As a small business owner, you likely wear many hats, as your attention is needed around the clock.
From time to time, you are required to be CEO, then the general manager, to HR officer, or accountant, along with the multitude of other titles. You are the sole decision-maker and the amount of time that you put into your business will determine its success.
With the numerous technological advances, it has now become easier for businesses to automate some of these activities. Utilizing scheduling apps to help map out your restaurant’s staffing needs from week-to-week is a great way to lighten your workload.
The scheduling apps are also great for setting one-on-one appointments with your employees to check in on how they are doing, or it can be used to hold weekly/monthly team meetings to discuss business overall, etc.
Due to the nature of the business and its ever-changing needs, a lot of valuable time gets taken away when creating employee schedules. In this article, we will discuss the numerous benefits that come with converting to automated scheduling practices.
Scheduling software utilizes technology to ease the process of employee scheduling in an array of industries, varying from retail, to construction, to medical, and of course hospitality/restaurant. The application can be used in a number of ways, including
- Reminders about appointments/meetings
- Payment processing
- Internal notes regarding employees and their attendance and shifts
- In-app instant messaging
- Data and calendar integration
Here are some of the common benefits of using a scheduling app for your restaurant business.
While carrying out your day-to-day tasks, optimal convenience is key. Remember, you are running a restaurant business that relies on employees to commit to excellence when it comes to providing customer service.
Due to the nature of the business, some employees may prosper in stressful situations when the restaurant is experiencing more traffic, in comparison to those who may falter.
When put in stressful situations, customer service becomes an issue, and your business becomes compromised.
With a scheduling app, such as Zip Schedules, you can defer to notes pertaining to each employee to determine which employees work best in certain environments. This ensures that you are not setting your employees up to fail, as well as ensure that your business will be in good hands.
Scheduling apps are typically optimized in such a way that it can be accessed on most smart devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and computers/laptops.
With a good app, employees can receive notifications pertaining to upcoming schedules or appointments.
Automatic shift notifications are a great tool, because this disallows employees from missing shits - or at least, rids of the common “I didn’t know I was scheduled” excuse.
As a restaurant owner/manager, you may have become accustomed to using a spreadsheet to carry out employee scheduling. If so, you’ve probably also experienced the hassle that comes with attempting to make needed adjustments to the schedule, while also trying to deploy the latest schedule to all of your employees.
Changing the schedule after some time can have a negative effect to the entire schedule. It will also take up large amounts of time, as you try to determine the most appropriate way of resolving these issues and getting everything back on track.
With scheduling software, you can digitally create as many schedules as you wish, meaning that if something goes awry, the other previously created schedule can be used in place of it.
In addition, if an employee notifies management that they cannot commit to a shift, the software will list all available employees who can cover that now available shift. It’s as simple as selecting a name to fill in that shift window, and the employee will instantly be notified that a change has been made.
When you have a great scheduling system, there is no need to spend your precious time and resources generating piles of paper schedules to physically hand out to each employee on your roster.
All scheduling activities can now be done digitally.
In the long run, this will save you in so many ways. It is also great for the environment, as large amounts of paper are not being wasted.
This could go unsaid, but most individuals would not take too kindly to being forced into working a shift that does not fit their availability.
In other words, if an employee, who is also a student, states that he/she can only work morning opening shifts and must be done by 1-00 PM to attend class, then it would be wise not to schedule that employee for afternoon shifts. In doing so, you are now making that employee choose between work and school, and you run the risk of that said employee choosing the latter and leaving you employee-less during that shift.
Employees scheduling software ensures that managers can only assign shifts during time slots that an employee has previously signed off on.
When following this agreement, employees will feel grateful, as well as appreciated, because it shows that management respects their time.
In addition, improving scheduling practices and providing employees with preferred working days and time-off requests will cut down on turnover. Therefore, you won’t have to spend more valuable time looking for replacements and having to undergo the training process again and again.
Effective communication is important for any business - in fact, it is important in life.
Most scheduling apps provide a general communication platform for employees to communicate with each other or with management to discuss scheduling.
As a manager, you can interact with employees through the platform to, for example, ask an employee to cover a shift last minute, because your lunch hour is busier than usual and you would like to provide more coverage to your customers.
The appointment scheduling software can also be used to send a notification to all of your employees about upcoming events and any news about the company, like holiday parties and team meetings.
The confidentiality of your employees’ personal information is immensely important.
Most of the appointment scheduling apps have emphasized on the issue of confidentiality as the best way of creating trust within the employer and the employees.
Scheduling software should utilize a closed messaging system to allow communication within the employer and the employee without sharing any confidential information.
All aspects of personal information should be protected, whether that’s use of a full name or phone number.
Your employees need to feel safe in their working environment, and safety starts with protecting your team; this includes personal information.
A scheduling error can occur when two employees are scheduled to work at the same time, but the intent was for only one employee to work that shift, because it doesn’t require multiple people to work that shift.
This is annoying for both management and your employees, as well as inconvenient for both parties, because this can be “resolved” in one of two ways.
One way is for management to decide which of those two employees must leave for the day after wasting their time by scheduling them incorrectly. This is awkward and makes you look disorganized and unprofessional.
The other option is to keep both employees on for that over-covered shift, wherein you lose money because you will not be bringing in as much revenue at that time to allow an extra person to work.
When using employee scheduling software to create your schedule, the app will forecast various shifts, based on time, days, and sales (traffic). So, if you run into the previously mentioned scenario, the app will notify that you may be overscheduling for that shift window.
There are a number of products available on the market that can supposedly “ease” your employee scheduling processes.
Some brands offer free features but often come with limitations, while others offer tiered options, making it difficult to invest in a single application.
To find an employee scheduling app that meets all your needs, you need to consider the following factors.
- Price - Some of the apps are free and they have trial periods. After the trial period, you will be required to pay for it. If a trial period is an option, it is highly recommended testing the waters before committing to a contract.
- User-Friendly - The software should be easy to use for all team members, especially employees
- Management of the Calendars - A strong scheduling app should allow the creation of multiple work schedules for both the current week and upcoming weeks.
- Integration - Your best option should absolutely possess capabilities to be integrated with other departmental functions, such as human resources. This will help with payroll and make it simple to obtain data about the employees conveniently.
- Business Needs - Each organization has its own needs that need to be addressed effectively. It is important to ensure that the application you choose should be capable to fulfill either your small bakery’s scheduling needs or your large chain of restaurants’.
- Accessibility and Security - The app should be accessed easily by all team members at any time, while also capable to defend against cyber attacks and protect employees’ personal information.
- Analytics and Reporting - The most worthwhile feature the best scheduling solution should possess advanced analytic and reporting functions. Not only will this help when it comes to scheduling, but it will also save your company tons in labor costs.