Lynette Williamson
Blog, Operational Efficiency

Many restaurant owners struggle with restaurant scheduling, and it’s not hard to see why. With a large group of part-time employees, each with their own schedules and impediments, it’s complicated to find a way to get everyone working when you need them to be. There are software tools to help make sense of your scheduling, but it can be hard to decide where to begin. That’s why we’ve created this free spreadsheet to help get you started with your employee scheduling.

Download our Restaurant Schedule Template.

Even if you don’t have software to help with scheduling, you can use a spreadsheet like this one in conjunction with the other tools at your disposal to optimize your workforce. Here are some ways to design the perfect schedule using the tools and reports you already have.

Start with the basics

You don’t need scheduling software to tell you to make sure you have coverage during your busiest hours or to stagger breaks/lunches so your entire staff isn’t on break at the same time. These things should go without saying. But even so, it helps to refresh yourself on the basics of scheduling.

  1. Think ahead. Post your schedules early enough for your employees to absorb them—at least a week in advance.
  2. Establish a single point-of-contact for schedule variances. One of your team members needs a day off? They need to tell you directly, so there are no surprises when the schedule is posted.
  3. Schedule newer employees with more experienced ones. Your tools can help you identify the employees with the most wisdom to share.
  4. Set an example. Don’t take off every Friday and every holiday. If you expect your employees to work some extra shifts, hold yourself to the same standard.

Remember these tips so you have a strong foundation for building your schedules. And if you want to learn more, check out these Holiday Restaurant Scheduling Tips.

The right employees for the right shifts

Picture this. You have a star employee—one who can enter an order into the POS system faster than a customer can say it out loud, and who can have it prepped in a fraction of the time of your average worker. This person is so good you’ve been scheduling them during your weeknight closing shifts—which also happen to be your slowest shifts. Does something seem wrong here?

Delaget Reporting Tools can help you identify which day parts are busiest, when speed of service is slowing, or when customers are complaining the most. Then, you can use that information to staff your shifts most effectively. Have you been having backups during the dinner rush? Make sure your all-stars are scheduled during those shifts. Do you have an employee who isn’t the fastest at prep, but who’s extremely meticulous about cleanup and counting? Make sure that person works the closing shift. Use your reports to schedule around your employee’s strengths and you’ll become a master of employee scheduling in no time.

Learn from the past

While you can never know exactly what the future holds, you can learn a lot about what’s ahead by looking backward. Use your sales reports from the last 1-3 weeks and the previous 1-3 years to learn what to expect when scheduling.

Sales forecasting can give you information you might not expect. Sure, you probably know how to adjust your schedule for a major holiday. But did you remember there’s also a local event that’s taking place next week and there’s historically a lull for a few hours, followed by a big rush?

The biggest mistake you can make in scheduling is to create a static schedule that doesn’t change week-to-week or year-over-year. Sales forecasting software can grant unique insights into what to expect during an upcoming period—use that information to your advantage. Want to learn more? Here are some additional sales forecasting software tips and tricks.

There are plenty of ways to improve your schedules without using scheduling software, and you probably already have some of them at your disposal. Make sure you’re using your restaurant software tools and reports when you create your schedules so you can optimize your workforce.

Download our Restaurant Schedule Template.

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