Summer feeling is in the air! Everyone is breaking out their flip-flops and exchanging plans for summer vacations. With all this excitement in the air, you may already be getting time off requests from your waitstaff. Likewise, you are seeing a flood of former employees and new applicants who are off school for the summer and are ready to get to work. Balancing these two scheduling extremes throughout the hectic summer months can be complex, but here are some tips to help you manage the change requests.

Keep An Open Dialogue

Summertime and the holiday season are easily some of the most difficult times to accomplish your scheduling so you have enough waitstaff on hand to meet demand. The key to being able to handle the requests, have enough coverage, and keep your staff happy rests in managerial communication. There are some managers who only look at the names of their employees as data when scheduling without thinking of the human component. Treating your employees like they are only spots in a calendar is a good way to make your staff grumpy and inhibits your ability to get the coverage you need.

To avoid this, it is important to keep an open dialogue with your waitstaff during this hectic summer season. There are going to be some employees who want more time off to go on vacation or spend time with family. Even if these are your all-star employees, it is important to listen and discuss their scheduling requests to accommodate them as much as possible. Likewise, the employees who are in school and only there for the summer will likely want as many hours as possible. Ask your employees about what their summer schedule looks like so you can be proactive in your scheduling.

Hire With Clear Expectations

There will be a flood of employees coming back home from school who will want to be scheduled regularly at your restaurant. Before you rehire, it is important to look at all applicants as well as your current employees and make a plan. Following the first step of keeping an open dialogue will make hiring summer staff much easier! You will know the hours and availability of your current staff to understand what holes you will need to fill with summer help.

When you do decide who you are going to hire, it is important to set the expectations clearly. Be transparent about how often they will be working and if they are okay with that schedule, whether it is many hours or few. There may be some on your waitstaff who

Communicate With Staff on Scheduling Changes in the Fall

The staff that is going to be working at your restaurant spring, summer, fall, and winter should understand how the hours are going to fluctuate in the summer and fall. You should have an idea of what each employee’s availability is after keeping an open dialogue. Let them know what their schedule is going to look like and what they are going to have off. Then clearly outline how their hours will increase or decrease in the fall when the summer rush and help is out the door. Keeping your employees in the loop with clear expectations will prevent turnover issues.

will choose to go somewhere else if they aren’t getting the hours they want, so letting them know up front will save you from a hire scramble in the middle of summer.

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Matt Thompson

CEO of ShiftNote
Matt has let his lifelong passion of food and people lead him to 15 amazing years as a restaurant manager and another 9 years working as a Director with a major food service distributor. He has channeled this passion to help create and run ShiftNote. When he's not dominating the food service industry, he's spending time with his 4 children and cheering on the Tigers as a Mizzou Alumni.