Last Updated On January 13, 2020 / Written By Michelle Jaco

How to Turn Scheduling into a Strategic Advantage with a Schedule App

If you have been creating your employee schedules based solely on availability, then you could be hurting your business and your bottom line. Here is how to turn scheduling into a strategic advantage.

To achieve the best results and increase the productivity for your business, you need to start scheduling employees on the basis of their performance and ability to generate profits.

In order to turn the mundane task of scheduling into a strategic revenue-generating channel for your restaurant, you should start making scheduling decisions based on past data.

This data should reflect on the performances of your servers as compared to their coworkers, broken down by menu item, meal periods, and assigned sections.

3 Biggest Scheduling Mistakes

1. Scheduling Based on Availability
This is the easiest scheduling decision and that’s why owners and managers typically rely solely on employees’ availability when it comes to scheduling.
Yes, it is very easy to fill in names in the available shift spaces, disregard any previous mishaps with certain employees, and call it a day, but that method is not sustainable.

Relying on just one factor for scheduling will not do you or your business any good.

Of course, availability is an important component, but you need to treat scheduling as a strategy to maximize revenue, which is something we will later delve in to.


2. Scheduling Based on Personal Relationships
This practice is also very common in the restaurant industry. Management will sometimes give busier shifts on the basis of social hierarchies within the restaurant or on the basis of familial relationships.

While it is understandable in order to maintain strong relationships in the chaotic restaurant industry, scheduling on the basis of relationships is a wasted opportunity.

The best business decision when it comes to employee scheduling is to schedule your employees with the highest number of sales during such busy shifts. This decision has the most potential to make your bottom line grow.


3. Scheduling Based on Seniority
This is the unspoken rule in many restaurants. Good shifts and sections go to employees who have been employed the longest.

Yes, seasoned employees are rare and very valuable in this industry and it is important to show appreciation for their loyalty. However, this can be done in other ways without hurting your business and profits.

You can show your appreciation by offering benefits and bonuses or by offering mentorships and professional development programs.

Otherwise, you are ultimately hurting your revenue potential by not scheduling your top performers.

Data-Backed Scheduling Decisions is the Way to Go

Like we have said before, you should put your strongest sellers on the most crucial shifts but that will require some background data to determine if their performance qualifies them for those shifts.

You can start by analyzing each employee’s total shift sales. Conversely, you can use this data to determine you less than satisfactory employees and use this opportunity as a chance for more training. More training will help these individuals improve in the workplace and give them equal opportunity to prove that they deserve the better shifts.

A scheduling app is your best bet to get this done in an effective and timely manner because it generates useful reports based on past performances.

The following are the three areas you should always focus on to identify your top performers in a certain time period.

1. Total Sales Made by Each Staff Member
It’s likely that you know who your best-sellers are - but only in a subjective sense. You may base this on their qualities like customer satisfaction, productivity, friendly demeanor, etc.

However, basing your best sellers on these subjective qualities alone instead of also utilizing the available data is not smart for the business.

For example, you think that Joey is your best server because he normally produces high sales numbers per shift. He also only works weekends, which we all know are considered busy shifts.

Now, does he have good sales numbers because he is a great server, or because he only works busy shifts?

You need to analyze the data at length to be completely sure.

You can get a real comparison of performances by eliminating the anomalies in your data set. Remove the servers who only work weekends. Remove the servers who only work catering events. You need to look at the raw set of data to get a real and accurate comparison.

Additionally, you need to treat every shift independently.

Don’t combine slow and busy shifts when analyzing server performances. If you are analyzing lunch shifts, then look at your server's performances in lunch shifts to identify the best performers.

If Joey is still the top performer after analyzing the data with this method, then you can confidently determine that scheduling him is beneficial to the business.


2. Analyze Your Servers’ Item Sales
As a restaurant owner, you should know what dishes generate more revenue, because then you can analyze staff performance and their ability to sell such popular menu items.

So, if your most profitable item is wine, then you would want to schedule the staff members who sell more bottles during their shifts to maximize profits.

Generate a report on your traditional upselling items like desserts and appetizers. Analyze which servers frequently sell these items and which servers consistently upsell add-ons, like bacon with burgers.

If a server is underperforming on appetizer sales but is good interacting with customers, it’d be wiser to schedule that employee for lunch shifts when the appetizers are generally less common and traffic is still high.

All in all, you need to make scheduling decisions backed by data.


3. Analyze Tips Earned and Tip Potential
Employees will often associate higher tips with sections more than service. That is to say, if the section is good, tips will be good.

Although there may be some truth to this belief, it is important to prove to your employees that higher tips are not a result solely on sections but customer service, as well.

With a scheduling app, reports may be generated so you can view each employee’s best tip potential and their missed opportunities, which will work as a motivator to improve their performance.

This will also help you and your business to make smart scheduling decisions by pinpointing your high-earners and scheduling them during the rush hours to generate maximum revenue.

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