As a restauranteur, you likely put a great deal of effort into maintaining a clean, vibrant place for people to eat and socialize. You also probably go above and beyond to ensure that your waitstaff has the tools they need to serve your customers effortlessly. That said, sometimes, running even a successful restaurant can be unpredictable and stressful. This is underscored by a 2018 report that 60% of restaurants fail in the first year, and 80% fail in the first four years. Though this is simply the nature of the industry, it does not have to leave you completely overwhelmed.
While last-minute schedule swaps, mislaid notices, finding the right employees, effectively training employees, accurately measuring employees’ performance, and other challenges that are part of the course, there is an easier way to manage all of these issues. That is where restaurant staffing software comes into play. This tool is a fair and flexible way to build and manage your team.
So, what does restaurant staffing software entail? Here is what you should know:
Getting Ready for the Shift
Restaurants tend to be bustling hubs of endless activity. The end of one shift really means you’re just scheduling for the next one. Even if you do get through all the Post-it requests for shift changes, your workers may forget to check their hours before they go home.
Fortunately, restaurant staffing software can help you address these shift-related issues with the following features:
- Auto-filling schedules can save you a tremendous amount of time. The best restaurant staffing software will allow you to set specific parameters to ensure a fair rotation. If you select a cloud-based program, you can easily send the schedule to everyone’s phone. That way, you will immediately know about possible conflicts.
- The best restaurant staffing software will be compatible with mobile devices, allowing employees to request time off or swap shifts with ease. Similarly, you can allow or deny requests over your phone, and those changes will be directly applied to the schedule.
- Most software packages include a dedicated line of communication between you and your team. Messages won’t get buried or lost!
- Finally, for restaurant chain owners, some platforms offer multiple-location interactions. As a result, you can manage all of these functions for several restaurants from a single device.
During the Shift
Of course, employees aren’t always predictable; they may clock in for each other. Some of them may not complete the tasks they are responsible for or frequently show up for work late.
Here is how restaurant staffing software can serve you during shifts:
- Time and attendance features can change any phone into a time clock. In other words, employees can’t clock in for a friend if the friend’s phone isn’t already there. Additionally, the software will send the hours worked directly to your payroll software so you won’t have to add it all up at the end of the night.
- Some restaurant staffing software may offer a unique feature called geofencing. This is essentially a GPS for tracking employees. If employees say they were not at the bar next door between 10:10 and 11:13 PM p.m. and were, in fact, on the job, you can verify this information by simply referring to the records.
After the Shift
When the closing time rolls around, you and your waitstaff are probably eager to head home for the night. That said, there are often many things to take into consideration long after your last employee has clocked out. You may want to learn from what worked and what didn’t.
Here are some features offered by most restaurant staffing software:
- Most restaurant staffing software will handle payroll and scheduling for you so that you do not have to spend the night manually completing these tasks.
- Labor cost optimization is a quick way to track how many people you need and how much it will cost to employ them. Fortunately, many programs offer this feature.
In addition to a wide variety of scheduling and payroll services, many restaurant staffing software programs contain hiring, training, and analytics features. With the high turnover rate in the restaurant industry (a 2018 report put it at 74.9%), you should always be equipped with the best restaurant staffing software to make the hiring process seamless. In addition to that, many restaurant staffing software programs offer training modules.
While there is certainly no substitute for being out on the restaurant floor, this feature could be used for menu memorization or social situation training where employees are asked what they would do in certain customer interactions. Once you have hired and trained these employees, having convenient access to performance analytics provides a clearer picture of who the star employees are and who needs closer attention. Most programs also allow you to generate short, anonymous surveys for customers to rate the service they received. You can even track which servers are earning the most tips if you feel so inclined.
Other metrics you can measure with restaurant staff software include employee attendance, speed of service, and which server’s customers tend to spend the most money. You could even track data about your restaurant. For example, maybe you want to note what times of day, what days of the week, and which area of the restaurant provides you with the most business. The possibilities are endless.
Keep Your Restaurant a Great Place to Eat and Work With Restaurant Staffing Software
Restaurant people tend to stay on top of their game from the moment the breakfast crowd arrives at the minute the late-night diners leave. That said, managing a restaurant does not have to completely wear you out.
Your restaurant does not have to become a statistic; you can be one of the 20% of restaurants that last more than four years. You can achieve this by letting restaurant staffing software handle the dull matters, freeing you up to do what you do best: serve up excellent food and service while building an amazing, passionate team of employees.