5 steps for managing your staff rotas

In the restaurant industry, scrupulous organisation is essential for ensuring optimal team coordination, managing staff turnover and coping with fluctuations in activity. The creation and management of staff rotas is one of the fundamental steps for the smooth running of a restaurant. 

Here is a short summary of the steps you should follow to correctly manage your restaurant staff rotas:

  1. List all the tasks to be carried out
  2. Determine staffing requirements
  3. Write job descriptions
  4. Plan and manage shift rotas in an optimised way
  5. Find staff scheduling software.

1 - List all the tasks to be carried out

The first step in creating a staff rota is to make a list of all the everyday tasks that need doing.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of the tasks involved in running a restaurant:

Next, calculate the time allocated to each of these tasks every day. In this way, you can be sure that you are covering your actual needs and not under or overestimating the manpower required.

2 - Determine staffing requirements

You can now determine your staffing requirements and the type of contract for each employee (permanent, temporary, casual, seasonal, etc.), based on the time required to accomplish each task. This will also depend on your restaurant’s capacity and its rush hours (lunchtimes or evenings, weekdays or weekends, school holidays, etc.).

As well as permanent staff, you should consider having to hand a list of casual staff agencies that you can contact to cope with staff turnover and emergency staff replacements (e.g. an unexpected rush, absence of the head chef, head waiter or a server).

3 - Write job descriptions

You should then write up a clear and concise job description for each position, so that each member of staff knows exactly what is expected of them.

The job description should include the job title (e.g. server), main responsibility (e.g. serving in the dining room), job-related duties (cleaning and maintenance of the restaurant, setting up tables, handing out menus, taking orders, etc.), working conditions, job requirements, etc.

4 - Plan and manage shift rotas in an optimised way

In the restaurant sector, a rotating schedule is generally used to ensure equal working conditions and provide greater flexibility for adapting to eventual contingencies.

You should take the following into account when planning rotating schedules and organising shifts: 

  • Rules stipulated in the Horeca (hotels and restaurants industry) collective agreement covering paid holidays, bank holidays, etc. 
  • Forecast number of covers according to demand and rush hours 
  • Hours and days to be covered
  • Planned overtime and make-up time
  • Employee individual constraints and days off.

Attention: to properly manage restaurant shifts, you must comply with labour legislation. As overtime is common in the restaurant business, you need to be extra careful to ensure that you respect the legal working hour limit. 

Remember that a full-time employee must not exceed ten working hours per day, 48 working hours in the same week, and 44 working hours per week over a period of 12 consecutive weeks. In addition, an employee is entitled to a break of at least 20 minutes after six hours of work (see Service-public.fr to find out more). 

Staff rotas should be structured, balanced, fair and flexible enough to cope with the fluctuations inherent in the restaurant sector.  

You can update rotas on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Anticipation is key – inform your staff of any changes in advance (at least one week beforehand). 

5 - Look for staff scheduling software

Managing your restaurant staff rotas is key to guaranteeing your customers fast, efficient service, avoiding stressful situations and ensuring staff wellbeing.

However, staff scheduling can be somewhat complex and onerous to set up, which is why you should look for time-saving digital solutions to streamline the management of your restaurant.

With intuitive and collaborative staff scheduling solutions, you can manage rotas seamlessly, plan the distribution of tasks and schedule hours. Employees can request to swap or offer a shift and request time off in just a few clicks. The app will notify you in real time via an alert. 

Examples of restaurant staff scheduling software include:

If you do not want to use scheduling software, you can always create your rotas on a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel). Remember to print out and display the rota in your restaurant so that staff can easily see it. 

For more tips on running a restaurant, check out our other articles: 

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