April 30, 2018

Anyone who owns or manages a business occasionally has to face the problem that too many of their workers want to take time off within a given period. This issue can become a serious conflict for someone who has earned a culinary arts certificate online and used their expertise to establish a restaurant or catering company. You may want to be as accommodating as possible to the people who prepare and serve great food day in and day out, but there have to be limitations.

When the summer rolls around, and workers need some leeway in their calendar to handle child care or want to head off for family vacations, you have to be ready. Alleviate the challenges of maintaining a practical schedule as the requests for time off pile up by setting clear, consistent policies. By following best practices for managing vacation requests, you’ll be able to keep your business operating at its best while also allowing employees to take a break spend time with their loved ones whenever possible.

Keep schedule creation consistent

“Set a specific time when you post a new schedule, and stick to it.

One of the most important things you can do to keep the calendar in order is setting a specific time of the week or month when you post a new schedule and sticking to it. If you say the schedule will be up every Thursday at 4 p.m., it should be up at that time without fail. That way, your employees always know exactly when they can expect to see their upcoming shifts and plan accordingly.

Maintaining consistency for scheduling means you know precisely how long you can continue to accept requests for shift changes or vacation days, and so do your workers. Occasionally, emergencies will come up, but if employees are aware of their deadline, it’s a lot easier to manage their needs.

Rotate time off

A well-defined system for vacation time can go a long way to keep workers feeling that they are treated fairly. If employees see one of their coworkers taking significantly more vacation time than other people, it might create a perception of favoritism. Establishing a rotation is a good way of ensuring a manager doesn’t unwittingly create a tense situation by catering to the needs of an outspoken employee while ignoring quieter ones.

Keep a written record of when people have asked for time off in the past and refer back to it when considering requests. Prioritize time off for the people who have been working their shifts steadily for months, and push back if someone is requesting vacation too frequently. In addition to the rotation, allow workers with comparable skills to trade shifts so they can have flexibility without leaving the restaurant short-staffed.

Waiter serving table on patio.If your restaurant has a patio open during the summer, you may need more help.

Consider bringing in seasonal help

In some cases, the best idea might be to hire additional help for the summer. Some restaurants experience periods of increased business during the warmer months, especially if they have a pleasant patio area. Covering the additional tables outdoors can be a challenge, especially if you have a worker out for a week.

You may find that recruiting students or other temporary workers can alleviate some of the pressure on your permanent staff. Bringing these employees up to speed and integrating them with the usual workforce involves its own challenges, but these arrangements are often the most feasible approach.

Maintain employee morale

A restaurant or catering company cannot function without the proper combination of skilled people, so management must ensure they have a full team in place for each day. However, it’s also important to keep those people engaged with their work and enthusiastic about doing their part. Whenever handling requests for days off, try to be sympathetic to their needs so they keep producing great results at every meal.