Simplifying Scheduling for Hourly Restaurant Workers

Smart employee scheduling is an often-overlooked path to profits in restaurants. An integrated mPOS system can streamline this often tedious task and give you insight into how to reap the greatest profit from each hour. Here are some tips to make it easier:

  1. Consider your busy times. Using data collected from your mPOS app, customer analytics, customer loyalty programs, etc. it’s easy to start to spot patterns. Maybe Friday lunches are busier than Monday lunches among the local office crowd, or a certain business holds a Monday morning staff meeting that brings the regulars in for more coffee. Use the data you’ve collected as a starting point, then look to the week ahead and consider any anomalies that might affect your traffic. Are you holding a special event, or is there an art fair or youth baseball tournament in town? Brace for extra crowds. Is the weather going to be unseasonably lovely? Prepare for a full patio. You don’t want potential customers to see that your restaurant looks “too busy” and take their dollars elsewhere.
  2. Make the schedule personal. Don’t just slot x number of employees into x number of shifts. A mPOS iPad app system can track employee productivity to show how many sales were made in an hour, for example. Consider matching seasoned employees with newer ones. Pair ones who excel in customer service with ones who prefer back-end tasks. Friends might work really well together – or have trouble keeping their minds on their work.
  3. Track your profits. Instore enables business owners to track each staff member’s hours and pay rate within the app, so that you can instantly see how much money you’ll need to pay in staff time. By considering each employee’s personal hourly pay rate and sales for a given day part, you can figure out how many employees – and which ones – yield the highest profit.
  4. Have a contingency plan for no shows. It’s a fact of life: staffers get sick or have transportation issues. It’s vital to have a plan for what you will do in that case. Some restaurants schedule an “on call” person who knows they might be pressed into service. Others turn to staffing agencies in a pinch and use temporary workers to do the tasks that require the least training. And of course, many owners restructure their day to fill the shift. Whatever your plan, be sure to offer extra praise to those who are working — being short staffed in a busy restaurant can be stressful.
  5. Make attendance a priority. It’s not fair to the hard-working members of your staff if there is a server who is consistently late or absent. Your mPOS app can show who’s clocking in when, so if you start to notice a pattern, check in with the employee to see if something’s going on. Perhaps their bus schedule or child care schedule changed and that is pushing their arrival time back 15 minutes, and adjusting their schedule a bit would help. Or, if it’s summer, maybe a parent is having trouble making a day shift and would prefer to switch to evenings. Sometimes starting the conversation can illuminate scheduling issues that can be easily fixed.

How you schedule your employees can have a huge effect on your customer service and efficiency – and ultimately profits. A mPOS system that helps you increase sales and decrease costs through effective scheduling for hourly restaurant workers can be a fast track to success.