Handling your restaurant’s shift scheduling doesn’t have to be a headache. Follow our simple guide to easy shift planning to maximize productivity and deliver higher profits.
Shift Planning Doesn't Have to be Hard
Any manager who has done at least one round of shift scheduling for their employees knows how hard the task can be. There are many things to consider beyond keeping the restaurant properly staffed. It’s much harder than simply adding names to a list and hoping nothing goes wrong. Vacation requests, call-outs and no-shows, and figuring out which employees are available on which days can all add up to confusion and stress. Paper staffing sheets are cumbersome and at risk of damage or loss, and they can be hard to read if there has been a lot of last-minute changes. Shift scheduling is stressful and frustrating, but thanks to technology, it doesn’t have to be that way.
We’ve put together this quick and straightforward guide to efficient and fair shift scheduling to help small to medium-sized restaurants, and food service businesses maximize their shift planning with minimal time and effort. Take a few minutes to read our guide and see how quickly and painlessly you get through the next shift planning phase. With all your time saved, you can put your attention toward more critical tasks.
1. Watch and Take Notes - Before you can revamp your shift scheduling system, you should watch your employees on each shift and take notes. What is working well, what’s not so efficient, and which employees are the most confident? Having all your fast and skilled workers on one shift will leave the other shifts struggling, which eats into your bottom line. Knowing this information will help you spread out your best employees over various shifts to better utilize their abilities. This is an excellent time to go over past shift schedules and compare them to productivity logs to see if it’s an ongoing trend or if something has changed. If you’re using productivity apps for your logging and shift planning, this task will go much faster, and you’ll have instant reports to check, saving a lot of time, and money.
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2. Talk to your Staff - Who better to tell you what’s working and what’s not than the people on the front line? Ask your staff members what they like, what they don’t like, and if they have any suggestions. This often-overlooked asset is integral to many aspects of running a smooth and profitable business, and they help when shift scheduling time comes around. Get employee input and take it to heart. Not only will you be able to handle shift scheduling more efficiently, but you’ll also make your employees feel like they honestly matter. Stop and listen, ask questions, and take action. If you have a central communication system already in place, great! Start using it to gather this information. If your system is paper-based, consider cutting time and costs by switching to a digital staffing and communication system. Zip Scheduling, for example, includes the ability for the instant, private, and secure communication between staff and management, including scheduling requests and immediate changes.
3. Shift Planning with a Digital App Gives you an Edge - While you certainly can manage shift planning using traditional methods—such as log books or paper sheets—it’s not the most efficient way. Changes are cumbersome and can be hard to get to employees, causing more issues down the line. With a digital scheduling app, changes are instantaneous, deployed immediately to the appropriate staff, and include communication channels to clear up any confusion between staff and management. Digital shift planning gives you an edge over your competition by allowing you to spend less time on shift planning and more time on promotions, budgeting, staff appreciation, and guest satisfaction. Less time worrying and stressing means more time to grow your business.
4. Keep Labor Laws at your Fingertips - It’s easy to overlook labor laws and employee scheduling regulations when you’re focused on employee scheduling and handling last-minute call-outs. Don’t fall into that trap! Breaking labor laws is a big mistake that will hurt your business more than by just money. Your reputation is on the line, too. This is another way the right digital shift planning app can help. In addition to saving time and money and making employees feel heard, a good shift scheduling app will also send preemptive labor rule alerts. Avoid expensive overtime and break penalties and stay within the laws, all with no extra effort from you. Managers can focus on staffing the right employees at the right times all without worrying about rule breaches.
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5. Don’t Let Employee Requests Pile Up - Paper shift scheduling requests get messy pretty quickly. If you’re bogged down under piles of paper vacation requests or shift change requests, it’s time to upgrade your system. Many employee requests are time-sensitive, and if you don’t handle them right away, you risk a call-out or no-show and a disgruntled employee who may decide not to come back at all. Avoid this hassle by introducing a digital shift scheduling request system. Along with the communication channels listed above, if employees can send a digital request, you can handle it on the spot with the tap of a finger. Approve the request, send it to the employee, and make a quick adjustment to your shift planning all in a few seconds. Avoid the request sheet pile up, show employees they matter and get your shift scheduling and adjustments done in a heartbeat by trusting your shift planning to the right digital employee scheduling software.
Making the change to digital shift scheduling should be easy
Making the switch to a digital employee scheduling solution should be simple, painless, and cost-effective. If you have to sign a long-term agreement for a piece of software you didn’t even get to try first, walk away. The best employee scheduling software believes in itself enough to give a generous free trial period and affordable monthly costs, all without trapping clients in a binding contract. Your new software should be simple to set up, easy to learn and be connected to the cloud for maximum efficiency.