New Software Tools Improve Restaurant Labor Management Practices

Labor scheduling is often one of the largest time commitments of store managers in the restaurant industry. Labor is also one of the biggest expenses for restaurants, and so optimization of labor management can make a big impact on the bottom line. It can be challenging to manage so many moving parts, but smart solutions are on the rise. With labor management and scheduling software, the system can take care of a lot of pain points save time, money, and hassle.

Labor Management Has a High Impact on EBITDA Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) can reveal the financial health and performance of a company. Labor and scheduling issues can have a high cost on EBITDA, cutting into your bottom line and negatively impacting your financial image. Store managers must walk a fine line between losing EBITDA due to over-staffing (high COGS) vs under-staffing (lost sales). It takes a deft hand to create a the right schedule to accurately account for future sales and traffic.

Labor Management is Constantly Changing – Not only is labor the most crucial resource to capture EBITDA, but labor is one of the more varied inputs, requiring even more time and energy from managers. A sesame seed bun is a sesame seed bun is a sesame seed bun. But, not every hour of work is created equal. Also, the sesame seed bun runs a lower risk of not showing up or of working over-time.

Low-Tech Labor Management Takes Time Better Spent Elsewhere The days of posting paper schedules to a bulletin board are behind us (or should be). Pen and paper schedules take time and effort away from other tasks and can be frustrating to compile. Then once they’re up, the shift change requests come in. It’s a wonder managers have any time left at all. A small step up from this is the excel spreadsheet or other simple scheduling tool. These are at least managed digitally, but if its not automating the processes, you’re missing opportunity for optimization.

Labor Management and Scheduling Software Makes a Difference – The booming technology and software industry has come up with some great solutions to this problem. Tools now exist that can do the heavy lifting for you, thereby freeing up your time to focus on training your great people to deliver great customer service.

The most comprehensive scheduling software will improve labor management by:

  1. Predicting required labor based on selected drivers

  2. Automating creation of labor schedules

  3. Streamlining the sharing of schedules

  4. Streamlining scheduling adjustments and shift change requests

  5. Sending alerts when red flags arise

Optimized Labor Shifts Based on Forecasting – Under-staffing and over-staffing both hurt your bottom line. Smart software can help you more precisely meet your labor demands by forecasting sales or guest counts, and then determining the optimum staffing requirements based on job and department. The system can then show the manager the suggested labor schedule, balancing not only for demand but worker preferences for volume of hours, time of day, and day of week, and then legal constraints such as over-time and half- or full-time. Once you have settled on the schedule, your software will distribute the schedule to your staff digitally.

Software Radically Improves Shift Change Requests – Labor management software isn’t just for the managers, either. These days, almost everyone has a smart phone or mobile device that can be put to good use. By pairing scheduling software with mobile applications, schedule distribution and shift change requests can be handled digitally and remotely. With the right scheduling apps, staff can swap hours amongst themselves without involving managers on the front end. With just a few taps on the phone, staff can request to drop or pickup shifts, propose swaps, or request time off.  Notifications are sent to the manager for approval, and voila, the system makes the change and notifies all concerned parties. With a best-in-class software system, all the manager has to do is tap on an alert and hit a button.

Don’t Get Caught Off Guard by Accidental Overtime – A gold-standard system will also check the schedule as you move through the week. The system looks for red flags for overtime, or staff spending working too many hours outside of their preferred periods. Overtime and regrettable attrition are expensive, and your labor scheduling system can help you avoid those expensive situations.

If your labor scheduling system is not doing these things, or to learn more about how to get the most out of your software, please contact us at 1(800) 933-4711 or visit the website at

Restaurant Magic Software has been providing advanced software solutions to the restaurant and hospitality industry for over 20 years. The robust Data Central Management Suite, the flagship product, is a powerful and flexible application that takes advantage of the latest technology trends to offer premier processing and analytics. With advanced forecasting, predictive scheduling and mobile technologies, Data Central has something for every problem. To learn more about Restaurant Magic Software and its products, call us at 1(800) 933-4711 or visit the website at