October 31, 2022

Make Restaurant Shift Scheduling Simple with Artificial Intelligence


It’s 6 pm on a Friday, and your host has a line of people waiting for a table. The latest guest to enter asks, “why is there a 45-minute wait when there are dozens of empty tables?”

Unfortunately, that question is being asked at restaurants across the country. While more and more people are once again dining out, restaurants are closing sections and reducing their hours because don’t have enough staff to keep the place running at capacity.

As chef Brian Duffy put it in Bar & Restaurant Magazine, “We are no longer interviewing employees to come to work, we are being interviewed to see if they want to work for us.”

Aside from low wages, a big staff complaint is constantly changing schedules. One minute they are on the schedule, but a day or even an hour before their shift, they find out they’ve been cut. Alternatively, staff has plans to spend time with friends and family on their night off but get called in to cover for someone out sick. Even worse is showing up and being told to go home early because it’s not busy or finding themselves scheduled for the dreaded “clopen” shift. They get home at two or three a.m. after closing, grab a few hours of sleep and must be back to prep for lunch by 9 am.

Creating Ideal Restaurant Employee Schedules

Creating schedules that satisfy everyone is a seemingly impossible task. Not only does each staff member have a different concept of a reasonable schedule, but it’s also difficult for managers to predict crowds day-to-day, and what works for one location may not work for another. What if you could accommodate everyone and accurately predict the lulls and rushes?

A scheduling solution powered by artificial intelligence (AI) is the perfect tool for the restaurant industry’s complex scheduling needs. AI isn’t meant to replace the human scheduler; its role is that of an assistant to help with tasks that humans find challenging.

For example, AI is great at remembering years of historical data, such as busy and slow times and complex rule sets and then quickly applying that knowledge to automatically create an ideal schedule. It also excels at taking in large quantities of permutations—like employees’ different shift preferences, open and closing responsibilities, and even keeping track of minors’ hours—and calculating a solution.

Humanity Scheduling Backed by AI

Artificial intelligence is the perfect tool to help you build schedules that keep your staff happy, reduce employee turnover and ultimately increase customer satisfaction. You can rest assured that the right talent is scheduled for the right shift at the right time.

While AI scheduling may sound like a complex system (and it is behind the scenes), it’s quite simple in practice.

When using Availability Management, you empower your employees to co-own the shift planning process by allowing them to input their availability. They can also use the app to swap shifts without having to involve a manager. You are providing the work-life balance they are looking for, and they are making the scheduler’s job much more manageable.

Humanity’s Open Shift provides fairness and flexibility for both schedulers and employees by letting employees bid for open shifts right from their mobile devices. By giving your employees part ownership of their shift scheduling in these ways, they get the flexibility they desire, and you get a firmer commitment that they will show up.

Minors are often a vital restaurant labor force, but they also bring special requirements. The ability to easily create Custom Rules ensures your business complies with all labor laws and accommodates the matching of schedules with school calendars.

TCP’s Humanity Scheduling, powered by AI, does all this and much more. We believe in giving our clients the tools they need to easily customize the system based on their requirements but also provide them with templates that will suit many situations. If an AI-powered employee-scheduling system sounds like something your organization could benefit from, you can read more about it here.