It's quite likely that millenials make up most of your staff, given that they're set to be the largest generation in America.
Infamous for darting from one screen to another, you can be forgiven for struggling to get their attention when you need it.
Thankfully though, there's no secret code in communicating with the digital generation you just have to give them what they need to know in the following fashion
Mobile and freely available
It probably doesn't surprise you that more than half of millennials are almost always, or always online. So it also shouldn't be a surprise that checking a notice board on the wall, or checking their emails for spreadsheet schedules is not at the top of their priorities.
So by using a free restaurant scheduling app, let's have a look at how we can meet all of their informational needs.
Instant Scheduling Information
Let's say you normally print out an Excel sheet schedule and put it on the break room wall. You might even be adventurous and send a bulk email out to your staff. There is just no guarantee when that schedule will be read by your staff, or if they'll even read it in the first place.
What if the schedule is on the wall, and they didn't have a shift that week, so they didn't see the schedule at all? And being a busy restaurateur, you can appreciate how easy it is to miss an email every now and then. It's also a very convenient excuse for your staff to say they never got the email.
There are just too many downsides and variables that make it clear the old way of doing things isn't good enough.
But when you make the shift to a staff scheduling app, all of those doubts disappear. When you create a staff schedule, your staff will receive it instantly. It really can't be overstated how important that factor is when it comes to communicating with your staff.
There are no emails to open, no walls to check, and not even a login to worry about. Just an instant scheduling notification on their mobile device. All of the information -- immediately.
It's that sort of communication model that gets people's attention in the digital age, so it makes sense to use a free scheduling app that can handle that sort of thing.
Mobile and Freely Available Scheduling Information
We can safely assume that your restaurant staff is not standing by their desktop computers eagerly waiting for their schedules to be delivered by electronic mail.
Like anyone, they're out living their lives, albeit with their mobile phone at their side. 70% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices, which is a pretty good indication that communicating through mobile is the best way to reach your restaurant staff.
It's not just about being able to reach them wherever or whenever, either. It allows your staff to check your restaurant's schedule when and where they want to.
That sort of freedom is crucial for not just millennials but every American it gives your staff a sense of empowerment that they can check in on their own terms, helping with work life balance.
Scenario - How This Will Help You
Let's say you get a phone call from one of your less than reliable staff members, and their grandparent has sadly passed away for the "third time."
With a traditional restaurant staff scheduling system, you'd take a frustrated sip of your coffee and start dialing around your other staff to see if anyone (anyone!) can cover the shift.
The process will take quite some time to complete, and that's assuming your employee even answer the phone when you call. You may as well send out some homing pigeons to get the message out there.
With a modern restaurant scheduling app, you only need to click a few buttons, and the SOS call is sent out to all of your staff, immediately. You can even see who has read the messages so you know who to follow up with.
Less hassle for you, instant restaurant schedule app updates for your staff.
Reason 2 - No Mind-Reading Required
In a busy restaurant with shift staff coming and going, there is bound to be a lot of miscommunication going on. Whether it's a wrong dish being served, or a steak being cooked rare instead of medium-rare, it happens everyday.
And it's no different when it comes to your restaurant's staff scheduling system.
I can't remember what the schedule said. Did it say I start at 5 or 7?
Who is closing tonight?
How many hours did I do last week?
Let's have a look at how a free restaurant scheduling app can fix all of that.
Full Transparency in Staff Scheduling
A staff scheduling app removes all doubt; everyone can see all of the information, any time they like. Everyone can see what they're doing, as well as what other people are doing, with no room for misinterpretation.
There are no revised versions to mix up, no updates to be lost, or email chains to fall into the trash folder.
Every single one of your restaurant staff members will be on the same page, as a team.
Allows Employees to Self Schedule
Because everyone has a live version of the restaurant staff schedule app at all times, they can communicate with each other using the same, real-time information.
If a staff member can't make a shift, you can allow them to organize a replacement themselves. Employees can enjoy a sense of autonomy, knowing that they have more control over when they work.
Oh, and it's also a huge weight off your shoulders as a restaurant owner/manager, leaving you to focus on running a great restaurant. That's a win-win in anyone's book.
Scenario - How This Will Help You
Your third best dishwasher has requested they take next weekend off as they've decided to go to a music festival in the desert to go and "find themselves."
Ordinarily, you would tell them they can go ahead and find themselves in the kitchen next weekend. You don't have time to be running around looking for someone to replace them.
But with your free restaurant scheduling application, you can embrace their journey of self discovery, and tell them they are welcome to take leave if they arrange a replacement for their shift.
Your dishwasher beams an appreciative smile, and goes away and organizes their own replacement through the scheduling app.
You go back to your work, knowing that you'll get a notification the moment your dishwasher arranges their replacement.
One less headache for you, and your employee has been given a sense of autonomy in their work.
Reason 3 - Improves Morale
You've been in your kitchen, you know what grumpy staff look like. And it's not like they're tense and unhappy for no reason. A restaurant is a darned stressful place to work.
And it might sound silly, but that stress goes into both your food and your service.
Let's see how a free scheduling app can improve staff spirit.
It's Not an Excel Sheet
We're going to guess that staring at an Excel spreadsheet schedule is not the best part of your job. So why would it be any different for your staff?
A schedule that is bland and hard to read just reinforces any negative feelings they may have about having to work that weekend.
A staff scheduling app is bright, colorful, and easy to read. Everything is color coded, personalized and dare we say it, darn right cheerful compared to an Excel sheet.
It sounds like a trivial thing, but we've heard from many clients about how much difference this small change makes.
We only have to recap the benefits we've talked about to see how a free scheduling app would make your staff happy-
Speaking with them instead of to them
They can access the schedule when and where they want
A sense of autonomy and collaboration in their work
Removal of confusion, leading to clarity in your expectations of them
A less stressful experience for all involved
Scenario - How This Will Help You
Everyone is most likely afraid of your Head Chef. We bet you can picture that Head Chef right now. He is good at his job, but has extremely high expectations of the kitchen staff. This leads to tension, and sometimes, a lack of communication.
One of your wait staff notices a dish has been cooked differently than requested but because they are afraid of the blowback from the kitchen, they say nothing.
That customer gets something they did not order. At best, that customer is unhappy and complains, adding even more delays in the kitchen.
At worst, the customer says nothing in the restaurant, but leaves a bad review online and tells all their friends not to dine with you.
Perhaps your Head Chef was particularly upset that night because there was confusion with the staff schedule, and he didn't think he was working that night.
With a scheduling app, he might have been just a bit calmer that night, and all of your customers would have stayed happy and content.
Of course that's taking a scenario to the nth degree, but if you're looking to reduce staff stress about scheduling shifts, a free scheduling app could make a world of difference.
The benefits of a free scheduling app for a restaurant owner/manager have been discussed before, but the variables as to how a business can benefit from such applications is not always clear or obvious.
But we've now been able to demonstrate the advantages for your biggest investment your staff. Happier, more engaged staff members mean happier customers, and ultimately, a healthier business.
If you're curious to see how you could personally benefit from upgrading your current staff scheduling system, please reach out to us with any questions you might have.
Staff scheduling is our business; if you have a sticky staffing problem, we're sure to have seen it before, and will be able to help you find a solution.
You'd be surprised how quickly you can be up-and-running, so take the step forward today to reap the rewards!