Recession weary-fast casual restaurant managers are scrambling to shave costs and attract customers in tumultuous times. The sad fact is that some fast-casual restaurants will drop out of the race, and savvy restaurant managers know that those who stay in the game will be the ones who can accurately track and forecast their costs, both labor costs, and inventory expenses.

Even in the best of times, fast casual operations with lean expenses will profit more than a cost laden competitor.

There is a silver lining: recessions are a great time to streamline processes, both to save money and to give yourself the time to focus on the strategies that will keep your restaurant afloat (and successful) through trying times.

Depending on the concept, payroll is one of the largest two expenses, the other costly item in your budget will be inventory. And you probably spend hours creating careful employee schedules to ensure that you have the coverage you need at peak time without overspending your payroll budget.

Restaurant employee scheduling isn’t easy – especially for fast casual restaurants. Managers must juggle employees’ availability and skill sets, multiple shifts, part-time employees (each with their own set of scheduling requests), accrued PTO, training sessions and/or employee meetings, and sometimes even worry about insurance or labor laws concerning employees who are minors, or staff who drive or handle liquor. You communicate the schedule to all the employees, field endless inquiries about next week’s schedule (or worse, scramble to fill a missed shift), deal with late time-off or shift-swap requests and unexpected illnesses.

And then you must communicate the updated schedule to the employees. Again. And again.

It’s tedious and time-consuming. And extremely important. Over-staffing costs you money. Under-staffing costs you customers.

Luckily, there is a cost-effective, time-saving solution: TimeForge. TimeForge will cut your employee scheduling time from hours to minutes.

And in both profitable and challenging economic times, the ability to manage schedules at one or many locations, schedule those with stronger skills into high volume shifts, and monitor and forecast your labor costs makes TimeForge not just a time-saver but an instant money-saver. In fact, TimeForge can increase restaurant profits by 3-5%.

Add in the ability to integrate easily with restaurant Point of Sale (POS) and payroll systems, employee reminders of upcoming schedules, staff notifications for schedule changes by email or text message (and the resultant drop in late or absent employees), and the ability to focus your managerial energies on the urgent manager duties facing a fast casual restaurant manager on any given day (rather than mind-numbing scheduling minutia), you’ll find that the time saved first week alone pays for the investment.

With TimeForge, Fast Casual restaurant managers can …

  • Create fast and painless employee schedules – even with multiple stores and complicated shifts, meal breaks, and juggling employees with varying availability and skill sets.
  • Inform staff members of newly posted schedules or schedule changes by text message or email – eliminating employee confusion and missed shifts.
  • Export payroll to many popular payroll providers, such as ADP, Paychex, SurePayroll, Quickbooks, and others, with a single click.
  • Integrate easily with restaurant Point of Sale systems.
  • Review daily sales information, approve shift swaps, review employee requests for time off, and monitor employees on the clock either on site or remotely, through the TimeForge website, via a Smartphone (such as a Blackberry or iPhone), and through Facebook.
  • Provide remote access for employees to view work schedules, review timecards, request time off, change work availability, swap shifts with other staff members, and receive daily schedule alerts via email or text messages.
  • Stop employees from riding the clock, or buddy punching.
  • Integrate sales forecasting for gross sales and specific menu items.
  • Record important information from one manager’s shift to another using the TimeForge Daily Log.
  • Monitor and forecast labor costs in real time.
  • And much more…

TimeForge is a complete restaurant labor management solution for the restaurant and hospitality industry, providing one-click seamless access to employee scheduling, time and attendance, and payroll reports. Use the whole TimeForge product suite, or only the parts that your business requires.

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Read more about TimeForge Scheduling, TimeForge Attendance, and TimeForge Daily Log.