5 Step Guide on How to Make a Schedule for Your Staff

5 Steps on How to Make a Schedule

A restaurant manager's most daunting task may be to create an employee work schedule. The bigger the restaurant, the more complicated it becomes. He/she will have to factor in employee availability, the need for free time, customer demand, and shift requirements. If a restaurant uses manual processes, scheduling can take up to 2 or more hours per week. This requires good time management skills and a meticulous approach to mitigate errors.

But what if there is a simpler way to create the weekly schedule? Thankfully, advancements in technology have brought about several tools that optimize scheduling. Those who continue to use manual processes can also use a set of best practices to ensure compliance and save time. Read ahead for top tips on how to make a schedule.

1. How to Make a Schedule Plan Ahead

Managers should use time wisely to optimize scheduling. If the next day is the day to share schedules, management has already waited too long to start. When employees have their daily schedule in advance, they are less likely to request last-minute shift swaps or time-off.

First, management should determine the types of skills the restaurant needs for each shift. For example, how many cooks, servers, hosts, bussers, and bartenders should be on hand for Tuesday's afternoon shift? The answers will depend on customer demand, historical sales/scheduling data, and employee skill sets. Management should create a master schedule to identify what skills are required to carry out each role for every hour of operations.

2. How to Make a Schedule Invest in Scheduling Software

Scheduling is not only time-consuming, it's ripe for error and last-minute changes. With an automated schedule template, managers have more time to schedule daily events and manage employees. With a few simple clicks, staff can communicate in one place through a mobile app, request time-off, swap shifts, and ask for approvals.

Managers can customize templates to ensure all scheduling processes get done on time. They can then set up the system to automatically send out each weekly schedule on a specific day. Scheduling software also ensures compliance with FLSA regulations, which helps avoid fines, litigation, and a damaged reputation.

3. How to Make a Schedule - Be Flexible

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Before managers assign employees to shifts, they must remember that they are just people. Employees have personal obligations, different energy levels depending on the shift, and families. While it's necessary to enforce accountability, managers should make sure to remain flexible.

There are times to deviate from an original schedule in order to accommodate a dedicated employee who doesn't take much time off. This will help to improve employee morale, decrease turnover, and optimize relationships between managers and restaurant staff.

4. How to Make a Schedule Create Schedule That Works for Everyone

Every day, managers have dozens of tasks to finish. With everything going on, it's easy to forget employee needs when it comes time to create daily schedule templates. While it's critical to meet customer demand, employers should also create a schedule that is employee-centric. When employee engagement is high, workers are more likely to show up on time and complete their shift. To ensure the best outcome, managers should use the following best practices -

  • Be Honest - Tell employees what shifts are required and what scheduling policies there are during the interview process. This will minimize future bottlenecks and maximize accountability.
  • Be Fair - Don't favor some employees' scheduling preferences over other employees. This will cause tension between coworkers and management. It will also decrease morale.
  • Create Learning Opportunities - Everyone needs to cover different shifts, learn new areas of the restaurant, and grow in their careers. This will make it easier to schedule team members.
  • Don't Make Assumptions - Employees may not know best scheduling practices. If they make mistakes, use those as learning opportunities to prevent future problems.

5. How to Make a Schedule Implement and Maintain

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Now it's time for management to assign shifts. Scheduling software and other tools will help create schedule templates and ensure all shifts are covered. Management will also remove some of their workloads with time tracking software, self-service shift swapping, and more. The better policy and procedural training is, the greater autonomy employees can have over their work schedules.

Managers should pick the best method to share or post the schedule each week. Everyone should know exactly what day and location to find their work schedule. Many software solutions enable quick communication through a messaging system. This will minimize back-and-forths on text messages or in-person. It will also reduce any errors.

Last-minute changes are a part of the job. This is particularly true during peak times of the year, such as the holidays. Managers need to be patient and flexible enough to implement and maintain scheduling processes. The goal is to harness human capital and optimize workforce management to meet customer demand.

Key Takeaways of How to Make a Schedule

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In conclusion, here are best practices on how to make a schedule -

  • Restaurant managers should prepare and plan before creating a work schedule. This requires one to know the roles required per shift and what employee skill sets help meet customer demand.
  • Managers should utilize scheduling software to save time, money, and remain flexible. This will help to streamline scheduling and meet consumer demand, which will increase sales and improve employee morale.
  • Managers should remember to stay flexible when it comes to scheduling. Employees are every day people with personal obligations and last-minute requests. This will help to improve morale.
  • Managers should be honest, be fair, create learning opportunities, and refrain from making assumptions to optimize scheduling. They can then implement and maintain the schedule by ensuring workers abide by scheduling policies and procedures.