Intelligently Automated Employee-Centric Restaurant Workforce Management

May 11, 2023

by Kristin Brennan

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Restaurant workforce management is changing. According to a recent report from McKinsey Consulting, the “quit rate” in US retail and hospitality exceeds the overall US “quit rate” by more than 70 percent. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that restaurants and retailers invest in modern, intelligently automated, and employee-centric workforce management solutions to help them maximize labor efficiency and employee engagement simultaneously.


The Drive Toward Modernization

Like many industries, legacy systems can make labor challenges even worse. Legacy workforce systems were designed for the sole purpose of reducing labor costs. They were never about increasing employee engagement, and the UI and mobile app for the hourly employees was an afterthought, or even worse, the mobile app was something the employees had to pay to use. Legacy and manual systems can’t keep pace with the complexity of modern restaurants, only restaurant workforce management software can.

Managers can’t afford to spend 10 hours per week creating and maintaining schedules per location. And many in the hospitality industry are concerned with expanding their business to heavily regulated states because they don’t think their WFM systems can help them ensure compliance, which is particularly important given that almost 25% of all restaurant workers are minors. Compliance rules are complex, vary by state and city, and constantly change. Businesses face a $10,000 fine for their first compliance violation.


Restaurant Workforce Management: Labor Optimization

A critical step for restaurants is to precisely predict demand by location and channel to create optimized schedules. Legion Demand Forecasting analyzes hundreds of thousands of data points, including weather and local events, to automatically predict demand by location and channel in 15-minute increments so managers can instantly create optimized schedules. For those with large operations, schedule optimization is critical. With precise demand forecasts, managers can ensure they have the right staff with the right skills in the right place and time. And with workforce sharing, managers can share employees with critical skills across locations to ensure restaurants are staffed appropriately for peak periods.


Optimized, Automated Scheduling and Skills Development

Creating and managing schedules for managers with large restaurants can be a considerable burden. A leading QSR restaurant reported spending more than 10 hours per week per location on scheduling activities. Employees left sticky notes in managers’ offices to tell them about time off requests, which is an inefficient and ineffective process.

Restaurant workforce management software can drastically improve this. With Legion WFM, managers saved 7-8 hours per week in scheduling time, leaving more time to focus on operational excellence by engaging team members and guests. Schedules are automatically created based on manager and team member availability and matching skill sets. Legion’s Automated Scheduling enables managers to instantly create higher-quality schedules. Managers are automatically notified if they make a schedule edit that puts an uncertified team member in an inappropriate role. Legion’s Automated Scheduling gives general managers more time to focus on team member development. They utilize the badging system in Legion WFM to certify team members in different roles. Now general managers can spot where they need more certified team members in each role and work on cross-training them and improving skills.


Employee Retention

Finally, employee retention is essential to restaurant workforce management. High turnover rates can be costly and disruptive to the business. To retain employees, restaurant managers should provide employees with schedule and pay flexibility, a positive work environment, competitive compensation, and opportunities for advancement.

Legion WFM is proven by a Forrester Total Economic Impact Report to reduce attrition by 5%. Employees get gig-like schedule flexibility and control. Employees can indicate their scheduling preferences from a 4.8 app store-rated mobile app and update them anytime. Legion’s restaurant workforce management software automatically matches business needs with employee skills and preferences 96% of the time. With easy-to-use self-service tools, employees can easily swap shifts and claim shifts even at other locations, increasing their earning potential.

Restaurant operators should also solicit feedback from employees regularly and use this feedback to make improvements to the workplace. Celebrating employee milestones and recognizing outstanding performance can also help foster employee loyalty and engagement. Legion provides modern communication tools that make it easy to enable compliant communications.

Pay flexibility is also a critical employee retention tool. In a recent Legion survey, more than 37% of hourly employees stated they would quit their current job if they couldn’t get paid early, up from 2% reported in 2021. Instant access to earned wages is rapidly becoming a must-have versus a nice-to-have. Legion InstantPay enables employees to instantly access their earned wages through the app they use to view their schedules. And it drives better punch hygiene since employees don’t get paid until their time cards have been submitted and approved.

In conclusion, workforce management is critical to success in the restaurant industry. By focusing on recruitment, training, scheduling, and employee retention, restaurant managers can create a skilled and motivated workforce capable of meeting the demands of a fast-paced and dynamic industry. With the right workforce management strategies, restaurants can deliver exceptional customer experiences and achieve long-term success.

If you’re attending the National Restaurant Association Show May 20-23 in Chicago, visit us at booth #6478 and pre-book a demo to see Legion WFM in action. Not attending but want to learn more? Request a demo at