Restaurants are one of the busiest industries, with workforce needs that change based on the time of the year, the day of the week, and even the time of day. With so many variables, scheduling employees, tracking stock, and tracking other resources, like tables, drivers and deliveries, managing resources can be a full time job.
Top restaurants around the world, as well as less high-end but still extremely profitable, food chains like Starbucks already use resource scheduling to create flexible schedules to ensure that they always have employees on hand for their busiest hours, while saving time and money. Most importantly, nearly anyone with flexible staffing needs can benefit from resource scheduling, and restaurants make up a large part of that demographic.
Starbucks, is, in itself, an excellent example of how scheduling software is beneficial in the food industry. The company integrated a resource scheduling program to schedule working times for its 130,000 baristas, saving millions of dollars on their previous schedule. This allowed them to change work schedules to meet quickly fluctuating work needs during rush hours, and busy morning times, allowing managers to easily see who was available for which shifts, and who had already worked. As of 2014, the policy allows them to use flexible scheduling with set hours, and scheduled a week in advance, so that employees know when they are working.
Starbucks still has control over who is working how much time, and when, but they also save money by sending baristas home during slow hours, and ensuring they have enough people to serve customers when they're there. Their software actually schedules employees in 15 minute increments to meet demands, but that's hardly practical for most lifestyles, so you can schedule in longer durations to better meet employee needs.
Why is it important? One study by the Pennsylvania State University in the U.S. showed that many businesses could be losing as much as 7% of sales due to unavailable employees. Customers simply get up and leave without someone to serve them during busy hours, or are never even seated or get in line before they walk out. This type of loss may seem small, but it can add up to a great deal over time. Employee scheduling also works on both front end and back end, so you can use it to ensure that your managers know when they should show up, you aren't putting employee shifts back to back, and that you have enough people to cook and clean during your busiest hours.
The main problem with restaurant scheduling is that it's not just about the staff. You have to keep track of food deliveries, table reservations, food stock, cleaning, and much more. Scheduling all of these resources and tracking them so you can access them locally or via the cloud allows you to instantly access the data, which makes life easier on managers, who can then spend more time ensuring that the restaurant runs smoothly, and less time checking up on deliveries. One example is that you can schedule in weekly food deliveries, schedule in health inspections, and schedule in stock inventory and ordering.
Tables and Rooms
Finally, resource scheduling allows you to take your table reservations to a new level. By adding all of your tables into your scheduling program, you can take reservations over the phone, schedule them in, and then see at a glance when that table is booked and for how long, which makes it easier to book in the future. It's also easier to avoid double bookings because anyone using the software can instantly see which tables are booked and which aren't.
There are dozens of ways that restaurant resource scheduling
programs can be used to streamline management at every level of the business, in the front and the back. Because more efficient management means saving time and money, it's an extremely practical choice for any part of the food industry.