If you’ve ever worked as a waiter or another restaurant employee that earns tips, you know that Friday and Saturday nights are generally the best times to make money. Keeping your employees happy often means having to parse out these days and shifts so everyone gets a shot at the big bucks. The shift to being covered can also impact income. As a manager or a scheduler, you need to keep things fair while making sure your diners are happy.
Share Setup And Cleanup
It may be ideal for waiters and waitresses to only work when there are orders to take and food to be served, but this is not a fair way to assign hours. However, you may be able to give employees the chance to determine if they want to come in early for set up or stay late and clean up.
For example, you may be able to give a student the chance to hit the floor right as the rush starts and stay late to help with cleanup. Tasks such as doing a final wipe down of all the tables and clearing the salad bar may be best suited to folks who don’t mind burning the midnight oil. An employee with small children may prefer to come in a bit earlier for setup and leave a little earlier to make it home for some family time at home. With such an option, everyone who works on Friday night may need to put in 6 hours, but they won’t be tasked to take care of both setup and cleanup.
According to Synergysuite.com, a software provider for different types of restaurant shift schedules, “…The employee shift schedule directly affects the quality of your food, inventory, and employee morale. Each of these factors heavily influences your revenue and bottom line, so understanding how to craft the best employee shift schedule for your restaurant accurately and smoothly is vital.”
Allow (but Limit) Swapping
Stuff happens in every life; your employees may be students with families out of state or parents of your families. Consider setting up grades for your employees as you load them onto your software tool. A beginner may be allowed to swap Tuesday for Thursday but not Friday if that’s commonly your big dinner night.
If you choose to add a beginner to the floor on Friday night in addition to your fully staffed restaurant to provide them with more experience, you can probably provide them with a small section or set them up to help the hostess when seating and serving get extremely busy.
Of course, you will need to track this swapping. If you have employees who are constantly trying to shed shifts, it may be time to find out if they really want to work for your restaurant or not. If they’re unhappy, you can find out why and either work to address their concerns or find out if this problem is staff-wide.
Whether you’re scheduling tipped employees or non-tipped employees, a little dissatisfaction can do a lot of damage. Someone who is constantly swapping to avoid working with a particular manager could actually save you a lot of frustration in the long run.
Avoiding The Overtime Crunch
Even if the hourly wage you’re paying your employees is not much, time and a half can create a crunch. Limiting swaps between employees can be simplified if you put an hours cap on each employee; you may find that someone overuses the tool and ends up cutting themselves off from a lucrative Saturday night. If they swapped for a Tuesday and expected to work on Saturday anyway, they may be unhappy but they really can’t be unhappy with you.
If, however, a tipped employee covers a Tuesday that you need to be covered because someone was out sick or had an emergency, you may need to have a way to override the system and allow them to work Saturday anyway. There’s no better way to build bad feelings than to abuse someone who stepped up to help out by cutting them out of a Saturday shift.
Another option in this situation is to allow them to work just the rush; take cleanup and setup off the table in this instance. If other employees want the chance to work a short shift, you can show them the schedule that was covered by the helpful employee.
Keeping your employees happy with an upgraded scheduling system can also save you a lot of paper and ink headaches. Run a few test messages to make sure that everyone is receiving all notifications and that the system is ready to go when the rush hits.