There’s an app for everything these days, and managing restaurant staff is no different. In fact, there are quite a few good ones to choose from, and there are plenty of benefits to bolstering your management efforts with technology. First, any app is an easy way to have a lot of information organized and on your person at all times. Restaurant scheduling apps also allow users –– in this case, you and your chefs, chefs’ assistants, servers, greeters, busboys and bartenders –– to follow developing situations in real time, keep up with changes, and generally stay on top of things.
Other benefits to using a restaurant scheduling app include easy sharing of work schedules, improving staff accountability, keeping an eye on payroll costs, giving staff the freedom to swap shifts at their convenience, and never having to call everyone on your employee list to find out who can come to cover for someone whose baby caught a cold.
All in all, if you own or run a restaurant and don’t use any scheduling app, you’re definitely missing out!
What’s the best restaurant scheduling app? Is any any free scheduling software? So many questions, but don’t worry. If you’re not quite sure where to start, take a look at this neat and handy list to figure out which app will be best for your establishment.
Zoomshift: a restaurant scheduling app for smaller businesses
Zoomshift is mainly directed at smaller businesses, ones with an absolute maximum of 200 employees (though the creators themselves say 15-40 employees is the sweet spot), so if you run a huge chain, this is probably not the software for you. One of Zoomshift’s biggest advantages is its affordability –– all it costs is $2 per active user per month. Its interface is clear and well-organized, and the app looks good on both desktop and mobile devices. Employees using Zoomshift can conveniently clock in using their mobile devices, but the built-in GPS feature prevents them from doing so if they are not at work. Zoomshift allows for group announcements and integrates with Intuit QuickBooks. It can also be integrated with iCal and Google Calendar, though those integrations are available only when the more expensive plans are purchased. One commonly cited downside is the customer phone support, which is only available during office hours, meaning that any problems occurring in the evening have to wait until the next day to get taken care of.
Schedulefly: the restaurant scheduling app of choice of thousands of establishments
Schedulefly has been chosen by over 6,000 restaurants across the United States and is gaining popularity in other parts of the world, as well. It offers potential users a free trial, after which the basic software plan costs $30 per month for businesses with 19 employees or less, and progressively higher fees for larger businesses. One thing that sets Schedulefly apart from the competition is its Job Post tool that makes it easy to post your job offer over social media and Craigslist. Schedulefly provides managers with a daily crib sheet to remind them who’s working, who’s got the day off, and any any events or meetings they had planned for that day. It’s enough to read a few reviews of Schedulefly to see just how much managers love that seemingly simple feature! The software also allows for the uploading of files and documents to the cloud for easy sharing later on. The main con is that Schedulefly went years without an app, meaning any and all activity had to take place via a browser, which could be a bit of a hassle. The app currently exists, but there have been many complaints about it freezing, so using Schedulefly via the web still seems to be the best way to go.
Better Chains: a problem-solving restaurant scheduling app
Better Chains prioritizes dealing with typical problems that plagues restaurants the world over –– high turnover, unclear menus, and bad reviews. It also helps with recruitment and training, including all-important issues such as background screening and interview scheduling, and performance assessments. There are several different plans available, starting with the Coffee Shop plan that costs $39 per month per location and covers up to 20 employees, to a custom plan for restaurants with up to 10 locations and over 60 employees. Better Chains also offers Live Online training for managers just getting started with the app. The software is cloud-based, and works well on mobile devices.
7shifts: a restaurant scheduling app for gourmets
7shifts is an app tailor-made for bars and restaurants that has been widely praised for helping businesses optimize labor costs and meet their labor targets. It is also so easy to use that some reports have it reducing the amount of time spent on creating employee schedules by 80%. 7shifts has made communication between managers and employees easy as pie, too, with the in-app chat and instant notifications letting employees know if their time off request has been approved or not. What’s more, it allows managers to create special events, such as an employee’s birthday, making it easier to predict and accommodate changes made to the schedule. And because it was designed specifically for the restaurant industry, it also allows managers to set a prompt that pops up on a server’s device at the end of their shift reminding them to declare tips.
The company offers a free 2-month trial followed by four plans aptly named “Appetizer” ($18 per month per location), Entree ($40 per month per location), “The Works” ($70 per month per location) and “Gourmet” ($125 per month per location). Though not for everyone, the Gourmet plan offers truly impressive features such as a dedicated account manager, labor compliance tools, and full organization rollout. Devices supported include Android phones and tablets and iPhones and iPads, and a web version is available as well.
Hubstaff: a restaurant scheduling app for $7
Hubstaff is directed at small to midsize businesses (SMB) and starts at $7 per user per month, with the Premium Plan costing just three dollars more, or $10. The software can be installed on mobile devices as well as desktop computers. Like Zoomshift, Hubstaff has geolocation features, making it easy to track where your employees have been and how much time they spent there. Hubstaff also automates the payment process to a great extent –– invoice sums are automatically calculated based on the time each employee worked and their pay rate. If the automatic payroll feature is enabled, said invoices will get paid on time without anyone ever having to manually approve them. This can, of course, be a little risky, but if you run a tight ship, it will make your job as a manager a lot easier.
One of Hubstaff’s most controversial features is its ability to take screenshots of an employee’s laptop or desktop computer throughout the day. As you can imagine, this feature has been immensely popular with managers who want to make sure their employees don’t spend too much of their work hours scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, especially with all of the remote work going on right now. While this has caused some outcry among employees who feel that their privacy is being infringed upon, Hubstaff maintains the screenshot feature is not so much about spying on employee’s computers as it is about the possibilities that analyzing large amounts of such screenshots give managers. Being able to follow their employees’ work step by step is great for assessing which tools are actually effective and useful on a day to day basis, and which can be disposed of to cut costs. Either way, controversy aside, Hubstaff is one of the most popular restaurant scheduling software out there.
Whew, that was quite the mouthful! If you weren’t already in awe of how modern technology makes our lives easier every single day, we hope you are now genuinely impressed with the great number of things a restaurant scheduling app can help your business out with. Running a restaurant is no easy task, and you likely know that better than anyone. So maybe it’s time to do yourself a favor and pick the right software to help you start reaping the benefits true organization can bring to your bar or restaurant.