Restaurant Management Tips

Developing the perfect employee shift schedule means bringing together what’s best for the restaurant and your staff. Most managers would agree that finding (and maintaining) that balance is much easier said than done. But it’s not impossible. Develop a master restaurant schedule, and get to know your employees. Then use new technology to maintain a functional restaurant shift schedule. Find out how below.

Build a Master Restaurant Task Schedule

Never underestimate the power of a master schedule. When prepared properly, it’s a guaranteed resource that will help you manage operations smoothly and efficiently. Every task required in your restaurant will be included here, ensuring that you don’t forget or overlook one.

The worker timetable characterizes what assets are required, when, and where. Despite the fact that a distributed representative calendar is explicit to a specific booking period, appropriate arranging requires looking ahead to survey requests for time off and asset supply.

Early arrangement for scheduling is particularly vital when necessities change over busy periods for your restaurant. Viable worker scheduling brings down work costs by coordinating assets to requests. It will likewise help diminish the requirement for abrupt changes to scheduling downstream.

Start by listing out every job function in your restaurant, such as: 

  •       Cleaning duties
  •       Food prep
  •       Bussing
  •       Serving
  •       Floor management
  •       Bartending
  •       Training

Every restaurant is a little different, so you might want to take one or two days to observe your restaurant’s movements. If you are a pizza restaurant, who’s in charge of making the dough and adding the toppings? If your décor is important, take note of who lights the candles and orders fresh flowers. Also, be mindful of your rush hours and, conversely, the slower times of the week. 

No matter how small the task, create a detailed list of what goes on in your restaurant to develop a fine-tuned master restaurant schedule. This comprehensive task calendar will help you cover all the bases–and it will save you a great deal of time.

Know Your Staff 

This suggestion needs little explanation: Get to know the needs of your staff so you can avoid scheduling conflicts. Encourage long-time employees to share major life changes that will affect their regular hours, and speak with new hires about other obligations they might have. 

At times employees will have varying availability. You may have employees who are involved in sports or whose children are, and their availability will change during football or basketball season. Some college students will have changing class schedules, which can cause new conflicts for the work schedule. Make sure all employees know to come to you when their availability changes.

For tips on getting to know your employees and working together smoothly, check out this recent article from Forbes.

Lavu Scheduling Tip: Build a master availability list. Build out a seven-day week calendar, and list which employees are available at what times. Do not include one-off days like a birthday party or a vacation request—this schedule is only meant to show your staff’s availability during a regular workweek. Use it as a backup hard copy against your main scheduling resource. 

To go to the next step, build out a vacation or time-off master schedule. If you are relying on well-positioned sticky notes to remember your employees’ day-off requests, you are asking for a scheduling mess.

Print out a full calendar year or create one in Microsoft Excel, so that you can easily pencil or type in approved day-off requests. Once you make it a habit to add these days to the master vacation schedule immediately, you will have improved your scheduling technique immeasurable. The best bet here is to create a password-protected Excel sheet for approved time-off requests that is only accessible by management.

Set up a system for requesting time off that includes the management keying the request into Excel before deciding if the staff member is approved for the day off. This should be decided after reviewing the other scheduling information and ensuring there is shift coverage for the time off requested.

At no time should you or another manager make a new shift schedule without first reviewing both master schedules.

Benefits of an Integrated Schedule

Using an auto-scheduler takes the stress out of scheduling and gives you back your valuable time. Proficiency is the name of the game with regards to running a beneficial eatery. Mechanizing redundant assignments like scheduling is probably one of the simplest approaches to be increasingly effective. 

Now, you can even integrate your auto-scheduler with your POS system, making it easier than ever to create schedules that work off of reports from your restaurant.

Check out some of the added benefits of using an auto-scheduler for your foodservice business.

  • Decrease employee turnover
    • When employee schedules match their preferences and they get a decent amount of hours each paycheck they are more likely to stay with your company.
  • Create happier customers
    • An auto-scheduler will keep you from being short-staffed during your busiest times, which will result in better customer service and happier customers.
  • Make smarter staffing decisions for scheduling
    • When your schedule is integrated with your restaurant’s POS system the scheduling decisions are based on solid data for when your busiest times are. This data creates a seamless schedule that works around the availability of your employees.
  • Save time and resources
    • Automating scheduling reduces labor costs not only for the time it takes to create a schedule but also by reducing unnecessary overtime.
  • Delegation of tasks
    • When scheduling is made easy, you can easily train management to prepare the auto-scheduling for you and focus on other tasks.

Use New Restaurant Scheduling Technology

The beauty of new restaurant technology is how seamless it makes even the most complicated operations. Like scheduling shifts! See below how modern restaurant point-of-sale systems eliminate the trickier aspects of scheduling shifts.

Spend Less Time Creating Schedules

With an automated master scheduling program you have the option to schedule your entire restaurant at the click of a button. What used to take hours or days can now take minutes with little manual work. Once you have plugged in all of the pertinent information listed above, have your schedule created for you and then send it out to your team.

Give Employees Advance Notice of Schedules

Because you will save time by using automated scheduling software, you can give your staff more time to prepare for their upcoming schedule. This will help reduce the need for time off requests and make for a happier restaurant team. Send their schedules out via mobile app and have it available online, so they can never say they didn’t see they were on the schedule again.

Software Scheduling Options Prevent Conflicts

Use your master availability schedule to make a new schedule. Then use the online scheduling tool to make a precise shift schedule. Shifts are color-coded, and the employee’s name marked clearly. The online scheduling system will also notify you when two people are scheduled for identical shifts so that you can avoid repeat scheduling of tasks.

Share Scheduling Notes with Management

If you have been managing or running a restaurant for some time, chances are you’ve had some miscommunication with other managers–an easy thing to do. With the right technology, the management team can share comments and questions in a special notes field, which can only be viewed and edited by managers. This schedule report sharing is a great function for communicating when a time-off request has been approved and is then included in the master vacation schedule.

Employees Can Request Shift Coverage Easily Using a Mobile App

For an employee, this might be the most relevant use of mobile restaurant technology. Let’s say you create the perfect shift schedule, but one employee has an emergency. No longer does he or she have to track down the company directory to find a replacement. Instead, employees can release their scheduled shifts to see if someone else can pick them up.

Employee hours are hardly ever solid and frequently change at a moment’s notice. When an employee has access to solve shift coverage issues on their own, managers can save headaches and time that it would take before to call every other waitress on the list and figure out who can cover a shift at a moment’s notice.

Easier Coverage for Open Shifts

With a master scheduler, you are able to see the shifts of all employees and evaluate who can cover an open shift at a moment’s notice. Never again be the manager calling every employee when one of your servers, hostesses, or bussers calls off. Be able to see the skill set of each employee and their availability selections before you start calling to save time.

Schedules Are Available 24/7 

Staff members are made 100% accountable for their workdays with an online schedule. Through the restaurant system’s online platform, employees can check their schedules day and night. Never have another employee use the excuse that they missed a shift because the schedule wasn’t up the last time they worked. When the schedule is available at the tip of their fingers, there is no excuse for a missed shift or being late.

Reduce Labor Costs

You can reduce labor costs by scheduling your staff the right amount of hours throughout the week. If you are unable to pay overtime wages, the scheduling system will notify you when an employee exceeds 40 hours per week. While you are responsible for calculating the number of hours an employee is scheduled, this functionality helps you comply with your restaurant’s budget.

You will also be able to see the wages for each employee calculated for their hours scheduled. This will help to schedule lower-paid workers when you have an excess of hours that need covered.

Provide Better Customer Service

Give your customers the best possible experience by using integrated software to create your schedules. Stop making excuses about being short-staffed due to scheduling issues, and start taking care of business and your customers. With 95% accuracy through using an auto-scheduler, your employees will be happier with their shifts, and your customers will have happier workers to serve them.




With a master schedule and a willingness to work with employees, you are halfway to making the perfect schedule again and again. To have a guarantee, start taking advantage of new scheduling technology. And remember, as in all areas of running your restaurant, developing and maintaining a clear line of communication is extremely helpful. Have a comprehensive directory of your staff members’ phone numbers and email addresses, and develop a system for contacting everyone in case of an emergency.