Employee management is arguably one of the most challenging parts of the job. For even the best team builders, issues like scheduling can throw an unexpected crimp into an otherwise smooth day.
Scheduling is hard because of the unexpected variances in employee lives; sick kids, flat tires and general life issues can get in the way of showing up. Absences can place more pressure on existing staff. While you may lean more heavily on the most reliable, hardworking team members, you must be careful not to overschedule and burn them out.
How management handles these issues can affect employee retention and even damage the restaurant’s image in the market, in extreme cases. Here are three things to always keep in mind when scheduling your restaurant staff.
#1 – Consider Employees When Writing the Schedule
While restaurant 101 tells us the goal in scheduling should always be to take care of the customer and the facility, we suggest you also write it to take care of your staff. For example:
- Post your schedule consistently and as far in advance as possible.
- Set rules about the cut off for time-off requests so the process is fair.
- Always try to give people two days off in a row if at all possible.
- From a cost-perspective, avoiding overtime is wise; but it will also help avoid burning out your A players.
- Avoid scheduling back-to-back close/opens for staff.
All of these ideas are simple ways you can take better care of your valuable employees. If you’ve worked in the restaurant industry long, it’s likely you’ve experienced at least one manager who approaches scheduling in a way that makes it harder for staff. Follow these tips to take a more humane approach.
#2 – Cross Train Whenever Possible
Take a page from McDonald’s and cross train your staff whenever possible. In addition to the obvious position shifts, try rotating staff into different times of the day. For example, it’s always a good idea to rotate staff into the busiest money-making shifts. It will help them tighten their skills during a stressful shift. If your restaurant has a day shift, rotate staff in to give them more experience. Find out from employees what they’d like to learn, and then mentor and train them into the role. Try to manage this process in a way that gives the employee more responsibility the longer they’re on board. Your employees will appreciate your effort.
#3 – Recognize That Scheduling is a Process
Scheduling is an art, and every week the product you produce is something new. Be patient with yourself and learn from the mistakes you will inevitably make. Scheduling will get easier, but you will experience setbacks and some of them will affect your bottom line. The restaurant business is all about fast-paced flexibility, and nowhere is that truer than in the process of staffing and scheduling.
Consult with the experts
Are you experiencing scheduling issues? Contact Gecko Hospitality’s knowledgeable team members for help in finding the best talent in the restaurant and hospitality industry.