Labor Scheduling (Part Two): The Human Factor in Scheduling

May 23 2016

Restaurant Management Labor Scheduling

“I LOVE creating the employee schedule!” said No Manager Ever. But it still has to be done. While it may seem like a daunting task in which no one is ever fully satisfied, remember that creating the schedule can be your chance to boost employee morale and to improve revenue.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of articles on how to create an employee schedule and it seems to all boil down to maintaining the right balance of customer satisfaction, employee morale and revenue (and more importantly, profitability, but we will discuss that later*). These three items are dependent upon one another. They are so intertwined that one is not more important than another. They cannot be prioritized as they are all able to make or break your business, so let’s just take a look at them individually starting from a 10,000 foot view.

The vicious cycle…

Unhappy employees lead to unhappy customers.

Unhappy customers lead to lost revenues.

Lost revenues affect paychecks and lead to unhappy employees.


Since we can’t seem break the cycle, let’s intervene where we can and try to recreate it. Your employee’s pay and schedule are the most important aspects of his/her job. As a manager you have the most influence over your employees’ schedule so let’s start with that.

I am assuming that you already have a good scheduling software in place. Or at least a robust worksheet that you use when creating your weekly, biweekly or monthly schedule. However, no matter how many processes you have in place to create the “perfect” schedule, there will always be changes because humans are involved. You simply cannot make everyone happy, but you can let your employees know that you have their best interest in mind and want to accommodate them where possible.

Earnestly try to take each individual’s schedule requests into consideration as much as you can. This might feel as if you are herding cats and that it is not worth the extra time, but it will pay off in both employee morale and retention. It is worth the extra time to ensure every employee feels that they are being heard and that their needs are being met.  

Let’s be honest, customers don’t care about your margins. They don’t care if your employees are unhappy. However, they do care about having outstanding service every time they are in your restaurant. Restaurants with higher employee morale make for a better guest experience which leads to repeat visits and word of mouth business and increases revenues.

If your business is slow and your staff is not making money they will seek employment somewhere else. But even if the money is good, if their schedules consistently are a source of frustration then they will go work somewhere else. Or worse, stay and be unhappy affecting your store’s morale and customer satisfaction, feeding into the vicious cycle. If you think morale may be an issue due to constant scheduling problems start a conversation with your employees. Restaurant turnover is ridiculously high. You don’t want to lose your best employees over a continuing schedule conflict. And who knows, it may be the first step in creating a new cycle for your business.

The new cycle...

Happy employees lead to happy customers.

Happy customers lead to repeat revenues.

Repeat revenues lead to more tips creating happy employees.



*For the sake of this article, we are discussing increased revenue since repeat business will drive higher revenue. We will discuss profitability and margin in a future article as labor scheduling has a huge impact on you bottom line and deserves its own article.

Want more Labor Scheduling tips? Check out 7 Restaurant Labor Scheduling Best Practices and Labor Scheduling (Part One): The Labor in Labor Scheduling.

Jennifer Day

Jennifer Day

Jennifer Day has over 16 years of experience in the marketing and communications field. Before joining the Ctuit marketing team, Jennifer previously worked at a major telecom company and was in marketing communications for a major point of sales (POS) manufacturer and software provider. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge on POS technologies, software and back office systems and the understanding of how they all work together to create a seamless customer experience while increasing profitability.