Many culinary creatives and chefs dream of starting a restaurant or coffee shop. Yet, those who actually own a restaurant or barista bar know this dream can be more of a nightmare. Restaurant owners have to be a jack of all trades when running a small business. The morning may consist of pouring over budgets and payroll as the chief financial officer, then later putting on the hat of the head chef, to make pastries or create a new menu, then shifting their role to inventory and orders, all while ensuring the restaurant is staffed with a well-trained team of employees. Balancing work and family, not to mention getting in a few hours of sleep at night, can easily get out of hand.
While hiring managers would lighten the load, this is an expense many restaurant owners simply can’t afford. There is a way forward – restaurant owners can reduce their time spent on admin tasks by embracing intuitive, affordable technology to speed up processes like creating employee schedules. By using simple, easy to use employee scheduling software, instead of Excel spreadsheets to schedule employees, restaurant owners are freed up to spend more time actually growing their business instead of running it.
Still not convinced? Here are 10 reasons why you should use employee scheduling software:
- Save 10 Hours a Month on Scheduling
The most obvious reason to use employee scheduling software is to reduce the time spent behind your laptop. For years, restaurateurs have used basic programs like Excel to create employee schedules on spreadsheets — wasting valuable time doing so. Think Excel is the easiest way to create schedules? Let’s take a look at the typical process of creating a schedule spreadsheet with that program:
Not exactly a simple process, right? Now that you’ve made it through that scheduling nightmare, be prepared to waste your time building another spreadsheet in a week or two. With an employee scheduling software, you can avoid that headache and make schedules in just minutes.
- Avoid “Clopenings” and Other Scheduling Conflicts
You’ll be hard-pressed to find an employee who wants to deal with the dinner rush, close, then be back at the restaurant again at 4 a.m. to get ready for the breakfast crowd. While both employees and managers hate “clopening” — an employee scheduled for the closing shift one night, then the opening shift the next morning — it happens all too often. Whether it happens because an employee wants more hours, or if it’s due to a scheduling conflict, owners need visibility into these issues so they know how to keep their employees happy and healthy.
Even coffee giant Starbucks has faced scrutiny with their clopening practices. Want to avoid having exhausted employees who hate you for making them close and open? Use a single, integrated scheduling software that’s integrated in real time. That way, if you accidently schedule Samantha to open tomorrow morning and a closing shift the night before, you’ll receive a notification before creating the schedule.
- Enhance Communication within the Team
Whether you operate one restaurant or ten, communication is often one of the biggest conflicts in the workplace. Major issues can happen with miscommunication. For example, chefs may have a breakdown in communication when ordering the right ingredients for the next week or trying out a new dish. Or an employee who is scheduled during peak business hours calls in sick, leaving the manager struggling to quickly get the shift covered. These are all unforeseen issues that restaurant owners can’t avoid, but they can improve.
According to Forbes, two of the top five reasons employees are unhappy at work directly related to a lack of communication: unaddressed conflict and disregarded feedback. An efficient employee scheduling software enables staff to communicate directly and instantly with the team, problems are handled effectively, suggestions are taken seriously, and schedules are quickly filled.
- Increase in Productivity
As you know, employees often waste time at work. In fact, nearly 60% of all employees say they waste at least an hour a day while on the clock. The most common culprits are cell phone use and social media. However, if an employee isn’t sure what needs to be done right away or not sure how to make a certain drink or sandwich, productivity quickly drops, even if the team is working hard.
With an effective employee scheduling software, these issues can easily be avoided. Employees show up to work, know exactly what they need to do and can record what types of tasks get accomplished and what tasks need to be completed for the next shift. That way, the next shift isn’t wasting time figuring out what needs to be done. What’s more, managers can leave notes about which tasks need to be completed, or weren’t completed properly.
- Make Payroll More Accurate
It’s no mystery that payroll often takes hours and causes many headaches. In fact, nearly a quarter of all small business owners spend at least six hours a month dealing with it. Additionally, there are many common errors small business owners make, such as listing employees as contractors, not reporting income correctly or forgetting to update employee schedules to accurately be reflected in the next paycheck.
With constant changes to shifts, ever-changing overtime regulations and many different tax reporting requirements, reporting payroll more accurately can be near impossible. However, having employee scheduling software that integrates fully with a business’ existing payroll system can help eliminate these issues. This kind of integration takes the human aspect out of payroll reporting and instead uses a fully automated system to greatly reduce any errors that may otherwise have occurred.
- Improve Customer Relations
Think of the last time you received a real complaint from a customer (not including “There were too many ice cubes in my water!”). Whether it was slow service or a dish cooked incorrectly, it likely comes down to one common factor: poor employee training. Even if the issues happened because of a particularly heavy dinner rush, employees who are not trained to handle that kind of traffic can make easy mistakes, making it difficult to control the quality of your product and service.
Having the right employee scheduling software can help alleviate this problem. Leveraging an employee scheduling software with a strong communications and performance journaling tool enhances training among new team members. They can quickly jot down a process in a note, and managers and veterans can leave tips for them as well. Managers can also provide instant feedback to employees to correct any issues. Overall, these communication tools make for happy, engaged employees, which translates into happy customers.
- Manage Multiple Locations More Easily
When you are managing multiple locations, keeping track of which employee works where, and when, can be a mighty challenge. Sure, you may rely on location managers to handle the scheduling and other day-to-day operations, but at the end of the day, everything still has to come through you, especially for payroll. In addition, you have to keep track of the productivity at each location to ensure they are turning a profit.
With a universal, real-time employee scheduling software, you can make sure you and your managers are on the same page. With up-to-date data at your fingertips, you can make decisions that affect one location or several. You and your managers can quickly look at any conflicts that arise — from varying recipes to differing lunch rush times — and change policy in an instant to address those problems. In this way, the business as a whole runs smoothly and remains in sync across all locations.
- Adjust Employee Schedules from Anywhere
When you are building schedules on a spreadsheet, you are glued to your desk. This wastes valuable time that could be spent building relationships and growing the business. With the right employee scheduling software, weekly schedules can be managed anywhere — straight from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. This offers greater flexibility for business owners who need to be out of the office, home with the kids or in transit to the other restaurant location.
For owners on the go who receive a sick text from the hostess, they can simply log on to an app on a smartphone to find a replacement or give this power to the sick employee to find a replacement. That way, the meeting with the new beef supplier isn’t put on hold. Even if a business owner is in the office, getting the shift covered becomes much easier than sifting through an Excel spreadsheet to determine who is available, who has the right kind of training (chef, hostess, barista) and who won’t go into overtime with the new shift changes.
- Full View of Cash Flow
Time is money. It’s an old cliche, but it’s true. Building a schedule on a spreadsheet offers very little in the way of data analysis to determine how you can readjust your staffing to save money. With an employee scheduling software that integrates into existing POS, you can view profits and how many employees are being paid, giving an instant, real-time view of the financial health of the restaurant. What’s more, this integration can provide greater insight into how many employees are needed during certain busy times of the day, month or season.
With this data in hand, restaurant owners can determine which shifts should be cut can can quickly and easily make changes to the schedule. In all, the right kind of employee management software can maximize profit by tracking the highs and lows of business.
- Take Vacations with Confidence
For the restaurant owner, taking time off for vacation may seem like an impossible dream. In fact, half of all restaurateurs don’t take any vacation at all. This is because, as most business owners know, productivity — and thus profit — tends to go down when business owners are away. Yet, not taking time away from work can have major negative effects on both mind and body. Vacation allows for the release of stress. When stress builds, it can cause sickness, insomnia, poor judgment and even increased substance abuse.
With the right employee scheduling software in place, restaurant owners can have instant visibility of their business through their smartphone. This gives them peace of mind that, should any issues arise, they can be handled easily through through a smartphone app. Owners can enjoy time with the family, away from the stress of the workplace, allowing the entire family to disconnect and enjoy each other’s company.
Clearly, having employee scheduling software for your restaurant can make your life exponentially easier. Yet, choosing a complex software that requires intensive training can easily waste time between you and the team. Finding the right employee scheduling software that’s intuitive and meets complex needs is just as important as getting away from Excel spreadsheets.
Deputy has been lauded by industry leaders and clients alike for its ease of use and functionality. In fact, it was recently ranked as the best employee management software by GetApp, based on reviews, integrations, mobile availability, media presence and security. We have helped hundreds of businesses, big and small.
Not sure if Deputy is right for you? No worries! Schedule a free, 30 day demo today to see if our employee scheduling software is right for your restaurant or other small business.