Labor is an expensive aspect of running a restaurant and restaurant staff scheduling has an immense impact on whether or not your operation runs efficiently. How much time are you spending on scheduling? How do you intelligently streamline scheduling and employee communication? How do you manage last-minute phone calls and shift swaps?
Let’s start with technology. Sure, pen and paper works, but why not embrace new tools that are specifically made for restaurant scheduling? There are many scheduling apps on the market that allow you to easily drag-and-drop shifts onto your calendar (and make changes) and share with employees. Some even have additional features like tracking labor hours and dollars, forecasting sales, time clock, POS integrations and more. We are a fan of Hot Schedules, a tool to help manage all aspects of restaurant scheduling needs. It integrates with nearly all POS systems and is very user-friendly, simplifying the many challenges managers face while scheduling staff.
But scheduling smart doesn’t merely mean the random filling in of time slots on a calendar and calling it a day. You need to assess your staff – your best or senior workers will shine during busy times. At the same time, you still want to allow newer employees to have their share of the peak times as well. Make sure to rotate appropriately.
Always make sure there are open lines of communication. Ensure there are simple ways employees can voice their requests and that they have up-to-date information readily available to them as well. Keeping your staff in the loop will help avoid confusion, conflict and promote smoother operations.
Further, effective labors scheduling needs to be done in conjunction with labor budgets and guidelines. If the goal is to run labor at 20% of forecasted sales, then that tells you how much you have to spend on total labor. There is a broad range of ways to forecast sales — we like looking back at the previous five consecutive weeks, averaging them together to get to average weekly sales. There is a good chance the projected, forecasted sales will be within 3-5% of the average assuming there are no major holidays, sporting events or unpleasant weather expected.
Finally, if you are trying to micromanage labor and scheduling, refer to the five-week previous history and look at sales by the hour. You can use this as a good guideline to understand the sales volume throughout the day. This information may allow you to better schedule servers and perhaps stagger the incoming staff, as needed.
If you need more help with managing scheduling and labor, please contact Synergy.Restaurant human capital, Restaurant Management