I’ve served and cooked in several different restaurants in my life–cafes, holes in the wall, fast casual, local fine dining, nationwide chains, etc. Not one of them used a restaurant scheduling software. Now that I’m familiar with how awesome this type of software can be, I’m here to let every restaurant manager out there know why YOU really do need one!

I remember having to drive to work and read an Excel spreadsheet posted on the wall at a restaurant that had a “Do not call and have someone read you your schedule” policy. I’ve been given hand-scrawled schedules on scratch paper. I’ve even had my schedule delivered to me verbally (the standard scheduling method for THREE of my former employers)–no paper whatsoever. I’m all too familiar with the “red book”, where I would write down my SUPER important (in my mind) time off requests and hope someone saw them before it was too late. I’ve even been written up once or twice for not showing up for a shift that a coworker said they would cover. So, why do you need restaurant scheduling software? Well, life as a restaurant employee is just madness without one, and I’m sure it’s even worse for restaurant managers.

The more familiar I become with restaurant scheduling software, the more dumbfounded I feel that I worked in so many restaurants without any type of scheduling or time off system in place. I can’t imagine how much time it must have taken my boss at a restaurant with a solid 30+ servers, all with varying school schedules and spontaneous new commitments, to create a schedule that actually worked for everyone. I don’t want to think about the issues my verbal-agreement-bosses must have run into with unreliable staff (not me, of course). And I’d like to apologize to the restaurant gods for how many times I cursed them in the name of unjust write-ups that I had no way to prove were unjust.

A good restaurant scheduling software can not only reduce, but completely eliminate all of those issues–easily. Are you familiar with the phrase “There’s an app for that”? It’s pretty much always true, and restaurant scheduling is no different. There’s an app for that. There are a lot of apps for that. There are websites and systems galore for that! There’s no reason to pull out the ol’ red book, with its creased spine and food stains, to track time off. There’s no reason to have your employees write down their school schedules on napkins or tickets that get stored ever-so-safely in an envelope marked “School Schedules”, so you know you’ll never lose it–and then do it again the next day because the envelope disappeared. These things happen. I’ve experienced them firsthand. It sure would have been nice if some type of secure, online database existed that could track and enforce everything related to restaurant scheduling.

Oh wait…

As a matter of fact, there is a lot of restaurant scheduling software out there, and they’re all designed to make life as a restaurant manager infinitely easier. You can enter availability and time off requests, and enforce that no one can be scheduled when they’re unavailable. You can build your schedule in 10 minutes instead of 2 days with a feature like an AutoScheduler or a ShiftBuilder. You can allow your employees to swap shifts with each other, and hold both the giver-up and the picker-up fully accountable. And, when you’re done building a schedule, you can have it automatically emailed or texted to your employees, or make it instantly available online or through an app. The possibilities are endless!

So, maybe I should rephrase my question. Why don’t you need a restaurant scheduling software?