How to Schedule Employees at a Restaurant or Cafe


For any business owner or manager in the service industry, one of the biggest requirements is to master the task of employee scheduling. Not knowing what to do could not only lead your business towards mismanagement, but it could also be detrimental to your employees’ job satisfaction. On the other hand, if you know exactly how to put together a schedule that is advantageous for your employees and business alike, you could reap the benefits in terms of your business’ growth while also keeping your employees happy.

Since scheduling could be a tricky process, I am here to provide you with a few suggestions on how to schedule employees at a cafe or restaurant. Remembering these points and employing them as needed would help you master employee scheduling with ease.

How to Schedule Employees at a Restaurant or Cafe
Different Employees, Different Schedules @waynemargulies_lifeinsurance

1. Always Plan Ahead

One of the first things that you need to keep in mind while learning how to schedule employees at a restaurant or cafe is proper planning. No matter if you have two, four, or six employees, if you don’t inform them of their schedule a few days ahead, you are bound to run into issues pertaining to employee motivation or availability. 

Asking them to show up at work only a day or hours after they are presented with the schedule could cause their personal schedule to get disrupted. As a result, even if they still report to work, they would not be doing so in a good mood. In some cases, they could very well argue their availability citing rest hours between shifts and the urgency of your requirements. Take a look at “Tools For Tracking Employee Performance at Your Cafe” for helpful info on keeping track of your staff at your shop.

This practice of rolling out schedules with a very close timeline of execution could easily be filed under so-called scheduling abuse, where employees feel like they are being exploited for their commitment to your business. In order to make sure that you are not going down that route, always plan ahead and make sure to give your employees some time to prepare. This is one of the most crucial points to learn while understanding how to schedule employees at a cafe.

How to Schedule Employees at a Restaurant or Cafe
Plan ahead for your schedules @waynemargulies_lifeinsurance

2. Ensure Availability for Each Skill Set

Another very simple yet important requirement of learning how to schedule employees at a restaurant or cafe is to ensure availability for each skill set. For instance, if you run a restaurant with multiple pastry chefs, then you need to make sure that one of them is always available during your operational hours, with at least one of them acting as backup in case the scheduled employee doesn’t show up. 

You also need to make sure that at least two employees of each skill set are present at your busiest hours. On the other hand, you also have to make sure not to give employees of the same skill set a day off at the same time, since that would effectively shut down a part of your business.

Once again, these requirements for employee scheduling might seem like a difficult puzzle game. But they are highly crucial in order to make sure that your schedule is able to support your business operations optimally. 

Need some help motivating your employees at your restaurant or cafe? Check out “How to Motivate an Employee Who’s Underperforming in Your Café” for tips on motivating your staff.

3. Don’t Forget to Keep an Open Mind

Another thing to understand while learning how to schedule employees at a cafe or restaurant is to keep an open mind. Whenever you have rolled out an employee schedule, be prepared to take on change or time-off requests by even your most reliable employees. 

This is where you need to make sure that you empathize with your employees and try to accommodate them as much as possible without hurting your business. If you say a downright “No” to their rescheduling requests without even trying to see if they could be catered to, then it would create a difficult work environment for your employees. 

If there is no way for you to simply accommodate an employee’s request for a schedule change or time-off, then you could employ other techniques such as having them swap shifts or days off with another coworker of their skill set. Since these alternatives could keep your employees happy without affecting your business too much, it is essential to know about them while learning how to schedule employees at a restaurant or cafe. Be sure to also check out “How to Structure Employee Vacation Policy‘ for tips on making a fair vacation policy for your employees.

How to Schedule Employees at a Restaurant or Cafe
Understand While Learning @complianceline

4. Encourage and Employ Active Communication 

Communication is key to every workplace, and a restaurant or a cafe is no exception. When it comes to employee scheduling, you could avoid the aforementioned issues of not meeting employee expectations or finding workarounds to problems by simply communicating with your employees. 

Since you would know what your employees would expect from their schedule and what you could offer in return, you would be able to execute scheduling in a way that minimizes the chances for conflict after the schedule is finalized. This is key to learning how to schedule employees at a cafe or restaurant. Are any of your employees college students? Then don’t forget to read “3 Things You Should Know Before Hiring College Students” for a guide to hiring undergrads.

If you run away from communication, then you could instead run into another form of issue. Employees could act difficult, they could present reasons for their unavailability, or they could simply demand something completely different than what you presented in the schedule. To resolve these issues without affecting your workplace culture, it is important that you learn how to tackle them with active communication beforehand rather than passive communication after the issue has taken place. 

5. Use Modern Tools to Your Advantage

Since understanding all of the aforementioned requirements could be quite complex, you could use a few scheduling tools to your advantage. Some of the most popular tools let you make your employee schedule through actions as simple as drag and drop on a visual interface, which lets you keep the basic requirements in mind while also scheduling your employees according to your needs. 

A few of these tools charge a nominal fee for their functionality, while others come free of cost. You could browse through a few of these software solutions to find one that fits your needs the most. Check out “Best Small Business Apps for General Productivity” for a more detailed look at these apps to help you out at your shop.

How to Schedule Employees at a Restaurant or Cafe
Key to Every Workplace @peopleopssociety

Remember, while employee scheduling might seem like a tough skill to learn, it is not impossible to understand how to schedule employees at a restaurant or cafe. All you need is a clear sense of what your business needs and what your employees expect out of your schedule, and you would be able to strike a balance between both requirements after some practice.

Thank you for reading! For more helpful info for your restaurant or cafe, check out “7 Things You Should Know Before Opening a Restaurant” or “Calculating Cost of Opening Cafe? Here’s What to Consider“.

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