culture.

A person who puts himself before the team shows he is only interested in pleasing himself at the expense of other employees. Take disciplinary action, and don’t take employment termination off the table too quickly.

What to Do When a Staff Member No Call, No Shows for Work

If, after looking at the first three points mentioned in this article and the details of the no, call no show, you conclude the staff member pulled the no call, no show deliberately, you should address it, even if it’s the first time.

1. In the first point in the article, we mentioned it’s a good idea to have a discussion with the missing staff member about why they missed work without informing you; what employees have to say in this kind of situation often reveals a lot. Do they have issues at home that made it impossible to call in? Is it that they don’t respect the manager, or do they feel nothing is wrong with pulling a no call, no show?

2. It's also important to state and relay the consequences of a no call, no show or other related offenses to employees. Doing so might mean taking action when an employee comes to the restaurant late. You know your restaurant better, so you might want to customize your own rules for your team.

3. You should also help the employee improve as this could be a way of helping the employee get back into your good books. You could request that they clock-in 15 minutes early for a certain number of days and help them further improve their skills.

4. Reward the good performers. You should create an effective employee incentive program that helps to motivate employees when they are performing well. Doing so is one of the best ways to get employees to give you more of their good behaviors.

The hospitality industry is one of the most demanding, so while it’s true that workers burn out, managing them well results in happy, productive workplaces that maintain a consistent level of quality all year round.

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