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Intelligent Scheduling — a new era of scheduling.

By Sebastien Sepierre|Nov 18, 2023|8:05 pm GMT

We know how important scheduling is – it’s a key driver of profitability for every restaurant, regardless of its size. Too many staff on shift put pressure on profits, while not enough lead to missed sales – you need to strike the right balance.

But this critically important task is getting ever more complicated. From juggling staff availability, to meeting compliance requirements and predicting revenue, managers need both an in-depth understanding of the business and the ability to interpret a range of signals from outside of it.

More than just a rota

It’s a tricky task, and one that is fast becoming impossible for managers to complete manually. When we asked UK operators in September, 23% said that staff scheduling and rota management were the areas of their business that could most benefit from technology investment.

“20% of hours scheduled in a restaurant deliver no value”

The ability to accurately anticipate demand is at the centre of whether a schedule can deliver for a business and its staff or not. Schedules that routinely fail to account for demand and under schedule shifts put unnecessary pressure on staff to cover the labour shortfall and potentially lead to missed sales, while overscheduling shifts erode profits. Currently, around 20% of all hours scheduled in a restaurant deliver no value – that’s a huge, needless expense.

But anticipating demand isn’t easy, particularly at the moment when consumer behaviours change rapidly. While the summer was characterised by changeable weather and good runs in both the Men’s Rugby and Women’s World Cup that saw demand soar, two thirds of UK consumers are now expecting to cut back on restaurant spending to save money in the run up to Christmas.

Scheduling is also a key driver of retention, particularly in an environment where 1 in 11 hospitality roles are now vacant. Over half of hospitality workers want to see changes to their work-life balance, and only 47% say they work for an employer that provides flexible hours. As such, rotas that deliver enough downtime between shifts and the flexibility to allow staff to fit their personal lives around work, are hugely beneficial for both engagement and productivity.

All of this means that scheduling is an intricate balancing act, with managers having to juggle the perils of under staffing shifts with the cost of over scheduling.

Introducing Intelligent Scheduling

Intelligent Scheduling is set to streamline that process, saving managers time while optimising schedules to maximise profitability. This new technology builds on the scheduling processes restaurant managers are familiar with, leveraging artificial intelligence, data, and some automation, to provide better insight into how to profitably meet demand, reduce the effort to build great schedules and increase the flexibility for employees to be deployed to shifts.In essence, Intelligent Scheduling ensures there is just the right amount of staff both front and back of house to meet demand for every shift.

Intelligent Scheduling adapts to what makes your business unique.

Intelligent Scheduling adapts to what makes your business unique. It’s built to optimise across your entire operation, learning and refining outputs based on the unique needs of your team and customers – whether you have one location or 200.

Fourth introduced Intelligent Scheduling to combat the common scheduling challenges faced by managers and operators. It combines all the capabilities our customers know and love with new functionality, increasing scheduling accuracy and dramatically reducing the time it takes to produce schedules.

Find out more about Intelligent Scheduling from Fourth

Level up with Intelligent Scheduling:

Fourth’s Intelligent Scheduling solution contains all the classic features our customers know and love including budget controls, shift templates, custom productivity rules, in-built analytics, MySchedules app, and many more. In addition, three powerful new core capabilities have been introduced:

AI Forecasting

Understanding demand is paramount to balancing labour spend. The Fourth AI engine combines factors such as staff availability, weather, external events and historic demand, to accurately forecast revenue for any given shift in any location, identifying the most profitable actions for your business.


Scheduling absorbs an inordinate amount of managers’ time, they spend hours a week working out which skills they need for each shift, and who’s available. Auto-Scheduling takes over the heavy lifting, calculating the optimal shift pattern – not just how many staff are required, but which skillsets are needed in what numbers – for each shift, dramatically reducing the time it takes to build schedules.

Shift Pooling

With Shift Pooling, staff members that want to pick up additional shifts in other locations can easily see those that are unfilled and volunteer to work them. This provides staff with complete flexibility and allows managers to optimise schedules quickly and easily.

Supercharging scheduling

While each is powerful in its own right, it is the combined capabilities of Intelligent Scheduling that allow businesses to supercharge their scheduling capabilities.

Thai Leisure Group reduced over staffing by 22%. Equating to 56,000+ hours.

AI Forecasting underpins every aspect of Intelligent Scheduling, providing an accurate revenue forecast that signals exactly where restaurants can drive profits. Auto-scheduling leverages this insight to allow managers to easily identify the optimal pattern for every shift. Shift Pooling then ensures every shift throughout the business is fully filled. Overall it adds up to a more accurate, efficient and optimised deployment of labour that directly drives profit.

We truly are entering a new era of scheduling. It’s time to say goodbye to a lack of insight, time and flexibility, and say hello to accurate demand forecasts, effortless optimal schedules and unconstrained staff deployment.

Our team would love to hear from you

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