A Coffee Shop Owners Guide to Manage Scheduling in a Busy Coffee Shop

It would be a coffee shop owner’s dream to have a business that floods in customers on a daily basis. With a well-run coffee shop that’s organised and well equipped to deal with the demand, this is a possibility. One of the major factors behind a successful coffee shop is scheduling correctly to prevent long queues and unhappy customers. It’s important to balance out managing demand whilst not being too overcrowded with your staffing.

What should you consider when scheduling staff and rota staff for different shifts at different times? Here are some helpful tips to ensure the management of your coffee shop is just right for your personal schedule, the schedules of your staff and your customers.

Get a good understanding of your peak times

A good way to start with managing your schedule is getting to grips on when your peak times are. You need to not only consider routine morning rushes, but also other parts of the day as well as seasonal periods and other determining factors around your area. Are you busiest during the winter months? Are you close-by to an educational facility where you may witness slumps at the time of the year?

These are common assumptions of any coffee shop in the business. To fully understand what your own peak times are, analyse your business data and figures to get an idea of when you have the most customers coming through and when you need your staff the most. By doing this, it can help you to manage the schedule of your staff and your own personal schedule. There may be occasions when you need to arrange emergency appointments for your plastic surgery or dental amendments, for example. Knowing when you’re least busy will provide flexibility for when you can arrange such appointments.

What is a reasonable number of staff to have on a shift?

Once you gain a better understanding of what your peak times are or when you’re the quietest, this can help you to know how many staff you should have on shift. Consider the size of the shop itself, what services you provide, who your most experienced staff are. All these factors should reflect on the number of staff you have working. At the same time, check local labour laws to ensure you’re within the guidelines of staff wellbeing and they’re not being overworked illegally.

Also, consider their roles in the business. Sometimes, you may automatically schedule two people with the same role on the same shift. This can not only help with efficiency when dealing with orders for customers but also provides a safety net if someone calls in for an emergency or for being sick.

Ensure you have the right staff at the right time

There are many different roles that are required in a busy coffee shop. A skilled barista, a waiter or waitress, a chef and a manager. Knowing when to schedule the right people can be just as important as the number of people that you schedule. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your staff to better determine whether they would be best suited to a different shift to others. 

It’s not only technical skills that should be considered too - what other soft skills are they good at? Their customer service, their relationships with other members of staff on the same shift, are they a big personality? These factors can contribute to the effectiveness of each member's productivity. Are there periods in the day where you’ll be able to partner experienced staff with new employees? There will come a time when the new employees will need to take up more responsibility. Learning from more experienced members will help to achieve that.

Scheduling can play a big part in your success

Scheduling can be a strenuous activity for coffee shop owners and it’s probably not the most fun part of the job. However, you can reap the benefits of correct scheduling with increased profits and customer satisfaction from your service. Be sure to take the time to analyse your business and plan around this. Consider what your staff’s preferable shifts are so morale can remain high and increase productivity.

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