As a restaurant owner or manager, you know that staffing can be one of the biggest challenges. Not only do you have to find the right people for the job, but you also have to figure out the best way to schedule them. You don’t want to overwork them or leave tasks undone.

And if your business is open 24 hours, creating a 24-hour shift schedule for your restaurant can be even more daunting, especially if you’re trying to accommodate the needs of full-time and part-time employees.

In this guide, we’ll give you an overview of some of the most popular 24-hour shift schedules for restaurants. 

Does a 247-shift schedule work?

24-hour shift schedule may give your team members longer stretches of time off work and allow them to run errands during daylight hours. But there are some drawbacks too. People who work 24/7 schedules may experience more fatigue and depression than those on traditional 9-5 schedules.

Despite all these challenges, it is possible to develop a 24-hour shift schedule that meets both the needs of your workers and the demands of your business. With a little bit of planning using the right digital tools, you can minimize scheduling conflicts while also reducing burnout and high staff turnover rates

Creating a 24-Hour Shift Schedule

When creating a 24-hour shift schedule for your restaurant, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to decide how many employees you’ll need on each shift. This will depend on the size of your restaurant and the forecasted number of customers. Once you have an idea of the staffing needs, you can begin creating the schedule.

To start, decide which days and hours you want your restaurant to be open. Then, create a list of all the employees who will be working each shift. Include their name, job title, and contact information. Once you have all the employees’ information, you can start creating the schedule itself.

When creating the schedule, be sure to include breaks for meals and rest periods. You should also leave some flexibility in the schedule in case of last-minute changes or cancellations. Once you’ve created the schedule, send it out to all employees.

Types 24-Hour Shift Schedules

There are a few different types of 24-hour shift schedules that you can use in your restaurant. The most popular options are 8-hour, 10-hour, 12-hour, and 16-hour shifts.

8-Hour Shifts: The most common type of 24-hour schedule is the 8-hour shift. This is typically used in restaurants that are open late at night and don’t need coverage for the entire day. For example, a bar or nightclub might use this type of schedule.

10-Hour Shifts: A 10-hour shift is similar to an 8-hour shift, but with two additional hours tacked on at either the beginning or end of the day. This type of schedule is often used in restaurants that serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

12-Hour Shifts: A 12-hour shift is a longer version of the 8-hour shift. It’s typically used in restaurants that are open all day and need continuous coverage. For example, a 24-hour diner might use this type of schedule.

16-Hour Shifts: The longest type of 24-hour shift is the 16-hour shift. This is typically used in very large restaurants or those that have extended hours on weekends. It’s also common in some hospital cafeterias and other food service operations where there’s a high demand for service around the clock.

24-hour shift coverage examples

When it comes to 24-hour shift coverage, restaurant owners and managers have a lot to consider. There are many different ways to schedule employees, and no one way is perfect for every restaurant. However, there are some 24-hour shift coverage examples that can help you determine what will work best for your business.

Fixed shifts

Scheduling employees for the same shift every day eliminates potential confusion and guesswork around who will be working on which day. Businesses can plan better for staffing when they know what customer demands will be on which shifts.

Planning for greater demand at certain times of the year or during certain weather conditions is easier when you know what those shifts are going to look like. It’s important to remember that all employees need time off, so you’ll need to have more than the bare minimum number of employees on hand to fill all the shifts.

Rotating shifts

Rotating shifts can be a more fair way for employees to work because it gives everyone the opportunity to work all of the different types of shifts, instead of just the “good” or “bad” ones.

There are several ways that rotating shifts can be implemented:

  • Constant rotating schedule: In this, an employee’s hours change every week. They could work both day and night shifts in the span of one week.
  • Slow rotating schedule: Slow rotating schedule: As the name suggests, shift changes happen over several months, giving people plenty of time to plan their lives around the upcoming schedule.
  • Weekend rotating schedule: In this type, all employees take turns working during the weekends. There is no fixed weekend schedule and the days and times are decided based on the availability of employees.
  • 8-hour shifts with rotating weekends: This is a typical schedule used by many restaurants and hotels.
  • Partial rotating schedule: This type of rotational scheduling is very popular. A few workers have a regular shift, while the rest work on a rotating basis.

Swing shifts

Swing shifts are popular in workplaces that need around-the-clock coverage or a steadier workflow. With a swing shift, employees’ start and stop times vary each day, as opposed to everyone having the same set hours.

These can be mixed in with standard fixed shifts so there’s always someone on hand to cover the transition between one shift and the next. Because there are more shifting schedules with a swing shift system, it requires a bigger employee base–which also makes scheduling more complex.

The bottom line

When deciding if 24-hour shift coverage is right for your restaurant, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully. Consider your staffing needs and your guests’ needs before making a decision.

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