Shortage of labor leaves your existing employees under pressure. This can cause last-minute hassles and impulsive decisions to get the food out. Some of these decisions can turn around and bite right back at the restaurant in the form of unhappy customers

FREMONT, CA: Holiday seasons can be tricky and have the potential to make or break a restaurant, depending upon the kind of customer service they offer. The tricky part lies in maintaining the right balance of customer satisfaction, employee morale and profitability. Restaurant owners must prepare a working schedule that is built around all of these aspects. Things get even more complicated when managers have to deal with requests for time off, additional hours, extended holidays, and early closures.

The whole process, if not done to perfection, can go sideways, in two different directions. It could either lead to overstaffing or understaffing. Overstaffing will result in lower profits as restaurants will have to maintain running costs, while the sales may not be as usual. Employers often end up releasing employees earlier than usual, leading to underpaid employees. Having more employees than required also means unproductive employees whom the company has to remunerate, regardless of whether they have work or not. At the same time, understaffing can hamper the quality of your service, damaging the restaurant's image in the long run. Shortage of labor leaves your existing employees under pressure. This can cause last-minute hassles and impulsive decisions to get the food out. Some of these decisions can turn around and bite right back at the restaurant in the form of unhappy customers.

Here are three tips for restaurant managers to optimize the scheduling process and make the best of the holidays.

Forecast based on Historical Sales Trends

Using data from historical sales trends can help understand what strategies to apply in the future. By paying attention to peak sales hours and non-rush hours, managers can know when they need to up their workforce and when they need to cut back. Integrating this with the qualities of the staff can lead to greater efficiency. For instance, placing your fastest and most efficient team during peak hours can help tackle the rush and also maximize profits.

Set a Firm Deadline for Time off Requests

The scheduling process becomes much simpler when you have a fixed deadline for employee requests. It gives managers adequate time to plan well in advance for the holidays and identify which is the most optimum placement of each available employee. Make sure the plans are laid out based on who wants to be there for work. Having someone who is unhappy at work will never result in positive outcomes.

Offer Incentives for Unpopular Shifts

Small incentives can often make a huge difference, especially in the case of shifts that employees would not like to cover. Free meals, bonus pays, or an extra day off are some of the standard incentive schemes that managers can make use of to keep the workplace morale high.

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