How do you handle employee scheduling at your restaurant?   Do you use restaurant employee scheduling software … or do you use Microsoft Excel, or a pen and paper?

Even though restaurant employee schedules may seem effortless to build, putting together a “good” labor schedule is exceedingly tough using established approaches such as Microsoft Excel or pen-and-paper, or you could use the time honored stone chisel. Management must put together an efficient schedule so that employees are free when they need to be, and yet are able to meet the predicted demand for the restaurant. A good schedule precisely indicates predicted sales for the approaching week or month, determining sufficient work hours for staff members.

Restaurant Employee Schedules Take Time to Build

The restaurant staff schedule tells staff members when to show up for work and when they don’t need to be at work, in some cases. In other cases, staff members are “cut” from the schedule depending on demand (or volume) at the establishment. In almost all cases, the labor schedule is put together by managers in the back office or elsewhere after hours , a cause of headaches for many managers who must work extended and weekend hours to create schedules (don’t believe us?  ask your managers!)

The steps to build a restaurant employee schedule comes across as an unending list of assignments, taking up numerous hours of management time every week:

  1. Start by looking over the manager’s log book and predict upcoming sales and the demand.
  2. Then analyze the employee request log and availability sheets in addition to individual employees’ work preferences while taking into account which staff members are minors or limited in working.
  3. Confirm necessary employee certifications; such as, essential certifications to dispense medications or an ABC license is required to serve alcohol at a restaurant.
  4. Assign reliable and knowledgeable employees to open and close the establishment.
  5. Try to evenly designate shifts while complying with employee minimum hour works, but do not go over a maximum number of hours.
  6. Ensure that workers are not apt to acquire overtime if another employee on the schedule neglects to show up.
  7. Pinpoint opportune times to accommodate break and meal periods for employees who are required to take breaks.
  8. Determine the probable cost of payroll, being conscious of budgetary limitations , if the expense is too high, start all over again.

Handling all of these aspects to put together a pleasing restaurant schedule for everyone is a painstaking chore that usually dominates well over ten percent of a manager’s time over the course of the week. In many instances, particularly in owner-operator restaurants, the schedule for the next week is posted late in the current week. Finalizing the schedule that late poses complications with the workforce, increases turnover, and lowers tenure at the establishment , lowering overall profits!

The finalized restaurant employee schedule, which the manager has probably spent hours building, may be mass-emailed out to the workforce (if the manager used an excel spreadsheet and a schedule template to put the schedule together), or more frequently, printed out and posted on a wall somewhere in the back of the building (inside the store room, kitchen, or management office).

Example: At a local bar, management handles the preferences and needs of over ninety staff members including bartenders, cooks, servers, dancers, security, paid performers, disk jockeys and management staff. After the place shuts down on Thursday night, the manager devotes three hours to creating the schedule and attempting to meet every worker’s needs , as well as the establishment’s needs. There is always a little compromise when putting together a schedule. After completing the schedule, it is posted in the office so that scheduled staff members know when to work. An additional copy of the schedule is saved in a file for subsequent comparison with the personnel clock-in and clock-out times to determine areas of improvement or schedule inconsistencies.

In a Restaurant, Theoretical Labor Schedules are Important for Staff

This finalized work schedule in a restaurant is the “theoretical labor schedule” – it is the essential labor needed to run the business and meet predicted customer demand. This employee schedule will need to be adjusted over the course of the week as employees neglect to show up, swap shifts with other employees, show up late or early, or business requirements change and staff members are added or cut from the schedule. The finalized schedule should be held onto for subsequent comparison to worked hours, and for issues arriving from Labor & Industries audits, labor disputes, availability conflicts, or even lawsuits.

Example: Assuming the manager of the bar receives $60,000 per year in salary, the schedule procedure at this nightclub expenditure is more than $90 per week, $360 per month, and $4,320 per year , just to make a labor schedule! With a software such as TimeForge, creating a schedule could cost less than $8 per week, $32 per month, and $382 per year.   Using TimeForge means an extra $3,936 in profit , annually!

Is your scheduling complex? Are you making the best possible schedule? How many thousands of dollars do you spend making schedules every year? Did you know that TimeForge can reduce turnover, increase retention and increase profits through employee scheduling at your business? Sign up today for a free trial!


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