Image back
Blog | Scheduling

Get Out of Spreadsheet Scheduling Hell!

Stop agonizing over paper restaurant employee schedules!

Man! Isn’t spreadsheet scheduling a pain?

You’ve just finished inputting what you think will be your last edit to the schedule, your eyes are crossed, and now you need a cold beverage just to cool the steam coming out of your ears. *RING* What’s that? Another team member calling to request a change just when you’re getting ready to sign off.

Don’t get us wrong, spreadsheet scheduling can be useful in a pinch, but sometimes it can be downright hell.

Don’t believe us? Let’s take a journey through the 9 Circles of Spreadsheet Scheduling Hell.

Circle 1: LIMBO

The Inferno

Struggling with decentralized scheduling & labor management?
When your scheduling information and standards are in limbo, you lose track of:

  • Employee Information
  • Scheduling/Swift Swaps
  • Time and Attendance
  • Labor Pay & Sales

Spreadsheets store the information, but all of that data is less than intuitive. You’ve probably experienced the pain of looking from the Server Schedule to the Bar Schedule and realizing that one of your employees is overlapping for two hours at the end of the lunch rush. Ugh.

The Way Out

Get rid of the spreadsheets and move onto restaurant employee scheduling software that can do the heavy lifting for you!

Circle 2: LUST

The Inferno

Managing schedules can be simple for restaurants with smaller staffs. But for larger operations or franchises that may have to deal with certain complexities, there are just too many exceptions to keep track of in spreadsheets.

Think about it – tracking overtime, meals and breaks, complying with labor laws and new legislation (predictive scheduling, anybody?) … it’s definitely not easy.

The Way Out

Move from reactive schedule fixes to proactive schedule and labor management. Online scheduling software and labor management tools give managers the resources to effectively manage things like:

  • Hours Worked
  • Overtime
  • Schedule Data (scheduled vs. actual)
  • Job Codes/Locations/Pay Rates
  • Budgets
  • Forecasts
  • Templates
  • Wages by City and State
  • State Labor & Minor Laws

Circle 3: GLUTTONY

The Inferno

Chaotic communication systems can really make a business suffer. When people aren’t communicating effectively, they get confused. Communication is the key to SUCCESS in businesses, but if you’re looking at a ton of information and don’t have systems or processes to organize and disseminate that information, it’ll just lead to frustration!

You end up drowning in:

  • Sticky notes
  • Text messages
  • Walk-ins/emails
  • Phone calls

All of that info needs to be organized or mistakes start happening. Morale goes down the tubes. Your operation stops in its tracks.

The Way Out

Consider a solution with messaging capabilities. Empowering your employees to communicate with their teammates and their managers will keep them engaged, and engaged employees are VITAL to a successful business .

Circle 4: GREED

The Inferno

If you want your restaurant to thrive, you can’t only look out for yourself. You have to look out for everybody – all of your employees – because they all play a part. The restaurant business deals in outward hospitality. If you’re only concerned with inward hospitality, it’s going to cause a ton of problems.

The Way Out

  • Apply cut-off dates to submit time off
  • View employee time off/availability in the schedule
  • Rules for engagement throughout the business
  • Give the employees an option: vacations, paid time off, etc.

Circle 5: WRATH

The Inferno

Bad scheduling habits lead to bad shifts habits, which lead to unhappy employees and, worst of all, unhappy guests. You need to turn that frown upside-down!

The Way Out

  • Channels of Communication
  • Employee Flexibility
  • Engagement
  • Empowerment

Manager turnover has huge consequences, both for your bottom line and for employee morale, and those channels of communication are necessary to keep your employees empowered and driven.

Circle 6: HERETICS

The Inferno

Do your employees feel like they don’t trust each other or can’t openly confide in one another about their needs? If a server has class and needs a colleague to pick up a shift, you need your team members to be able to ask each other! When your workers are engaged and have a sense of camaraderie, it becomes much easier to fill gaps in the schedule.

The Way Out

  • Standard Scheduling Procedures
  • Standard Time-off / Availability
  • Employee & Manager Engagement

Circle 7: VIOLENCE

The Inferno

Having a negative culture in your business is toxic and can lead to employee disengagement. You want to have a trusting, constructive relationship between your employees and your management team.

The Way Out

  • Interactive work environment
  • Flexible schedules
  • Time off

Circle 8: FRAUD

The Inferno

Are you positive you know what the business is doing? Do you have comprehensive reporting features that give you hard evidence of your restaurant’s performance? Or is a lack of reporting defrauding you of knowledge that could fix your pain points and help grow your business?

The Way Out

Using the following systems will help you maintain compliance, figure out what business practices are working.

  • Connected sales & labor data
  • Use of labor budgets & percentages
  • Reporting, forecasting and skills/certifications


The Inferno

Do your customers feel like they aren’t getting the attention or the service they deserve? Is your staff taking too long to get to their tables? Maybe food is taking too long to come out of the kitchen. These could all be symptoms of poorly managed time. After all, time is money.

The Way Out

  • Show stats of how managers do spend their time and the number of hours doing that thing.
  • Unify scheduling
  • Use clear communication

The time that is saved communicating to an employee via a staff scheduling app can be turned into profit! Managers have more time to dive into the numbers, to interact with your customers, and to make sure your guests get the great experience they crave.

Is your restaurant wallowing in the agony of the Nine Circles of Spreadsheet Hell? Find out how HotSchedules can help you crawl out, with more efficient scheduling, streamlined communication, and increased employee engagement.

Watch our full webinar to learn more about why you should trash the spreadsheets and start enjoying the spoils of Scheduling Heaven… with HotSchedules!


Don't just dream of being awesome. Get a Demo