Sunday, July 29, 2012

What Shift Scheduling Software Can Do for Your Restaurant

 We all know what a hassle organizing shifts in a restaurant can be. First you have to make sure all your employees hand in their preferences for when they want to work. Even if all your waiters, cooks and hostesses hand in their preferences on time, you, the shift manager, are still left with a stack of papers to sift through in your office in an effort to fulfill the requirements of each shift – making sure there are enough cooks and waiters for the lunch rush, enough experienced bartenders for the night crowd, etc. – and still keep everyone happy and follow restaurant policy – at least three day shifts and one weekend shift per week, no more than two night shifts in a row, or whatever specific rules your restaurant has on the matter. When you finally finish, possibly after several hours and numerous false starts, you might post it for your employees to see, only to have them make additional requests, ask to be switched, or come to you at the last minute and say they can't work a given shift, leaving you to call all your other employees in a rush to find a replacement. And when you finally have everything set and in order, you have to copy it over to a log book for long-term tracking before starting the whole process over the following week.

Wouldn't it be great if there was another way?

With modern shift scheduling software, such as EZShift (, shift managers can create schedules for their employees quickly, easily, and with no errors. Sophisticated shift scheduling software allows you to set conditions for the schedule – hours, number and types of workers required on a given shift, and so on – as well as properties for individual workers – different groups depending on their qualifications – and then let the software build the schedule for you. What once took hours of frustration can now be accomplished in minutes with ease.

Let's look at a relatively simple example of how shift scheduling software like EZShift can help you. Suppose your restaurant gets especially busy around lunchtime, so you want an experienced waiter on duty from 11 AM. Before, you would have to sit and struggle to arrange the schedule in such a way that your more experienced waiters were on duty at the right time, and start over once you realized a certain schedule arrangement wouldn't work. You could be at it for hours before you got it perfect. With shift scheduling software like EZShift, you simply define who the more experienced waiters are, define the 11 AM shift as one where you need an experienced waiter, and let the program find the best schedule that fits those requirements.

Shift scheduling software also allows for easy, efficient communication between employees and managers. You may find that in the current situation, some employees don't fill in their shift preferences simply because they forget and won't be back at work before the preferences are due. Advanced shift scheduling software like EZShift alleviates this issue by providing a built-in messaging system so employees can fill in their preferences from the comfort of their own computers. These software packages also alleviate the possibility that employees won't put down enough shifts, whether total shifts or types of shifts (time of day, day of the week, etc.), by making it impossible to submit a preference list without fulfilling the basic requirements set by the shift manager.

Let's look at another example. One of your waiters, Jim, clocked out and went home before filling in his preferences for next week's shifts. Instead of you and Jim having to track each other down on the phone, Jim can simply log into his section of your restaurant's shift scheduling software and fill in his preferences from home. If Jim needs to work three morning shifts and at least one weekend shift, he won't be able to save his preferences until he marks his availability for at least three morning shifts and one weekend shift. Shift scheduling software like EZShift can thus save you and your employees time, energy and frustration.

So instead of spending hours making sure you have enough waiters, cooks and hostesses to fill out the shifts for the coming work week, let a shift scheduling software package like EZShift do the work for you.