I asked a restaurant manager the other day what was one of the most time consuming tasks that they were required to perform each week. Without hesitation they replied “Scheduling employees!” The weekly or bi-weekly ritual of applying the correct balance of staffing requirements to requests for time off, some of which are written on scraps of paper, can make banging your head against the wall look appealing.
No matter how carefully you plan your schedule while taking into account everyone’s special request, you will always have some grumbling. Even after the schedule has been completed, you will have the inevitable number of calls from employees calling to check their schedule, or ask if it is ok for someone else to pick up their shift. Almost as bad will be the number of employees who show up to check their schedule in person, and the disruption is causes.
Now imagine a manager sitting in the dining room while on a “break” reviewing next week’s proposed schedule on their laptop through a web browser. The schedule has been automatically generated based on forecasted sales and taking into account requests for time off that employees have submitted online or through their smart phones. The manager reviews the schedule, makes a few adjustments and submits the schedule for approval to their district manager. The manager sends the district manager a text or email to let them know the schedule is ready. The district manager reviews the schedule on their smart phone, approves, and the schedule is published. Employees are notified through email that the schedule has been published.
Employees can see the schedule online, or on their smart phones, no need to call or stop by the restaurant. One employee forgot to request time off and needs to get someone to pick up one of their shifts. They submit their request to a shift pool for other employees to review. Employees who are looking for extra hours can review the shift pool and request to pick up the shift. The request is submitted to the manager to approve before the change is made to the schedule. The manager can review shift pool requests while on another one of their breaks. If approved the change is published to the online schedule.
If this sounds like a description of the restaurant of tomorrow, it is not. The technology is here and in use today. Integrating with the devices you use every day to make tasks easier to run your business. So you can get even more work done during your leisurely “break” time.