Using templates to rota hospitality teams

The use of rota templates in the hospitality industry can be divisive. They speed up the rota-writing process, but the risk is that the team become lazy and merely load a template and publish the rota. It’s quick and efficient, but not necessarily optimising the business and managing the labour cost.

For some, the idea of using a template rota has other drawbacks, including inflexibility, with staff preferences being lost in the mix. I am in the opposite camp. For me, the best way to write a rota is to start with a template, probably one that has been written with a lot of thought and refinement and at the nearest sales level below the target for the week.

For example, if you are forecasting a 25k week, you load the rota for a 20k week. Then, some time and energy can be spent refining that rota. You can adjust the kitchen team if someone is on holiday, find extra staff for that Saturday afternoon event, add someone onto a Saturday night to excel at service delivery and spend per head, and remove a few midweek shifts to meet the budget. Creating rotas this way gives assurance that you have enough staff to match demand and optimise business, whilst giving the flexibility needed for different occasions and different staff.

With improvements to the S4labour system, you can load template rotas by department with the team already assigned, or you can drag and drop the right people against the right shifts. You have visibility of deployment, and can stay on top of labour costs. Now, over 70% of rotas are written using templates, up from around 40% historically. Across the industry, operators are reducing rota-writing speed and refining output.

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