As a restaurant operator, you’re no stranger to the government dictating how you need to run your business. It should come as no surprise then that the government is now taking steps to tell businesses how to manage employee scheduling.
While many restaurateurs don’t believe there is a problem with their workforce scheduling process—as the Seattle Restaurant Alliance tried to prove in a recent survey—lawmakers aren’t backing down.
- The Retail Workers Bill of Rights has gone into effect in San Francisco.
- Nine states have introduced predictable scheduling legislation.
- Vigdor Measurement & Evaluation was commissioned by the City of Seattle to conduct a thorough analysis on employer scheduling trends.
- The Economic Policy Institute prepared an analysis and report on the negative consequences of irregular work scheduling.
Here’s the thing:
We can’t argue against what the government is trying to accomplish. Their goal is to ensure that workers all around the country are making a livable wage, whether it’s through raising the minimum wage, establishing more stringent labor laws (that account for better benefits like paid sick leave), or, in this case, by penalizing employers who don’t provide predictable scheduling.
Everyone deserves to make a fair wage. That’s not up for debate. But restaurants already work with extremely low profit margins. Can they afford to take another hit as new legislation is passed?
Of course not.
Bring More Predictability to Your Employee Scheduling
The main complaint government officials have with restaurant workforce scheduling (and scheduling for other service and retail businesses) is the instability in scheduling practices. They believe that if employees don’t know their schedules far enough in advance or if they are asked to come into work or leave early as customer demand dictates, that the employees’ work-life balance and ability to meet the cost of living will suffer.
And they’re right. When employers fail to give employees a clear and predictable view of their upcoming work schedule or anticipated hours of pay in a given time period, they’re ultimately hurting everyone involved.
Regardless of how you’ve managed employee scheduling up until this point, now is the time to make a change. Here is what we suggest:
- Determine how much of your profit margin you can dedicate to additional costs associated with your state’s specific legislation. Depending on what sort of changes you make to an employees’ schedule and within a certain timeframe, you may end up having to pay for hours they didn’t work. If your budget can’t handle those penalties, then you need to prepare your restaurant for predictable scheduling.
- Sign up for an online scheduling software if you don’t have one already. This will help you centralize and bring more order, control, and visibility to your scheduling process—for you and your employees.
- Analyze the last year’s worth of data on your restaurant. Seasons, days of the week, and other predictable time periods can easily and accurately help you staff based on previous trends.
- Develop a consistent schedule for when you’ll prepare your employees’ schedules. Cities like Seattle are calling for employers to give employees at least two weeks’ notice for their schedules. If you have the ability to do so, why not plan it further in advance?
- Communicate with your team on a regular basis. What does their ideal schedule look like? Are they happy with the hours they have? Do they have upcoming restrictions like lack of transportation, conflicting events, or lack of child care that may affect their schedule? If you don’t have a way to easily communicate with your team, get one now.
The Better Employee Scheduling Solution
Employee scheduling and shift planning should not be a costly or time consuming activity for restaurant operators. With scheduling software, you can expect the following in return:
- Reduced costs: The more insight you have into predicting shift outcomes, the more accurately you can staff each shift and avoid those penalties.
- Time saved: On average, our customers report spending half as long creating employee schedules as they did prior to using our software since they can now plan months and seasons in advance.
- Greater control: Software gives you the ability to monitor your restaurant operations whenever and wherever you are. It also gives you a better look at the bigger picture and trends.
- Better work-life balance: By preparing schedules with a smart software and process, you’re giving employees an easier way to plan and manage their lives outside of work.
- Higher morale: Restaurants tend to be very stressful work environments. By giving your employees predictable schedules and consistent hours, you can increase the overall team morale and, hopefully, cut down on any turnover related to unpredictable scheduling.
At Better Chains, we’re in the business of offering restaurant operators like yourself better management solutions—one of which is our scheduling module. If you haven’t used any of our software (or any other restaurant management software) before, let’s talk.