Real-life advice from a real-life recruiter

Let’s face it! We all know that the restaurant industry has some crazy shifts it needs to cover. In our case, Eat’n Park is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late evening. We even have some locations that are open 24 hours. We need to attract team members that have flexibility in their availability, but we, as managers, need to be consistent in scheduling all these hours.

According to an article written by Ron Ruggless from Nation’s Restaurant News, he states that unpredictable and inconsistent scheduling practices for team members affect not only retention, but the ability to recruit new workers. Some team member scheduling concerns included those previously mentioned and the dreaded “clopening” shifts. A clopen shift is when someone is scheduled to close, then open the restaurant the very next morning.

In a recent WorkJam survey (WorkJam is an employee relationship management platform), they found that 46% of restaurants reported frequently or sometimes being understaffed. Of those, 53% said it compromised the customer experience. Why? Most often when you find dissatisfied team members you will also find dissatisfied guests. This leads to higher staff turnover, poor customer service, less repeat guests and declining sales.

In addition, the survey also proved that 60% of team members said the most difficult part of a job search was finding positions that fit their schedules and that were close to home. Also, 26% of team members left their last job because of inconsistent schedules. However, 68% of managers said the most difficult part of scheduling was assigning shifts that took care of business need and staff availability.

Joshua Ostrega, COO for WorkJam said, “To maintain growth and minimize costs, businesses must quickly adopt more comprehensive systems to manage the employer-employee relationship. Managers need to realize that investing in better ways of hiring, scheduling and managing employees is an investment in the company’s bottom line.”

When you take a look at your own scheduling, ask yourself, “Do I use best practices when I produce a team member schedule?”

Here is a list of best practices of a great schedule:

  1. Post it on time and within enough time that team members can plan out their week. If schedules are posted a week or less in advance, frustrations is created for them.
  2. Keep scheduling consistent. Team members don’t want big changes week to week.
  3. Treat everyone fairly. Do not play favoritism.
  4. Make sure closes, opens, mid and overnight shifts flow from day to day. Avoid “Clopening.”
  5. Schedule your staff according to business need but accommodates team member availability. This is were flexibility come into play. Also, hiring the right person.

Scheduling is a very difficult science. It has to blend a myriad of details from hiring the right people, hiring the availability the business is dictating, posting it on time, good flow from shift to shift and being honest and fair. If we throw all the different ingredients into the scheduling pot, stir it up and create a fantastic schedule, you will be sure to keep your team members happy, your environment positive, guest happy and returning to do more business with you. I encourage you to take a good, long look at your team member scheduling practices and make any adjustment you think you need to make.


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