How to Make an Employee Work Schedule

How to Make an Employee Work Schedule

One of the most important responsibilities that restaurant managers have is employee scheduling. To create a good work schedule, managers must understand the needs of each employee shift and utilize good problem-solving skills. They also need to comply with state and federal FLSA regulations and prioritize good customer service and sales. This will ensure work schedules align with customer needs, employee availability, and labor cost budgets.

There are numerous tools available to help create the weekly schedule. Many restaurants now use automated scheduling software to save time and eliminate errors. Smaller diners may use Microsoft Word, Excel, or an online schedule template. Of course, there are still some restaurants that use good old-fashioned pen and paper. Managers should choose the method that is best for both the restaurant and the workforce.

Managers should have a thorough understanding of the different shift schedules and how they work. The most common ones include -

  • Full-Time Schedule - Full-time employees work anywhere from 35-40 hours per week and is eligible for benefits
  • Part-Time Schedule - Part-time employees work less than 35-40 hours per week and are not eligible for benefits. Shifts may fluctuate, depending on whether the worker is on a fixed part-time schedule.
  • Rotating Shift Schedule - Team member works a series of day and evening shifts. Rotation shift schedules occur in restaurants that operate on a 24/7 basis.
  • Fixed Schedule - Staffer works a full or part-time schedule with work hours that do not change by the week
  • Split Shift Schedule - Employee works two shifts in one day and takes a break in between shifts. This break is usually 3-4 hours long.
  • On-Call Schedule - Employee is available to work when the restaurant calls him/her in. While rare in the restaurant industry, some managers use on-call schedules during peak hours and seasons.
  • Seasonal Schedule - Worker is temporarily employed during a certain season of the year, such as Christmas or the summer.

How to Create an Employee Work Schedule

Creating employee shift schedules is a taxing job that requires planning and time management skills. It's not just about filling open shifts or assigning a certain number of hours per week.

Managers need to optimize internal communications and stay up-to-date with employee availability and preferences. They also need to pick the best method to streamline work scheduling and minimize errors.

While employee scheduling methods will vary, there are a set of best practices to help optimize the process. Read ahead for the top tips.

1. Employee Work Schedule - Pinpoint Resources

Managers must understand the restaurant's budgets and staffing requirements prior to scheduling. They should analyze labor data and pinpoint the exact number of hours they can afford to pay workers each week. This will help to eliminate common problems such as excessive overtime.

Restaurants that hire outside contractors to support onboarding should factor in those labor costs as well. These expenses will influence the restaurant's demand for employee shift work.

2. Employee Work Schedule - Write Down Needs for Every Shift

Managers should determine exactly what type of labor they need for each shift. They should analyze historical sales and labor data to pinpoint peak hours and slow times. The restaurant should decide whether a manager should oversee each shift or if employees can work independently. Typically, a restaurant requires a dishwasher, a server, a host, and a line cook for all shifts.

This is also the time to answer the following -

  • Will employees have the ability to swap shifts or will they require approval?
  • How does the restaurant plan to monitor and manage time-off requests?
  • Does the restaurant need to be rigid or flexible with its scheduling?
  • What type of schedule will work best for employees and the restaurant?

3. Employee Work Schedule Anticipate Customer Demand

Managers should identify peak customer demand times. Many restaurants are busier in the evenings and will need to schedule more staffers for night shifts. Managers should be prepared for busy seasonal shifts and may need to hire additional seasonal workers.

They should also note which shifts are usually slower on a work schedule template or calendar. This is critical, as over-scheduling cuts into profit margins and hurts employee morale.

4. Employee Work Schedule Determine Employee Availability

Managers should use an availability form to determine which work hours employees prefer or cannot cover. The collected data should include preferences to work an open shift, a rotation shift, or a night time shift. They also need to find out exactly how many hours each team member hopes to work per week. Some staffers will be more flexible while others will have personal commitments they need to adhere to.

Once managers collect this data, they should write it all out on a master list to see if there are any gaps. If so, the restaurant may need to hire more staff or schedule a meeting with current employees to find a solution.

5. Employee Work Schedule Create a Plan and Review Past Schedules

It's important to review past schedules to see what worked and what needs improvement. This may require printing out reports and conducting analysis to identify patterns. Managers should also create procedures for absenteeism, call-ins, and sick days.

They should let employees know exactly what to do if they cannot work an assigned shift. This will prevent last-minute no-shows and improve morale as it holds everyone accountable for their hours.

6. Employee Work Schedule Research Laws

There are a set of state and federal laws that restaurants need to comply with. Every manager should research and adhere to these rules to avoid litigation, a ruined reputation, or fines. It helps to assess the laws for each specific work schedule as they can vary. For example, a full-time employee must abide by different rules than someone on a rotating shift schedule.

7. Pick a Method and Post the Employee Work Schedule

Now it's time to pick a scheduling method. Many restaurants prefer to automate the process with scheduling software or online schedule templates. It's easier to use a scheduling app that team members can download to their mobile devices. With a few simple clicks, workers can request time off, swap shifts, and send messages through a mobile app.

Scheduling apps and software also take state-related laws into account to help maintain compliance. Some solutions can integrate with a time clock and help managers monitor time attendance. This will save time, money, and minimize any errors that hurt morale and the quality of customer service. Finally, managers should pick a day to post the work schedule and ensure team members know exactly where and when to find it.

Key Takeaways of Employee Work Schedule

In conclusion, here is what to know about scheduling employees in the restaurant industry -

  • The main types of work schedules in the restaurant industry include full-time schedules, part-time schedules, fixed schedules, rotating shift schedules, split shift schedules, on-call schedules, and seasonal shift schedules.
  • To create an employee work schedule, managers should first identify all resources and analyze the budget. They should then write down the needs per shift and consider peak/slow hours.
  • Managers should determine customer demand per shift to optimize shift scheduling. They should then create a plan to handle absenteeism, sick days, and call-ins. They should also review past schedules to see where any problems occurred and what tricks worked.
  • Managers should research all FLSA laws and state ordinances to maintain compliance. They should then pick a scheduling method and post the work schedule on a particular day each week.