customer experience, Customer Service, Guest Experience, Labour, Members, Operations, Shifts, Staff, Community Post, General, Hiring, Kitchen Tips, Management, Restaurant Operator, Restaurant Owner, Scheduling

Simple and effective staff scheduling

Simple and effective staff scheduling

There is no better thing you can do for your business than to get the right people for the right job. The less you have to manage your people, the more money you will make. The same rule applies when you put your best people on the floor. Put your Aces in their Places!

Pay special attention to these situations:

  • On Friday and Saturday when you make most of your money
  • When poor guest flow creates problems that last for hours
  • When you are slowing down, which is precisely the time you’re most at risk of dropping the ball and creating poor guest experiences

Match the flow of employees directly to the flow of guests. Build your schedule around how many guests you had last year on the same day of the week, and the time they came. Figure out the impact of key changes like special events, significant weather, and trends in guest counts versus the prior year. Armed with good information, you should be able to get better at scheduling your people when your guests need them there.

Have your staff meeting before most of the guests arrive. There is nothing worse than a team that is not ready for the daily rush. Get people pumped up and ready for their shift. Don’t get caught with too many service staff standing around waiting for guests to arrive, or not enough staff on the door or the floor when your guests arrive.

Know what makes your restaurant hum. You may be busy and at the same time leaving thousands of dollars on the floor in missed opportunity. Do you have enough people on to eliminate the times in your service sequence that guests do not value? Watch for signs where you can do better:

  • a constant line up at the door with lots of table tops not seated
  • poor seating configuration with more than 30 per cent open seats
  • longer than normal chit times or a wave in the kitchen
  • guests waiting for their bills
  • a lineup of servers at the POS system waiting to process orders or bills
  • irritated faces and not enough smiles all around

Remember that your business is built on providing your customers with the value for money that best meets their needs. Make sure you have the best people you can possibly attract and retain and once you do, utilize your top performers to delight your guests.

“People either over complicate or don’t spend the appropriate time when they schedule people,” says Frank Hennessey, president and CEO of Bento Nouveau Sushi. “If you have consistent standards for how you want to serve your guests and have measured the effort required by each position to deliver your standards, people scheduling becomes incredibly simple and highly effective.”




Hugh Johnston CPA CA focuses on "making money" in restaurant and foodservice business. He works with innovative, growth oriented Leaders and their Boards in retail foodservice providing business strategy, operations and finance solutions to help deliver dramatic results. Hugh’s contribution to thought leadership in Canada is on "Making Money" in retail foodservice. Hugh has written extensively for Restaurants Canada. Connect with him here.


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