How does your shop handle scheduling of hourly employees? Rules for requesting days off?

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Our policy is one week minimum advance request in writing (email or text fine), for each consecutive day requested off. If requesting 2 days then minimum 2 weeks advance, 5 days 5 weeks etc. AND requests are requests not guaranteed, scheduled on a first requested first off basis. Everyone can't have the same days off!

Also once schedule is posted any shift swaps must be approved in advance.

2 weeks minimum

That's a great explanation Danny! 25-29% is great. Thanks for sharing. 

Danny Heiss said:

It's a major pain in the ass. But totally necessary thanks to Obamacare. I see what we are averaging weekly sales, and then I find what my max hours need to be to fit in my wanted labor. Then I fill in the blanks. I run a short-order grill/ a la carte restaurant, so staffing my vary. We also have a drive-thru. This is how I structure it. In the morning before lunch I work 2-3 people, one of them being a manager. 10:30 - 2/3 I have no less then 5 staff with 1-2 managers; 2 staff out front (with optional full on barista), and 3 in the back. In the evening, I staff 3-4 for speedy closing and evening drinks...which right now seems to be a crap ton of smoothies and frappes. Current weekly labor is about 25-29%. 

If I had no restaurant, it would be way different. My current sales are a 60% food, and 40% drinks with a steady 3% increase in drink sales per month. Drive-thru traffic accounts for 25.4% of our business as of the end of July. That is also on a steady 3% increase per month.

Whatever you decide to do, it should be based off of your sales. And you should adjust your labor weekly to meet projected sales volume and based on your specific needs. 

Truthfully speaking, if I sansed the food I would do about 3000 a week in drinks. I would need only 1 other person working with me daily. I would likely have a nicer labor percentage, probably around 9%. However, I also choose to do the food because the community is desperate and needs it. And we sell more espresso with the food.

Edited for cursing. I have some friends watching out for me. lol

It's a major pain in the butt. But totally necessary thanks to Obamacare. I see what we are averaging weekly sales, and then I find what my max hours need to be to fit in my wanted labor. Then I fill in the blanks. I run a short-order grill/ a la carte restaurant, so staffing my vary. We also have a drive-thru. This is how I structure it. In the morning before lunch I work 2-3 people, one of them being a manager. 10:30 - 2/3 I have no less then 5 staff with 1-2 managers; 2 staff out front (with optional full on barista), and 3 in the back. In the evening, I staff 3-4 for speedy closing and evening drinks...which right now seems to be a crap ton of smoothies and frappes. Current weekly labor is about 25-29%. 

If I had no restaurant, it would be way different. My current sales are a 60% food, and 40% drinks with a steady 3% increase in drink sales per month. Drive-thru traffic accounts for 25.4% of our business as of the end of July. That is also on a steady 3% increase per month.

Whatever you decide to do, it should be based off of your sales. And you should adjust your labor weekly to meet projected sales volume and based on your specific needs. 

Truthfully speaking, if I sansed the food I would do about 3000 a week in drinks. I would need only 1 other person working with me daily. I would likely have a nicer labor percentage, probably around 9%. However, I also choose to do the food because the community is desperate and needs it. And we sell more espresso with the food.

I've seen a 10 day (or longer) lead time be put in place. So basically, if today is the 10th, the earliest day you can request off would be the 21st. -Chad

An update on labor. Sales dropped pretty hard over the winter, which was to my surprise. It took me a month to figure out that I needed to adjust labor again. I wish I had figured it out sooner. I paid for that month, ouch. But the following month I managed to bring it down in the mid 20%'s, which is great! I haven't checked it lately, but due to bad weather, I'm pretty sure it's not a few good months for us. We usually make labor adjustments every week though protectively, and during the day we check the sales and send people home where needed. You really need to keep an iron grip on your labor if you want to survive.

Ouch. I imagine that strings. Do you use mass text messaging to communicate with staff ever? For example, if you know you need to cancel a few shifts, you can use texting to let everyone know before they show up. If you're canceling more than one shift, this comes in handy. If its just one, I suppose you can just text the one person directly. I guess the point is mass texting can make things easier for you if you need to communicate with several people at once.

Danny Heiss said:

An update on labor. Sales dropped pretty hard over the winter, which was to my surprise. It took me a month to figure out that I needed to adjust labor again. I wish I had figured it out sooner. I paid for that month, ouch. But the following month I managed to bring it down in the mid 20%'s, which is great! I haven't checked it lately, but due to bad weather, I'm pretty sure it's not a few good months for us. We usually make labor adjustments every week though protectively, and during the day we check the sales and send people home where needed. You really need to keep an iron grip on your labor if you want to survive.

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