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Five Reasons You Need Online Scheduling Software

If you were to describe the manual process of creating, managing and communicating employee schedules, what would you say? Chances are your complaints sound something like “time-consuming, inefficient and never accurate.” You might have some other four-letter words, but we won’t print those here (you can share them with us on Twitter though). What’s interesting […]

If you were to describe the manual process of creating, managing and communicating employee schedules, what would you say? Chances are your complaints sound something like “time-consuming, inefficient and never accurate.” You might have some other four-letter words, but we won’t print those here (you can share them with us on Twitter though).

What’s interesting — especially in the restaurant and hospitality industry — is that a lot of managers continue to use manual, outdated methods simply because it’s the way it’s always been done. (Sound familiar?) Pen and paper, sticky notes, even spreadsheets and voice mails solve the immediate problem-getting someone, (anyone!) in the store to work. But that’s about as far as those systems can take you.

Here are some common scheduling challenges restaurant managers face when they’re not using online schedule software. How many do you currently deal with? How much time are you losing to these inefficient processes?

1. Communication is All Over the Place

On their own, paper schedules might not seem like the worst place to keep track of who’s working and when. But rarely can you just set it and forget it. Schedules change. Employees have last-minute emergencies. People don’t answer phone calls and human mistakes happen all the time.

In a world where everything is accessible from the tiny computer in our pockets, the last thing your staff wants to do is come into the restaurant every time they think the schedule has changed.

2. Managers are Swamped in Shift Swaps

Do you remember those old telephone switchboards? The switchboards connected people to each other and required an enormous workforce to manage the call volume coming in. If there was a call, someone had to be sitting at the switchboard ready to connect two people. And that was their full-time job, until automatic switching was invented.

Restaurant managers using outdated employee scheduling methods are essentially full-time switchboard operators. Someone calls in to make a swap or request time off and you always have to be there ready to answer and make the connection to the schedule. What’s worse is that instead of it being one switchboard, you’re bombarded with requests from all kinds of different channels – face-to-face conversations, text messages, emails, phone calls, voice mails on your cell phone, voice mails on your work phone; the list goes on and on. In fact, you could have a conversation with one person about a shift swap in every single one of those channels.

3. Employee Turnover is High

Because our lives are not 100 percent static and predictable, schedules will always change. But with paper or spreadsheet schedules, making those changes on the fly is hard. You either are so flexible that things are chaotic, or you do the opposite and lock schedules down so hard people don’t have the flexibility they want in a restaurant job.

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute noted that employees with unstable work schedules suffer significantly more work-family conflict and have higher work-related stress. High-stress leads to unhappy employees, which in turn, increases turnover.

4. You’re Losing Money on Outdated Processes

In the restaurant industry, you’re either spending time or you’re spending money. The goal is that the time and money spent gets a return. That’s business, eh? But if you don’t have efficient systems in place, you’re bleeding both. With restaurant failure rates higher than almost any other industry, there’s not a lot of time or money to waste on systems that don’t work for you and your staff. There are simply too many ways to lose money-unnecessary overtime, payroll mishaps, early clock-ins, employee turnover and expensive health care coverage (not to mention sales lost due because of poor planning)-to not have a system in place that helps managers and owners manage the second most expensive cost center for restaurants – labor.

5. You’re Tired of Wasting Time

Did we forget to mention how much TIME you’ll be saving? Time savings can be found in every single one of these points. Time saved communicating to employees. Time saved figuring out how much staff you need to meet historical guest and sales numbers. Time saved approving shift swaps. Time saved dealing with payroll questions and tip card adjustments.

There are time savings in every single nook and cranny of an online employee scheduling solution.

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