How to Master Restaurant Staff Scheduling?

A snapshot of people standing in a restaurant, likely engaged in conversations regarding restaurant management and staff.
Ayseli İzmen
Ayseli İzmen
June 22, 2022

Restaurant staff scheduling can be a complicated task that requires an understanding of how each employee’s availability changes throughout the day and week. With so many variables, it can be difficult to find the perfect schedule that balances work and personal obligations.

There are a lot of tools out there to help with restaurant staff scheduling, and they all have their own strengths. Some focus on shift schedule patterns, some on communication between employees, and others on making sure you don't over- or under-staff. There are also tools for restaurants that want to streamline their scheduling process for employees and managers alike.

Through this content, we aim to help you explore some of the most common problems that restaurant owners face when trying to do efficient scheduling of staff. We will also discuss some practical solutions to these problems.

Why is Restaurant Staff Management Essential?

Working in an industry with the highest staff turnover, we need to ensure that the restaurant staff is highly skilled and qualified to create a pleasant customer experience. This is why restaurant staff management is important.

A restaurant manager has to be able to manage all staff, make sure that they are trained, and ensure that they are happy in their jobs. Staff scheduling is a key element of keeping the staff happy by introducing the right balance. Having said that, the right balance in itself is a complicated matter, and it’s not always possible to make everyone happy. Our job is to try our best and let the team know this is the case.

Let’s look deeper into how we can be prepared for common and possible problems before they arise.

The Proactive Approach

Identifying possible problems that may arise beforehand is a great way to establish a positive vibe in your restaurant both for your employees and your customers. Setting the energy and motivation high and positive will empower your team to keep up to that level of greatness.

Let’s explain more in detail what we mean by bite-sized titles so that you don’t have to waste time in trial and error.

· Busy Times: Knowing that one of the most time-consuming and complex issues that restaurant owners face is the need to schedule staff during peak hours, finding a fair solution without overworking your staff is the way to go.

Ask your manager to schedule a staff meeting to hear about their thoughts and wishes. Some employees might be living a single life, happy to take busy shifts that may result in higher tip earnings. Other, more mature and experienced staff may want the opposite to spend more time with family.

The same goes for public holidays where hourly pay is legally higher than ordinary days. Your job is to distribute your team’s income in a fair way while taking their personal and family time into account.

· Communication: Getting your manager to give the staff a chance to speak about what they want is extremely important. Communicate clearly with your team to avoid any misunderstandings about who gets what shift and why.

· Transparency: People talk, and members of your team will always find out about more than their own shift in the weekly schedule. If you are still working with staff scheduling templates and are on printed material, take a printout of the whole team’s staff schedule and pin it on a board for everyone to see. This way, you can avoid complaints about a certain employee always getting the best shifts because of his/her close stand to the management. If you’re using an app or software, make sure everyone has equal access to the staff schedule dashboard.

Tools That’ll Help with Restaurant Staff Scheduling

The truth is that no matter what we do as restaurant owners and managers, scheduling restaurant staff will remain one of the most complex and time-consuming issues. Restaurant employee scheduling is difficult enough as a math equation, but when the human factor, as well as the availability and preferences of your employees, step in, go figure…

Luckily for us, we live in the high-tech era, and this problem can also be solved by using a shift scheduling software like FineDine, which helps in managing the workload and assigning shifts to employees who are available at that time. It also allows employees to plan their work schedule in advance and get notified when it’s their turn to work.

Evaluate Your Employees With Real-Time Feedback

Another distinct advantage of using a smart tool like FineDine, other than that it saves you years of time, is that you can use it for more than just scheduling. You can make better sense and use of your data if you get the stats about customer reviews to look into which employees were on duty when the most successful reviews were left (and vice versa).

This is indeed a smart way to place the right team members on the right shifts for the overall success of your business. It is also a practical way to keep this sort of data in your records to later use them for staff evaluation, and KPIs. Evaluating your team members' efficiency and suitability based on direct customer feedback can be a priceless tool.

In light of all the above guidance, restaurant scheduling software may be quite beneficial in creating a perfect staff schedule for your business. To avoid human error, untangle staff scheduling, and centralize team communication, consider introducing a smart tool like FineDine to your restaurant business.