Creating schedules is difficult, even at a small business. That’s why most restaurants use a scheduling app of some sort to create and maintain weekly staff schedules. Employee scheduling software is a piece of technology that can seriously streamline the scheduling process of your restaurants.
Depending on the size of your restaurant, you may have a huge staff list. There are servers, cooks, busboys, hosts, managers, bartenders, and more who need to be present each shift to keep a restaurant running successfully.
The best restaurant scheduling software makes it easy to create schedules that work for everyone, and many come with other useful features as well. Check out the best scheduling tools for restaurants to find one that fits your restaurant business!
7 Best Restaurant Scheduling Software and Apps
- Employee scheduling and shift planning
- Attendance reporting
- Submit, review, and approve time off and availability in-app
- Accurate time tracking
- Online timesheets
- Payroll software for automated payments
- Employee monitoring through keyboard and mouse usage, URL tracking, screenshots, and more
- Activity tracking to measure productivity
- GPS tracking
- Online invoicing
- Project budgeting
- Tracks every step of employee schedules, from shift creation to payroll
- Easy to request and track availability and time off requests
- Geofencing and GPS tracking can tell if employees leave work, track breaks
- Productivity reports
- No POS integrations
- No communication or messaging tools
Hubstaff is one of the best, most comprehensive scheduling, payroll, and timesheet tools. On Hubstaff, your employees can find their schedules, submit availability and time off requests, clock in, track their time, and even automate payment! This scheduling tool can manage every step of employee management, and can even assign tasks and track productivity. Hubstaff is also great for remote work, so management can track their hours and tasks as well!
- Shift based scheduling with a drag and drop tool
- Free mobile app
- Factors in availability, overtime, and labor laws
- Sends schedules directly to staff email or phone
- Communication tools: group chat, direct messaging, announcements, shift feedback
- POS integration
- Weekly labor budget tool
- Engagement insights and reporting
- 20+ integrations
- Customer support and resources
- Free trial
- Plenty of great features
- Integrates with various POS systems
- Actionable reporting
- Free or lower budget plans don’t include all features
7shifts was made for restaurants, which is why it’s such a popular choice for restaurant owners. This software makes it easy to create shift schedules and has plenty of other features as well. This comprehensive scheduling software has all the tools you need and more, including POS integration with most major POS softwares. It also has great communication tools and useful reporting. This is our recommendation for the best restaurant scheduling software.
- Workforce management: find, hire, and train applicants
- Employee scheduling and labor cost forecasting
- Accounts for time off, PTO, availability, breaks, minor labor laws, and overtime
- Mobile app
- Communication: share information with your staff via the app, allows employees to access schedules, payslips, and more
- Allow employees to request shift swaps and allows manager approval or denial in-app
- Inventory, recipe, and menu management
- HR and payroll management
- POS integration
- Detailed analytics and reporting
- Plenty of scheduling and added features
- Makes shift swapping easier
- Integrates with POS
- Actionable reporting
- No pricing information available
- Mobile app isn’t free
- Not the best user interface
Fourth, formerly called HotSchedules, was made for the restaurant and hospitality industry, so it is tailored towards restaurant needs. This tool is for more than just scheduling, however, and has tools for workforce management, inventory management, HR and payroll services, and analytics. This comprehensive tool sounds great, but pricing isn’t listed, so it may get expensive. There are also common complaints of a slightly difficult interface, but once you’ve gotten used to the app it shouldn’t be hard to use.
When I Work
- Mobile scheduling app
- Scalable for single or multiple locations
- Accounts for availability, time off, etc
- Share schedules with staff
- Makes it easy to trade shifts or request days off
- Labor forecasting, payroll integration
- Assign and track team tasks
- Time clocks to track attendance
- Early clock in prevention
- Break management
- Applicant tracking software to hire and train new employees
- Free option
- Easy scheduling and plenty of useful features
- Mobile friendly
- Simple, intuitive app interface
- Free for most basic plan, other plans are affordable as well
- Less impressive reporting than other options
- Fewer third party integrations available
- Pricing is per user, which may not be ideal for larger restaurants
When I Work is another great scheduling option for restaurants, especially smaller ones. The free plan doesn’t have all the features, but it does allow easy scheduling and communication for a single location up to 75 users. The mobile app is easy to use, so employees can request time off and swap schedules with ease. The app can also function as a time clock itself, so you don’t have to integrate another tool to let employees punch in.
- Simple scheduling tool
- AI auto scheduling accounts for time off, availability, labor laws
- Sends employee schedules via desktop or mobile
- Mobile app for scheduling, communication, shift swapping, and more
- Break management
- Over 50 POS, payroll, and HR tool integrations available
- Time clock software and wage calculations
- Communication tools: group and individual messaging, shift requests, etc
- Free trial
- 24/7 support
- Easy scheduling, plenty of other features or integrations
- Mobile app
- Time clock software included
- Special pricing for charities or nonprofits
- Lacks hiring features that others have
- Pricing per user may not be best for larger restaurants
Deputy is another great tool for scheduling that restaurants should consider. They have most of the features offered by other tools, and there are plenty of third party integrations available to streamline all of your processes. The price per user model may not be the best option for larger restaurants with huge staffs, but other than the lack of a free plan, it is a fairly priced service.
- Online scheduling made easy
- Mobile app
- Accounts for availability, time off, overtime
- Allows different departments for different schedules
- Share schedules easy and update published versions
- Save schedule templates
- Communication tools: send staff updates via message or SMS, employee messaging, shift swapping, and requests
- Time clock in-app to punch in or out, export timesheets to payroll
- Reporting including payroll overview, labor forecasting
- POS, payroll, and other integration options
- Free trial
- Easy scheduling, lots of other features
- Time clock on same app as schedules
- 30 day free trial
- No break management or labor law breaks
- Price per user may not be ideal for larger restaurants
Planday is another great option for restaurants that need scheduling assistance. This software is easy to use, mobile friendly, and has other great features like a geo-fenced time clock included (although this costs $1 more per user per month). Planday is missing the break management that other platforms have, but this may not be a dealbreaker depending on your business.
- Comprehensive labor management tool
- Online schedule creation and mobile app access
- Employees can “self serve” input time off requests, shift swaps, etc.
- Create custom schedule templates
- Forecast and track labor budgets
- Communication tools: give employees access to published schedules, receive employee requests, send messages on app
- Payroll tool with wage and tax calculations
- Time clock tool with custom setting rules
- HR tool: hiring, employee onboarding, store employee documents, KPIs, and milestones
- Reporting on labor costs, sales, KPIs
- POS and accounting software integration
- 24/7 customer support
- All aspects of labor management in one tool: HR, scheduling, payroll, and time clock
- Plenty of useful scheduling and communication features
- 30 partners or integration options
- Helpful customer support
- Complaints of some glitches with the mobile app
- Pricing not listed
Push Operations is another scheduling software that was made with restaurants in mind. This software does more than just scheduling, however, and acts as a full labor management platform. It handles HR functions like hiring and onboarding, scheduling, payroll, and works as a time clock. With accounting and POS integration options, you can streamline your business on this platform. The pricing is not available without sign up, however, and some users complained of a glitchy app.
- Scheduling and workforce management tool
- Pre-Hire tools: talent attraction, applicant tracking, onboarding
- Smart scheduling system
- Set shift management rules: set rules for clocking in and out, shift swapping and pick up rules, wage and hour compliance rules
- Communication tools: share schedules, direct and group messaging, shift requests and approval tools, employee engagement options
- Biometric time clock tool with facial recognition
- Break management
- POS integrations
- Reporting and analytics
- Workforce management tool: hiring, training, scheduling, communication, time clock
- Extra features like facial recognition time clock, employee engagement
- Plenty of great scheduling features
- No pricing info
- Complaints of glitchy app and poor customer support
Harri is another restaurant scheduling software that does much more, acting as a full workforce management platform. This restaurant scheduling app has pre-hire and post-hire tools, so it handles almost all aspects of labor management. It has cool features like a facial recognition time clock. The app that functions like a social network, where you can post a news feed of info for your employees as well as share schedules, request swaps or time off, and more. The price is not available on their website, however, and some customers complained of glitches and less than ideal customer support.
How To Choose a Scheduling Software for Your Restaurant
Choosing an employee scheduling software can be difficult – it can be hard to understand how they work, the benefits of each, and which one will best fit your restaurant and your staff needs. There are certain features to look at when shopping for a restaurant scheduling app. Consider the following factors before committing to one software.
Restaurant businesses often have smaller profit margins compared to other businesses, so it’s important to set a budget and stick to it. If you’re opening a new restaurant and just creating a budget, figure out how much you can afford to spend on scheduling software. If you already have a restaurant but want to make it easier to create schedules, figure out how much wiggle room you have for this new piece of technology.
Most restaurant scheduling softwares are priced either by a flat monthly fee or a cost per user. Depending on the features you’re looking for and what your restaurant needs, you may be willing to pay extra for a higher end scheduling app. Always consider your bottom line when making a big decision for your restaurant, and choose the best scheduling software for your budget.
Shift Scheduling Capabilities
You’ll want software that makes it easy to create shift-based schedules. Our recommendations are easy to use, so creating a schedule won’t be such a hassle. The best scheduling software for restaurants also makes it easy to add in employee availability and leave to avoid conflicts.
How does the scheduling app communicate with employees and employers? Some restaurant scheduling tools will send employees their schedule right though the app, or they may have messaging options to ask about getting coverage for a shift. A scheduling software may even be able to send shift reminders to ensure employees arrive on time and don’t forget about shifts. Consider how communication works through your chosen scheduling software.
Is your scheduling app mobile friendly? The best scheduling softwares make it easy to view or even change schedules from a mobile device. Some scheduling apps are just that – apps where everything can be done from a smartphone.
Time Clock Functionality
Most shift scheduling tools can also act as a time clock, allowing employees to punch in and out to track their hours at work. This ensures that staff is arriving on time and sticking to their assigned schedules, and it makes the software useful for both purposes. Time clock capabilities make it so that your scheduling software also helps manage and track payroll.
Integration with Other Tools
Aside from time clocking, other tools can often be integrated with a restaurant scheduling software. A common integration is with your POS system. Point of sale integration can help improve reporting by including more factors, like staff costs, sales, and more. Shared data can help you learn more about how your restaurant is operating.