Skip to content

What is Restaurant Scheduling?

Table of Contents

In simplest terms, restaurant scheduling is the process of assigning shifts to restaurant staff. Manual restaurant scheduling involves organization, time, and patience; it may be done by pen-and-paper or with a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel. (Check out our guide on restaurant schedule templates.) With manual scheduling, it is important to stay organized. You will need a scheduling request book that is accessible to all. You must record all substitutions, requests, and shift swaps. Also, you need to make sure your employees are aware of upcoming shifts.

What are the steps to build a restaurant schedule?

Here are the steps to create a schedule manually:

  • Separate columns by name, job title/description, calculation of hours worked, and the day of the week in the last column.
  • Job titles and descriptions should include the corresponding section of the restaurant each employee would be working in.
  • Compute the hours for each persons shift and make sure your schedule has crossovers just in case people may be late for shifts.
  • Do not repeat schedules each week because not all your employees will be available everyday or have the same availability. Make things on your schedule stand out by highlighting them on your spreadsheet or graph. Block off times where your employees will be gone to prevent overlapping or under staffing.
  • Have a request book where employees may input personal requests. Make adjustments by weighing the most important ones.
  • Track each employee’s total number of hours worked. This way it will be easier for you to make adjustments. Organize the times of your day that you will need more employees or less. Proper level of service for each work shift should be spot on. Take into account restaurant holidays, summertime, private parties, special occasions, or outside events that would affect your restaurant scheduling. Take note of busy and slow hours within the day to have enough coverage.
  • Provide a staff phone list to improve communication between the labor work force and the employer.

Is there a better way?

There is! If manual restaurant scheduling sounds too complicated or time consuming, you should use a restaurant scheduling online software. Restaurant scheduling software helps improve customer dining experience, reduces scheduling time, and helps you utilize your staff more efficiently. With software like TimeForge, managing shifts, overall tasks, and employee schedules will be much easier.

If you’re new to restaurant management, you may like our guide to restaurant manager responsibilities. We also published a helpful article on restaurant manager logbooks.

Don't forget to share this post!

Recent Posts

Join our newsletter!

Sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll send you monthly emails with industry tips, labor management news, and updates about the latest and greatest from TimeForge.

the timeforge gear


Over 25,000 subscribers already benefit from our industry expertise each month.