Restaurant Scheduling for Success – Excerpt from “How to Improve Dining Room Service”

Restaurant staff scheduling ties directly into the dining room service and crucial for keeping your staff tight, happy and well connected. In every way, a balance must be achieved by matching the dining room service labor needs to forecasted business Mercy smart square. There should be a system whereby the staff shift availability days can be communicated in writing to the person who makes up the schedule. A simple staff shift availability sign-up sheet posted conspicuously will do as each staff member should work a balanced amount of shifts throughout the week.

The person who makes the schedule should be highly aware of the projected business in the restaurant. The schedule should contain the correct amount of labor needed to provide a proper level of service for each work shift. Seasonal aspects, (e.g. busy holidays/slow summers), special occasions, private parties etc. must be figured into the schedule. Any outside activity that may affect business in the restaurant such as food festivals, parades etc. needs to be taken into account. If there are separate dining rooms, the busy times must be properly forecasted for each room especially if one dining room is more popular than another. If there is outdoor seating, the weather should be watched for it can change quickly.

Forecasting helps to schedule the correct amount of dining room service staff with the perfect balance always being sought. If there is light scheduling on a day that gets very busy, the restaurant service will be slow and inefficient –affecting sales and reputation. On the contrary, if there is heavy scheduling on light business days, it will become frustrating as the waiters will be working very few tables while draining the payroll.

Generally, the schedule should start Sunday; therefore it needs to be posted by Thursday or Friday of the previous week. Excel spreadsheet formats are great for scheduling organization. The schedule should be posted in an easily viewable location with enough copies available for all staff. Staff phone lists should be also be printed, copied and made readily available to all. This improves communication especially for work shift substitutions.

This leads to the substitution process for staff work shifts. There needs to be a Substitution Book readily available with blank spaces for names, upcoming dates and work shifts for the next 1 to 2 months. If a substitution made, the information must be recorded with the date and shift time (a.m/p.m.). It must be initialed by both parties involved in the substitution and finally initialed by a manager ensuring no mistakes in communication. A substitution mishap may result in a shift not being covered.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *