Efficiently scheduling your restaurant staff is not a simple task, and is often the most expensive part of owning a restaurant. Proactive scheduling involves more than simply writing out your employees’ weekly schedules with pen and paper. There should be a great deal of thought and planning from managers, taking into consideration employee availability, business sales projections and meeting your labor percentage goal. Finding a balance between these three factors is key to creating successful staff schedules.
Communication – Regular communication between managers and employees is crucial. Staff members should be able to make their availability known to avoid scheduling conflicts and maintain constant communication with managers. Schedules should start on Sundays, meaning schedules for the following week should be posted no later than Friday of the previous week. The schedule should be easily accessible by employees, whether it be electronically or printed copies. It may also be to your benefit to include employee contact information on each new schedule to make shift changes and trades hassle free amongst employees.
Sales Projection -More important than noting employee availability, is projecting sales based on historical sales trends. You want to be able to track what items sold the most and what times were the busiest. Also, if you have an event coming up or are expecting bad weather, you want to be able to make the required schedule changes. When managers have access to this type of information, they can accurately gauge the necessary labor percentage while creating schedules accordingly.
Managing labor percentage – Keeping labor costs between 20% – 30% is ideal for most restaurants. Using a labor scheduling system can help you identify which employees might be close to overtime or which employees are clocking in early or clocking out late. While these issues may seem small, they can drastically affect your labor percentage if not addressed.
A lot goes into making sure you are creating schedules efficiently and successfully, but in the end it will save your restaurant money. When you have regular communication, you will create a positive work environment which can also help in retention. You wouldn’t want to skip a main ingredient when baking your favorite cookies, and you don’t want to skip the main components when creating schedules.