Optimizing Your Restaurant Staffing and Onboarding for a Successful Recovery

Understanding how to schedule and engage your staff is one of the most essential aspects of being a successful restaurant owner or operator. While the pandemic has impacted restaurants of all sizes over the past few months, the need to effectively manage and engage your staff has never been more pertinent in ensuring your restaurant’s continued viability. As states begin to lean toward an incremental reopening of restaurants, optimizing your restaurant’s staffing is one of the most cost-effective practices you can utilize to maximize your staff’s productivity to best position your business for a successful financial recovery.

Recruiting better candidates to re-engage your workforce

Though many restaurants have had to make the tough decision to either lay off or furlough their staff, with restaurants across the country beginning to reopen, the need to have a well-managed and properly trained staff becomes a crucial issue in determining your restaurant’s sustained success. Since recruiting your staff can be such an extensive undertaking, here are a few factors for you to consider when designing an effective recruiting and onboarding process to rehire and appropriately schedule your restaurant’s workforce.

Recruiting where your potential employees are searching

When looking to rebuild your restaurant’s workforce, it is crucial that you advertise your job openings where job seekers are searching. Since managing and reviewing your job postings across several platforms might prove to be more time-consuming than what you’d prefer, consider using an applicant tracking solution that automatically cross posts your job listings across various job boards and social media channels. Not only will this save you time, but you’ll be able to easily connect with broader and more qualified candidates. In addition to ensuring that you’re connecting with the right candidates, you might consider using a solution that engages with your top candidates that meets their preferred method of communication. Since Millennial and Generation Z applicants typically have a strong preference for text message communication, consider using a solution that features automated text messaging for you to quickly engage and respond to your top candidates. Though communication is key throughout the recruiting process, another important piece to consider when you’re reviewing your candidates is to assess their cultural alignment within your organization. To streamline this process, it’s best to use a scorecard to review each candidate’s cultural fit in terms to how they might interact with other members on your staff.

Onboarding your staff efficiently

Once you’ve identified the right candidates to hire, the next step in your candidate’s journey should involve an effective and engaging onboarding process. During this stage, you should utilize a system that promotes transparency into your restaurant’s policies and procedures, allowing your staff to have clear expectations into what their role necessitates and how they’re expected to communicate within your organization. At this point, you can also provide your new hires with a total compensation report that breaks down their earnings to give them full transparency of their take-home dollar amount. This total compensation report in tandem with providing your staff an outlet to have their voices acknowledged, will keep your staff more engaged and invested in the success of your restaurant’s operations, consequently improving your overall retention rate.

Although reducing your staff’s turnover rate is vital to controlling your restaurant’s labor cost, maintaining your restaurant’s compliance with accurate labor documentation is equally imperative. Since compliance is such an important factor to consider when onboarding your staff, having a system in place to properly organize and access your restaurant’s documentation is necessary when creating a simple and user-friendly onboarding process. Additionally, if you’re looking to minimize new hire documentation errors, you should utilize a system that clearly explains to your staff how to accurately fill out important tax forms, such as their I-9 or W-4. Having such a system in place will not only reduce your risk for tax penalties, but it will also keep you and your managers from having to correct clerical errors, giving you valuable time back in your workday. If you’re looking to further improve how your restaurant tackles its documentation management, then you might consider utilizing a solution that enables the exchange of data between your current systems, such as integrating with your POS, and your payroll provider to save you time in producing labor reports, like your staff’s timesheets.

Building a better schedule


Regardless of what business model your restaurant follows, how you build your staff’s schedule is only as effective as the data that it’s built around. Since COVID-19 has disrupted how restaurants have been able to reference their historical sales and labor data, being able to predict your restaurant’s financial performance is vital in producing an optimized labor forecast.

Though shifting to a takeout or delivery-only business model has affected how some restaurants have been able to forecast their labor requirements, for many restaurants, it has provided an additional opportunity to assess how to best schedule staff in relation to the restaurant’s service utilization (e.g., if your restaurant serves more takeout orders than delivery orders, you should schedule your staff to reflect the demand in your leading service type).

Since properly scheduling your staff is one of the most important things your restaurant can do to control your costs, having restaurant scheduling software that’s data driven, mobile friendly, easy to use, and goal oriented can offer your restaurant a unique competitive advantage that bolsters your staff’s job satisfaction, thereby improving your retention rate. Though building an effective schedule can improve your workplace morale, it can also improve the guest experience by aligning your staff’s individual tasks with a greater designated goal. Since the pandemic has made guests more conscious of dining sanitation than ever before, you can coordinate your scheduling to educate your staff on the importance of standard sanitary operating procedures to give your guests better peace of mind when dining at your restaurant. You can then utilize this collective goal to show your guests how your restaurant is prioritizing their safety via a professional and coordinated commitment from your entire staff.


Although the pandemic has restricted restaurant operations across the nation, being able to optimize your restaurant’s staffing and scheduling are some of the most efficient things you can do to improve your bottom line. From implementing a streamlined recruiting and onboarding process to creating schedules that are data driven and goal oriented, it’s more important than ever to maximize your staff’s productivity. While it’s uncertain as to when the pandemic will recede, it’s clear that prioritizing your restaurant’s immediate staffing needs will better position your business for future success.

R365 Scheduling enables you to create schedules based on sales forecasts to reduce your labor spend, save time, streamline the scheduling process and engage with employees. R365 Scheduling is integrated with R365 Payroll + HR, R365 Accounting Software and R365 Operations SoftwareSchedule a demo today.

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