What is it and What is it Worth?
Benefits. Scheduling software should greatly reduce scheduling time, reduce miscommunication between staff and management, and increase employee morale. It needs to pull its own weight by saving money through better shift management and providing a flawless dining experience to customers.
Features may include:
Immediate Employee Schedule Notification
Trade Board Management
Time Off Request Management
Tentative Approval for Time Off Requests
Anywhere, Anytime Access to Schedules
Availability & Contact Information Listing to Cover Last Minute No Shows
Easy Navigation (i.e., Set Up Wizards, Templates)
Automatic Upgrades & No Installation (Web based)
Secure, Encrypted Internet Transmissions
Let’s Make it EASY. Shift Scheduling Software needs to be easy to navigate and input. Look for a set up wizard to input data in a logical sequence quickly and accurately. Look for a choice of templates that provides a partially filled in schedule the manager knows delivers quality service at a reasonable labor dollar. The software should be easy to change through drag-and-drop editing. Trading shifts/approvals should be simple and efficient. A tentative management approval gives the manager complete control of his scheduling.
Buyer Beware. Software isn’t always as easy or good as it first appears. Look at the monthly subscription cost for the amount of employees to schedule. For example, if software is offered at $15/month, it may only handle 10 employees and you may have 50 employees. A free trial lets you test drive the software and a monthly subscription allows you to “pay as you go.” If all else fails, a satisfaction guarantee with a full refund is another good feature.
What is it Worth?
At this point, shift scheduling software may look promising. It may have many features and benefits that you desire and will help you manage your restaurant. But what and where are the savings?
Let’s take an example of scheduling a 50 person restaurant with a high percentage of part time employees, 6 or more shifts, changing availabilities and multiple requests for time off, training, and special events. With this mix, an Excel schedule may not function or communicate changes efficiently. Setting up a schedule and miscommunications may be costing more than a software program. The Annual Savings Calculator table calculates the savings of using arestaurant scheduling software vs. an Excel spreadsheet. The table is followed by additional benefits that affect a bottom line. Consider inputting your numbers into the table to calculate your savings.
1. Savings through Faster Scheduling
A manager with 50 employees may spend 6 hours making and maintaining an employee schedule. At say, a modest $10/hour, this is 60 dollars/week, times 52 weeks is $3,120/year. A scheduling software may cost at $10/hour making a schedule in 1.2 hours/week (1.2 hours is based on current customer feedback) is $12/week times 52 weeks, totaling $624/year. If you add in a $588 yearly software subscription, the total is $1,212. Using a Scheduling Software in this example saves $1,908/year. What if a scheduler is salaried? By using a restaurant scheduling software and communications package, the scheduler now has almost 250 more hours a year to focus on running the restaurant, ensuring customer satisfaction, and planning for the future.
2. Lowering Overtime Costs
With 50 employees, it can be difficult to satisfy employee availabilities, requests for time off, and the restaurant’s needs. Under this scenario, reducing overtime costs becomes more difficult. When using some software schedules, customers have seen up to a 30% reduction in overtime costs. Say you average 20 hours of overtime a week and you pay an extra $4.75/hour for this. Over a year, overtime would cost $4,940. Using this example, a restaurant scheduling software saves $1,482/year.
3. Enhancing Communication and Retention
When schedules or important information is sent to employees by email or text messaging and is available over the Internet, time is saved and communication is greatly enhanced. Employees do not have to call in or wait until their next shift to see their schedule. Working employees are not disrupted to go check someone’s schedule.
Additionally, employees can communicate their availability and find replacements swiftly and easily. Through the approval process, the shift manager controls the schedule so that a balance is maintained between employee and business needs. Tentative approval gives managers flexibility without risk. Additionally, by accommodating employee preferences, employees feel they are being treated fairly, which contributes to employee satisfaction and retention. This benefit is not included in the table, but I believe is very real.
4. Streamlining Customer Service
When employees receive emails and text messages with their section and shift, they are less likely to forget or get confused about when they are working. They come to work confident, ready to concentrate on customer service. The shift manager can concentrate on customer service instead of making scheduling and section assignments on the floor. Customers receive a more consistent service because there is less scrambling if there is a no show or someone is late. Again, this benefit is not included in the table, but I believe is very real.
5. Maintaining Management Coverage
If your scheduling manager becomes unavailable and schedules need to be made or maintained, using a restaurant scheduling software makes it easy for another manager to step in without missing a beat.
Summary. Adding up the benefits and costs let’s you make an informed decision about what is best for your restaurant. Scheduling software maybe a perfect solution─saving you time and money and providing better service. In the worst case scenario if you find scheduling software not right, having a free trial, monthly subscription, and money-back guarantee allows you to change your mind without financial obligation or loss. Seems like a pretty good position for the customer.
Link to Savings Calculator
Link to RestaurantScheduler.com