Pencil and Paper Scheduling
Scheduling with pencil and paper is the oldest method of scheduling and is widely used among owners and managers of small capacity restaurants and those restaurants with few employees and no complicated shift requirements. If you are running a restaurant with one cook, one counter waitperson and another to handle the handful of booths and tables, paper and pencil scheduling is probably the easiest and least expensive way to get the job done.
For all other types of restaurants, however, paper and pencil scheduling is inefficient and provides no decision support tools that can help a manager automatically forecast scheduling needs based upon historic trends. Pencil and paper scheduling also lacks a way to measure and track the schedule’s effects on payroll costs.
Point Of Sale System Scheduling Modules
Some Point of Sale (POS) providers offer scheduling capabilities. The issue with this solution is that the capabilities offered by these POS providers are simply an electronic adaptation of the pencil and paper method. These modules store employees’ names and usually provide a way to call up the previous week’s schedule and either print it out with the new dates or allow the manager to make scheduling changes prior to printing. They lack in-depth decision support tools and financial analysis capabilities. Without these essential capabilities, you might as well just use the paper and pencil method.
Offline Dedicated Scheduling Software
Offline restaurant scheduling software is more effective than both paper-pencil scheduling and POS-based scheduling modules. The software is specifically designed for scheduling restaurant personnel; it is created with your restaurant’s specific needs in mind. Most of the available packages provide a method for inputting sales figures and tracking payroll costs using one or more metrics. These features enable management to balance scheduling needs with financial needs and make intelligent scheduling decisions based upon traffic and costs.
Because the software is so highly specialized and tuned to the restaurant industry, most users spend less time scheduling, while achieving optimal payroll savings. The unfortunate downside is the fact that the software is usually licensed to work on one computer at a time. There is an additional cost for adding more workstations if needed. While it is likely that only one workstation is needed at the physical restaurant location, the licensing restrictions precludes managers from working on the schedule at home or from any other remote location. Another downside is that there are upgrade costs whenever a new version is released. Not paying these costs result in out-of-date software that does not have the newest available features.
Online Dedicated Scheduling Software
Online dedicated scheduling software offers all of the advantages of offline software without the drawbacks. Access to the software is permitted from any Internet-enabled computer. This means that managers can work from home or from anywhere they can access the Internet. This also means, with most online vendors, that employees can check their schedules from any location.
Unlike offline dedicated scheduling software, online software upgrades are automatically made available the moment they are released so there are no upgrade costs. Online dedicated scheduling software is the most cost-effective solution for restaurant managers who need to tightly control labor costs while maintaining the ultimate in scheduling flexibility.
How long does it take to make an employee schedule? It should take less than 5 minutes! Did you know that labor costs could be as much as 30% of your expenses? TimeForge can help streamline and minimize labor costs through effective employee scheduling at your restaurant, bar, or club.