Creating and optimally managing a restaurant planning is a complex task that requires a significant investment of time. In addition, the schedule is not given the importance it deserves nowadays, even though customer satisfaction, employee motivation and productivity depend directly on it.
Many restaurants and cafés still use Excel as their scheduling tool, and this is often inefficient and even unfeasible.
The roles of work in the restaurant industry are large and heterogeneous, as are the tasks to be done, and we do not always find the same number or type of customer depending on the hour. So it is essential not only to have the right number of employees in the kitchen and dining room depending on the hours of work, but also to have the right workers at the right time at any location in the restaurant. This will prevent what often happens in some establishments: a shortage of staff to carry out the service at certain times, too many workers at others and overlapping tasks.
Using Excel may make some sense if you have a very small workforce, but the margin of error will still be much greater because staff planning is never a static picture.
Making a schedule does not only assigning correctly to an employee a certain number of hours of work, correctly in a labor regulation sense. It is also necessary to take into account the number of workers needed during peak and off-peak hours, the skills you need at all times and the tasks must be performed. You also need to factor in that employees can request time off, take a vacation or get sick, which means you have to figure out how to cover their shifts. Manage all these variable with excel is a complex juggling game.
If you use Excel and have to manually manage the substitution of a shift, the first thing you need to do is to check the availability of the employees by contacting them individually, but also check their aptitudes and of course if the amount of hours previously performed enable that person to fill the position. Take into account all these variables are complicated if you have a large number of employees.
“…the most resolute employees will have to be located in the hours of highest movement and the most organizational in the hours of preparation of the service and assembly of the following one.”Marianela Olivares (HR director of Linkers, hotel and catering consultant)
Generate staff scheduling with excel is maybe the first chosen option, but another option could be a workforce management solution. This tool can automatically generate employees’ shifts, eliminating the manual process of entering data into Excel. Nonetheless, it will still not adapt workers’ schedules to the restaurant’s needs.
Standard workforce management will not predict customer demand at every moment of the day on different days of the week and take into account seasonality, in order to properly size the workforce. For example, a restaurant not have the same number of customers at lunchtime as at mid-morning, or not have the same number of tables in winter as in summer if you have a terrace. On this senses it is clear that the restaurant will need to have more workers serving the terrace tables on peak period and take into account that the number of tasks, such as preparing and setting up the terrace, is increasing.
Standard Workforce management solutions allow you to automate the staff schedule generation, guaranteeing compliance with regulations, but not take care of customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and profitability.
So what does a workforce management solution need to create an optimal schedule that takes into account all the variables and looks for the best restaurant profitability?
Recently, new workforce planning solutions based on Advanced Analytics have been appearing on the market, capable of generating intelligent schedules aimed at helping an establishment achieve the highest levels profitability. Additionally, these solutions always consider employee and customer satisfaction as a factor in schedule production.
These tools accurately predict the number of customers your restaurant will have at any given time and cover all the variables listed above. They also allow employees to access their schedules via their smartphones, request time off, change their availability, switch shift, and much more.
This way you can have the restaurant perfectly staffed at all times, and have the right employees at the right time and place to perform their assigned tasks. This fills the shortages left by Excel by automating the process.
In conclusion, only the most intelligent workforce management solutions, using the latest predictive and prescriptive analytics techniques, generate an automatic planning that seeks to combine employee preferences as closely as possible with the best business performance. These tools maximize employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and establishment profitability while reducing labor costs, all at once.