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Great American Restaurants Taps HotSchedules for Labor Mgmt, Employee Scheduling & Digital Logbook

Great American Restaurants has successfully implemented HotSchedules Enterprise for restaurant labor management and online employee scheduling. Great American Restaurants is an 11 unit, Virginia-based restaurant group that operates under the banners Artie's, Carlyle, Coastal Flats, Mike's American, Sweetwater Tavern, Silverado, Best Buns Bread Co., and Jackson's.

Great American Restaurants first implemented HotSchedules in two locations in 2007, and the feedback and results were so positive that the company's leadership team decided to roll-out chain-wide. For an easy, flexible and cost effective roll-out process, the company sent one manager from each location to the headquarters for training via conference calls and webinars.

"We've experienced outstanding service throughout our roll-out and use of HotSchedules, and the on-demand training sessions are very informational and to the point," says Colleen Sisk, talent development manager and HotSchedules project leader for Great American Restaurants. "HotSchedules empowers us to be much more efficient and accurate with our labor management while giving our employees an invaluable tool for their work-life balance."

Thus far, Great American Restaurants has used HotSchedules primarily for its employee scheduling capabilities. The company's employees can log on to HotSchedules online from a computer or mobile device (including the HotSchedules iSchedule app for the iPhone) or dial a 24-hour bilingual toll-free automated line to access their schedules, view shifts available for pick-up, check manager approval of shift changes, request time off and more. They can also opt to have alerts sent via email or to their mobile phones via text message. Additionally, the weekly scheduling process is much more efficient for managers.

The average Great American Restaurants location employs over 100 staff and management— so creating weekly schedules with constantly revolving time-off requests and shift changes was a daunting weekly task for managers. HotSchedules allows managers to dramatically reduce the time it takes to create and change weekly shifts. Additionally, Great American Restaurants leverages the HotSchedules Digital Logbook, a powerful web-based management communication and documentation logbook that replaces the old method of paper red books and encourages accountability and communication among store and district managers.

As a focus in 2010, Great American Restaurants is working to increase productivity by analyzing sales trends and staffing for optimal service through HotSchedules sales forecasting and robust reporting. By interfacing with the company's POSitouch point of sale system, managers leverage HotSchedules template generator to match labor with sales forecasting for optimal service and labor cost savings. While most locations have only recently gone live, Great American Restaurants is already seeing an impact on labor costs and enhanced productivity. The immediate savings have come from HotSchedules' POS interface with POSitouch, which leverages enforced clock-in and provides managers with overtime warning reports and detailed labor pro-forma with drill down capabilities to review variances.

"Our managers will never go back to the •old way' now that we have HotSchedules," Sisk commented. "Now, they can spend more face time serving customers and talking with employees about issues that are more important to the overall business than scheduling."

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