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Blog | Scheduling

Five Reasons Your Restaurant Needs Online Scheduling Software

If you’re still building your restaurant employee schedules with a pen and paper, it could be costing you time and money. Learn why it’s time to switch!

How long does it take your restaurant managers to build employee schedules? How much time do they spend coordinating availability, predicting labor needs, fixing inaccurate time cards and making the schedule every week? Furthermore, how long do your managers spend fielding requests for schedule changes and shift swaps? It always gets messy.

Many restaurants still use paper and pen, simply because that’s how they’ve always done it. But in today’s on-the-go environment, many new employees expect a different solution and you’re losing time and money with outdated methods. If you’re still building paper-based schedules, here’s why it’s time to consider a switch.

1. Labor Costs are Rising — And Paper Scheduling Wastes Money

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, unemployment is at a 17-year low at 4.1 percent.  While businesses can benefit from the greater demand, rising wages have increased labor costs 1.1 percent per unit between 2017 and 2018. The cost is only going to go up.

According to research firm Technomic, labor costs are expected to raise 50-100% over the next five to seven years.

As the second-highest cost for restaurants, there are too many ways to lose money on labor, such as:

  • Unnecessary overtime
  • Payroll mishaps
  • Early clock-ins
  • High employee turnover due to miscommunication
  • Lost sales due to poor planning

Without a system in place, it’s difficult to track labor changes and schedules accurately.  

2. Shift Swaps are the Worst

Ask any manager — paper shift swaps are a nightmare. Too much can go wrong. Whiteboards are erased by accident. The “swap sheet” falls off the wall and makes its way to the trash. Stacey doesn’t show up for a shift because Lisa said she’d fill in, but no one wrote it down.

Without a written, electronic document for tracking these changes, managers can be left hanging on a shift. If an employee doesn’t show up for work because of a miscommunication, it can affect sales. Electronic shift swaps that require manager approval instantly update the schedule and communicate changes back out to your team.

3. Online Scheduling Streamlines Communication

With a paper schedule, employees still need to call or come into work to find out their hours. It’s easy to write down a shift wrong or for someone to report it incorrectly over the phone.

Important announcements on paper schedules are often missed.

An online tool allows you to send:

  • Important Staff Updates
  • Schedule Updates
  • Automatic Shift Notifications
  • Announcements
  • Availability/time-off messages sent from the scheduler

4. Employee Turnover is Too High for Bad Processes

With the low unemployment rate, there are a lot of job opportunities. If your workers are fed up with your processes, they’ll go someplace else.

According to TDn2K:

  • 73% of companies consider themselves understaffed in FOH hourly employees.
  • 98% of companies consider themselves understaffed in BOH hourly employees.

It’s difficult enough to find talent, and paper scheduling leads to more mishaps.

Employees are looking for engaging workplaces and a way to achieve a work-life balance. When you provide predictable scheduling, giving workers more stability, they’re more likely to stay and be fulfilled. Happy workers perform better in their jobs and provide a more positive experience for your customers.

5. Electronic Scheduling Saves Time

Managers lose time coordinating sticky notes, written messages on easy-to-erase whiteboards, paper documents, voicemails and text messages. Once these are all gathered in one place, they still need to dedicate time to create the schedule!  

Online scheduling software can take hours off of the time managers spend creating employee schedules. An easy-to-use electronic method to coordinate the many requests and schedules frees up more time.

With that extra time, your managers can be on the floor instead of stuck working on schedules. Help automate some of the scheduling work so they can provide customers with a great guest experience, driving sales and the quality of your business. 


Learn more about how HotSchedules labor solutions can save you time and money. 

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