8 Horeca scheduling tips for a more productive team

There is more to horeca scheduling than just matching names with time slots. You could draw names from a hat and still come up with something that works if it were that simple. Horeca schedules are about creating a productive team. Planning a schedule that benefits both your business and your employees takes planning, forethought, and sometimes a little creativity.This article shares the best tips for producing a restaurant schedule that builds a productive team.

1. Create a routine for schedule creation

When posting new schedules, consistency is key. It should take place on the same day and at the same time every week (or every two, three, or four weeks depending on your system).So, for example, if you decide to post the new schedule on Sundays by 16h00, it should always be posted on Sundays at or before 16h00. You can minimize the difficulty of this complicated and daunting task by setting up a consistent process for schedule creation. Being consistent also helps your employees know what to expect. They know they have until a specific day to inform you of their personal schedule. Moreover, they can rely on the fact that the new schedule will always be released at the same time.

2.  Keep employee strengths and business needs in mind

To put it in simple terms, the idea is that you should always schedule your best people during the busiest times. That way you know that they won’t stress too much when the business (and your customers) need them the most.

This tip also encourages taking in consideration our employee’s strengths when considering where and when to schedule.Is one employee more efficient than another? Perhaps she should be scheduled during the chaotic diner rush when efficiency is a must.Is one employee more of a people person than another? Perhaps he should be scheduled during the more laid-back lunch service when customers are more likely to spend an hour or two at the table and customer interaction is more important.We should consider putting strengths where we need them the most.

To be fair, schedule everyone on a regular basis for the most popular shift. Be sure to mention that everyone will get this shift during a staff meeting. Explain why it is happening so that it doesn’t create resentment. 

4. Schedule Busy Shifts First

When creating their schedule, most managers start at the beginning of the week and work their way to the end. This can make it hard to ensure that your most productive employees are available when they need to be. So, instead of working from the beginning of the week to the end of the week, schedule your busiest days first. Make a note of your busiest time on your draft of the schedule. After that, work your way down to the less busy days. This helps to reduce the amount of changes you need to make to get the most skilled employees on the busiest shifts. 

5. Ensure that all schedule changes go through you

Schedule changes will happen, it’s part of the business. Make sure that all of those inevitable changes will get your approval. This is to make sure that all shifts are covered according to the business’s needs.

You don’t want to put an employee who has only been working a few days into your busiest shift just because he volunteered. If you’re using an online schedule, you set the permissions so that employees can make suggestions, but they can’t make changes directly to the schedule itself. That way, you can keep the schedule as efficient as possible. 

6. Schedule two days off in a row whenever possible

A good way to maintain productivity amongst your team is to give each employee two days off in a row during their workweek. During busy times of the year, this may not be possible. But when the workload allows for it, do your best to make it so.Two days off in a row provides many benefits that you may achieve in any other way. For example: Higher motivation, Increased ability to concentrate and improved efficiency. For a restaurant that is open seven days a week, scheduling a traditional Saturday/Sunday weekend may not be possible. But as long as your employees get two days off in a row they will get the benefits that come with extended rest and down-time.

7. Create A Template

As a manager, it(s important not only to improve your team’s productivity, but also your own. A way to do this is to create a custom scheduling template that you can use over and over again,  without having to start from scratch every time.With a scheduling template in place, you can get right to the activity of creating shifts without losing time. Things you could  include in your template: employee names, location, date of each day, shifts, skill sets, status etc. 

8. Use Technology To Make Scheduling Easier

Scheduling technology has come a long way from the paper schedules. But horeca-specific tools can make all the tips above so much easier to institute.A cloud-based platform makes your schedule available to your employees anytime, anywhere. It also can be used to send reminder notifications to your employees so that they don’t forget their shifts.With other, powerful communication features, scheduling technology can be used to communicate directly with a single employee, a team, or all your employees together. No more emails, Whatsapp groups or time-consuming phone calls.