October 17

Restaurant Scheduling Software: The Secret Sauce to Better Management


The Benefits of Implementing Restaurant Scheduling Software and a Review of the Leading Brands on the Market

Time is money—and if your time is spent on organizing, writing out, and communicating team schedules, you need to tap into the digital era and embrace restaurant scheduling software. 
While adding another tech solution might make your eyes roll, investing in a scheduling platform that’s intuitive and accessible can save your business a significant amount of money. 
Restaurant scheduling software has been around for quite some time now. Still, from a survey we sent to employers on Poached last year, only 60% claimed to use one, suggesting that it hasn’t penetrated the industry yet. 
If you’re considering investing in scheduling software, we’re here to help steer you in the right direction.  

The Advantages of Restaurant Scheduling Software

In addition to the average demands of running a restaurant business, employers must sit down each week (or however often you do it) and delegate shifts across available employees and business needs. Additionally, while building out schedules, they’re responsible for staying compliant with local labor laws.
Juggling this manually can be a frustrating and time-consuming jigsaw puzzle, one which technology has tried to streamline. There are a variety of advantages when investing in restaurant scheduling software, but for brevity, we’ll cover some of the most significant time and money-saving aspects.

Increased Manager Productivity

The less time you or your management team spends making schedules—the better. If there is software making that process more manageable and doing it better, then it’s a win-win. 

You want your management team helping out on the floor, taking inventory, placing orders, training staff, and doing productive, money-earning activities that add value to your overall team on the floor and increase customer satisfaction. 

Most scheduling software allows you to decrease time spent in scheduling tasks by setting up automatic scheduling and payroll tracking while conveniently supervising all time-off requests and shift swapping from a single platform. 

Decreased labor costs 

Some scheduling platforms track and forecast trends, helping your management team schedule smarter so that you’re never overstaffed or understaffed (unless you’re short-staffed).

You can even keep track of employee productivity, monitoring attendance, punctuality, and output to make smarter decisions on who you have on the clock and when. 

For instance, say you’re packed with reservations on a Friday night, and your event space is booked. You’ll need reliable employees who arrive on time and work well under pressure in a fast-paced environment. Scheduling platforms can offer insights on who will be best to have on the clock so you can optimize your scheduling and only have as many employees as you need. 

Employee Satisfaction

Work-life balance is one of the most important things to keeping your team happy. It impacts their burnout rates, earning potential, and ability to live a life outside of work.
Consistent, timely, and transparent scheduling increases employee satisfaction across the board. Additionally, most platforms allow employees to take their schedules into their own hands by quickly requesting time off and coordinating with one another by putting shifts up for grabs or swapping with other employees.

Additionally, scheduling software can help you maintain happy employees by staying compliant and within local and federal labor laws. You never want to accidentally overwork someone, having them clopen or work a double when they legally shouldn’t. 

Considerations Before Investing in Scheduling Software

Like most restaurant tech solutions, restaurant scheduling software isn’t necessary for every business. While it certainly has its place, you will want to consider a few things before diverting your budget towards a new tool that might not get used.

Company size

If your team is small, like 2-5 employees in the FOH and BOH, and maybe one manager, likely yourself, then admin work might not be a huge time sucker for you.
While your business might benefit from scheduling software in making hours more accessible and swapping shifts less of a headache for management, you’ll want to consider how much time or how many issues arise for your scheduling manually. If it’s not that big of a problem, then save your money or find a platform that has a free plan. 

Business Needs

Some of the best restaurant scheduling software companies offer a range of plans to meet the needs of different business sizes. You’ll want to take some time and figure out where you could use help and what features are most important to you. 

Additionally, ensure that the platform you end up with has a plan that provides everything you need. The scheduling needs of a single-unit restaurant with a team of 10-15 employees will vastly differ from a restaurant group with two or more locations.  

Tech Savviness 

While we’re in the digital era, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to be a great cook, server, or manager.  

Make sure to include your core team members in the decision process as you shop around and demo a few different products. Since your managers and staff will be using the software, they should decide if they’re comfortable with the service and will be happy utilizing the various features, so you’re getting your money’s worth. 
Top Restaurant Scheduling Solutions According to Poached Employers 
When we surveyed restaurant owners and managers about the tech tools they use in their establishments, we found a few scheduling platforms were more common. 

We’ll summarize those and a few of their core features to get you started finding the best scheduling tool for your business. 

Three Best Restaurant Scheduling Platforms

1. HotSchedules

HotSchedules is one of the oldest scheduling platforms on the market, so it’s no wonder it’s common among employers. While most first-generation restaurant tech comes with antiquated issues, the user reviews are overall positive, claiming ease of use and intuitive app and desktop features. 

Key Features: 
• Templates and drag-and-drop staff scheduling features
• Communication tools for one-on-one and company-wide announcements
• Employee app with self-service shift swapping and time-off requests
• Labor Law Compliance notifications 
• Customized employer dashboard for KPIs and Reporting 

2. 7shifts

7shifts is one of the newer scheduling platforms out there, and when I say newer, I mean they’ve almost been around for a decade. They’ve made their name as a leader within the scheduling industry. Reviews claim their platform is intuitive and easy to use, even for those who are not tech-savvy. Additionally, they offer a basic, free plan for single-unit restaurants, which could be perfect for getting a feel for the service without paying for anything. 

Key Features: 
• Staff scheduling with templates available
• Labor budgeting tools
• Employee app with self-service shift swapping and time-off requests
• Labor Law Compliance help
• Robust reporting

3. Toast

Considering Toast is one of the most popular POS systems in the hospitality industry, it makes sense it also has a popular restaurant scheduling system. It’s also helpful for integrating with your Toast POS if you have one. 

Key features: 
• Staff scheduling with templates available
• Employee app with self-service shift swapping and time-off requests
• Robust communication tools
• Overtime alerts when scheduling
• Multi-location management 

Many other brands are out there, but these are some of the most well-known, so it’s a great place to start as you research. Schedule some demos, and if available, sign up for the trials or free plans to get a feel for the software and your business needs. 

Once you’ve streamlined your scheduling process and see that you might need a new teammate or two—don’t forget to find your next best hire on Poached! With Poached Shifts, you can even fill in available shifts that your employees don’t pick up with freelance hospitality workers.

About the author


Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.


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