4 Factors to Consider When Planning Your Employee Roster

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Managing your store’s roster is not an easy task, especially when there are over 500 work patterns to choose from, while considering employee safety, health, and productivity. Being the manager or owner of a restaurant means you may have to work around the clock. Thus, it can wreak havoc on your employees if you are not able to arrange your shifts effectively.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic solution that fits all problems. Restaurants often follow a plan which suits their workflow and staff. What works for them might prove detrimental to your crew. Hence, make sure that you have an appropriate plan for your restaurant.

Shift rotation is an effective way to equalize work schedules as each staff is allocated a predetermined number of specific shifts every month. However, it gives birth to a new set of complexities such as scheduling cycles, staff to crew ratios, and much more. Let’s take a look at a few tips you must know before you create a particular schedule for your restaurant.


1. Weekly requirements

The best way to determine the workforce you need during the day and night is to analyze the sales forecast and the staff required to handle that pressure throughout the day. Do your homework. Find out the peak times of activity as it will help you divide your team effectively according to their level and skill. For instance, your store is more likely to face hordes of hungry people during the weekend, so keep a few extra staff at hand and adjust their shifts accordingly.

In an ideally-optimized restaurant, its operational needs are primarily driven by data. It’s key to determining the workload. Manpower plays a considerable role in a shift’s work schedule size when working around the clock. So, make sure you have the weekly requirements all laid out in front of you before you decide on shift timing and sizes. 

2. Employee size and shift length

As mentioned before, there are over 500 round-the-clock scheduling patterns. Some are suited for large teams while some are only beneficial if you have a few workers.

Shift length is affected by two major factors, one being your employees and the other being operations. While longer shifts give employees more off days in a row, it could go to waste if you don’t have a big enough crowd. Overlapping shifts are also an option to consider, so give it a try, especially during peak hours.

3. Rotational vs Fixed shifts

There are various pros and cons of both rotational and fixed shifts. Rotational shifts are more flexible as it grants the opportunity for your staff to recuperate after a month of night shifts. However, it can affect their ability to adapt to a stable routine. On the other hand, although fixed shifts are easier to get used to, working overnights can also affect the performance of your staff. Make sure to discuss this with your employees. Take these factors into consideration when creating rosters and determining the length of your shifts.

4. Day offs

This is crucial to a healthy and well-functioning working environment. Employees are always concerned with their time off, especially while working night shifts. Unusual shift timings complicate life. The only time your employees are able to spend time with their friends and families is during the weekend. Employees always want their time off to coincide with the weekend. Know how to balance staff requirements. Physical demands of work can lead to fatigue, burnout, and in severe cases, departure. Be mindful of the decisions you take and if you intend to mandate work schedules, do it on a middle ground rather than asserting your own opinions on the matter.

After you’ve managed the basics, it’s time to concentrate on your shift patterns. Studies show lower accident rates, absenteeism, and enhanced morale whenever employees are included in the management process of deciding shift timings.

Finding a balance won’t be easy, but if you have, the next course of action is to maintain a clear line of communication between the management and your team. Relay any grievances from either side.

You may also plan yearly events where your staff gets to share their experience and thoughts on their schedules, similar to a survey. It can be an engaging way to prevent employees from feeling exhausted and resentful. There are lots of patterns to choose, but make sure to consult your employees before shifting them from one shift pattern to another.


Here are a few shift-schedule examples :

1. DuPont

High-risk, high reward. If your employees are looking for a week off next month because they have planned for a vacation, DuPont can be your ace in the hole. Keep your restaurant running while giving your employees some time to relax from an otherwise hectic routine that precedes the vacation. The DuPont relies on 12-hour shifts, with a massive 7-day off at the end of the 4th week. Give your employees something to look forward to at the end of the month.

2. 8-Hour Schedule

It is a standard schedule that has been used in restaurants since the prehistoric times. The main advantage is the gradual transition from night-to-day shifts with 2 days off every week. You can also overlap them with weekends if you plan carefully. It is a win-win for everyone. 

3. 10-hour schedule

If your restaurant is teeming with customers and you’re having a hard time servicing all of them, give this a try. The unique thing about this 4-3 schedule is that for one day of the week, all employees have to work on the same day, which you get to decide. Sunday afternoons can be a nightmare, even a disaster if you’re short on staff. Although it requires a bit of planning, this battering ram will handle even the toughest of doors out there.

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