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The year is 2018, and modern restaurants are beginning to realize that scheduling with Excel just doesn’t cut it for the functionality that is needed for maximum efficiency.

Creating a staff schedule in 2018 and beyond is a dynamic process with constantly changing factors, such as staff availability, vacation requests, or variable sales.

Excel has proven itself to be a time consuming and cumbersome affair for scheduling, most notably because it is a one-way tool – managers have to constantly inform staff of changes made. What a time suck!

Shifts are rarely set in stone and often change quickly, which easily leads to headaches for managers who must stay on top of changing requests and make sure the entire team knows about those changes.

According to Snag, a marketplace for hirers and job seekers, managers spend approximately 25 percent of their time making a schedule each week and dealing with schedule management issues, such as shift swaps.

That’s a long time to spend using an inefficient tool. However, scheduling doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, once you have the proper tools you can make scheduling something that you will look forward to completing. Here is why using a dedicated schedule tool beats Excel every time.

Always Up-To-Date

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The one-way nature of Excel means that whenever there are updates to be made to the schedule, a new version of the schedule has to be sent out to employees. This is very time-consuming and cumbersome, especially when changes are coming at you frequently. For this reason employees often do not know if the version of the schedule they have is the “final” one, which leads to missed shifts and miscommunication.

With a cloud-based scheduling tool you can eliminate this miscommunication because shifts are constantly updated. The moment you make an update to the schedule, all of your employees will have access to their most up-to-date shifts, and can be alerted if their shifts change. This virtually eliminates the excuse of “I didn’t know I was suppose to work?!”

With online restaurant scheduling software, you can also accommodate last-minute time-off requests from staff using free mobile apps –  such as the one 7shifts offers. With a scheduling app, you can easily approve requests or update availability on the fly, which are then incorporated into your schedule.

Better Communication

According to Forbes, two of the top five reasons employees are unhappy at work directly relates to a lack of communication. Scheduling with Excel can only exacerbate this problem. Nobody wants to show up to work only to realize they weren’t scheduled, feel that their vacation requests are not being taken into consideration, or ended up playing phone tag with another member of their team.

Just as SinglePlatform offers multipleoutlets for you to provide customers menu information, restaurant scheduling software offers a variety of ways to communicate with your employees.

Employee scheduling software allows staff to communicate directly with one another using messaging and team chat, as well as provides managers the ability to send one-way announcements to their staff for things like special events or even tonight’s special.

If an employee can’t make a shift, it’s easy for them to let their coworkers know or even help find a shift replacement, saving managers time in having to reach out to each employee individually.

This connectivity closes the communication loop between everyone on your team – ensuring excellent communication and job satisfaction, which in turn leads to increased staff retention.

Make Payroll More Accurate

Payroll can be a headache for even the most experienced restaurant manager due to constantly changing shifts and swapping between employees. Not only is it tough to stay on top of payroll, it is always very time consuming – over a quarter of small business owners spend up to five hours a month dealing with payroll, according to Score, a non-profit that mentors small businesses. Payroll is also unforgiving – if the numbers are slightly off, then the calculations must be done all over again, or worse, the employees are paid incorrectly.

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When scheduling with Excel, payroll problems can easily add up due to human error, such as calculating payroll with an outdated schedule that does not accurately reflect who worked when. Nobody wants angry employees who have not been properly compensated.

Employee scheduling software can help avoid these pitfalls listed above by integrating with your restaurant’s existing payroll system to sync the hours that are actually worked with the proper pay. This takes human error out of the equation and can allow you to let out a sigh of relief knowing everything is accurate.

Look for a scheduling tool that comes with either direct payroll export or comes with integrated time and attendance, which can help eliminate manual errors that result from improperly updated Excel spreadsheets.

Automation & Time Savings

Excel is great for saving time calculating data using formulas, and automating simple calculations, but as powerful as it is, it has no way to automate the creation of your staff schedule every week.

This is where scheduling software really shines. Similar to how you can use SinglePlatform to automatically post to your social media feeds, restaurant scheduling software you can set up schedule templates to help you create your schedule automatically. This efficiency and time savings means you can spend more time on other parts of your business that need your attention.

And remember that automation doesn’t just end with schedule creation. With dedicated restaurant scheduling software you can automate tasks like overtime alerting, shift reminders and more to help make you time on repetitive tasks.

In Closing

Don’t make life harder than it has to be – working in hospitality is hard enough already! It is up to a manager to use all the latest tools at their disposal to create efficiencies in order to stay competitive and profitable. Making the switch from Excel to a dedicated scheduling tool may take some adjustment because Excel is what you and your team are used to, but once you make the switch, you’ll never look back!


About the Author: Eric Stober is a freelance content producer for 7shifts, an employee scheduling platform built for restaurants. Eric has written for publications such as Global News and the Toronto Star, and has a keen interest in travel, technology, entrepreneurship, spirituality and mindfulness.

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