5 Restaurant Scheduling Apps & Software (In-Depth Look)

5 Restaurant Scheduling Apps & Software (In-Depth Look)

In this post, we’ll start by detailing the key features and functionality of our cloud-based restaurant scheduling app, Buddy Punch. For example, with our scheduling tool, business owners can:  

  • Create a schedule with ease (via a drag and drop scheduling process).
  • Notify employees of their new schedule by email, mobile notification, or both (in case an employee forgets to check the schedule).
  • Easily handle schedule change requests (e.g., Blake sends an in-app trade request to Ariel. It’s accepted and is then sent to the restaurant manager for approval).
  • Know the availability of employees ahead of time (e.g., Blake logs into our management tool and marks that he’s unavailable from January 8 to January 15. When you next create a schedule, this is visible in the calendar).
  • And much more. 

Then, we’ll share reviews that speak to Buddy Punch’s ease-of-use and excellent customer service for restaurant owners.

Finally, we’ll list four other restaurant team communication & scheduling apps to empower you to research for yourself and make a well-informed choice.

We are, of course, biased towards Buddy Punch. That’s because we’re deeply familiar with the problems tied to manual workforce management (having managed 3 local businesses with 20 employees). Our experience is what led us to create an all-in-one solution to handle all things employee management, scheduling, and even payroll processing – the works. Thus Buddy Punch was born.

Best Restaurant Scheduling Apps & Software

  1. Buddy Punch
  2. 7shifts
  3. ZoomShift
  4. When I Work
  5. Sling

1. Buddy Punch

In this section, we’ll detail the key features and functionality of Buddy Punch. If you feel it could be the right fit for your restaurant, we offer a free 14-day trial. You can also request a 1-on-1 demo call, where we’ll provide personalized advice and show you how to get the most out of the platform.

Create Schedules with Ease

To add a new shift, click on any open space in the calendar:

Add a new shift.

This opens up a creation window (see below), where you can select:

  • Which restaurant staff the upcoming shift will be assigned to (e.g., Sarah Johnson).
  • Date and time (e.g., Monday, January 18th from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).
  • Shift frequency (Optionally have it repeat daily, weekly, monthly, etc.).
  • Location or Department code that the employee needs to work in (or both if that applies).
Input details of the shift.

Once you create shifts for all of your employees, you can drag and drop shifts into the calendar. (Click here for a quick 1-minute video demonstration.) 

Finally, once the schedule is set, click on “Publish”.

And that’s it! Creating a schedule with Buddy Punch is that simple.

Notify Employees of Their New Schedule

When you click on “Publish”, you have the option to notify employees of their new schedule by email, mobile notification, or both.

This is how the mobile notification appears on the employee’s end:

Example mobile notification.

This is how the email appears on the employee’s end:

Example email notification.

Repeat an Employee’s Schedule

Again, when you open up the schedule creation window, you can click on where it says, “Repeats” to enable this auto-scheduling feature. This opens up a dropdown box, where you can select the frequency:

Choose frequency of shifts or schedule.

If you were to click on “Weekly” above, you would then choose specific days of the week (e.g., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday every week).

Shift Trades and Covers

Handle all trade requests within the app.

Let’s say Jane had a shift scheduled for Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but she’s no longer available for that time due to a last-minute hiccup. Instead of her being a no-show resulting in an open shift, she can decide to shift swap with someone who’s scheduled to work on Thursday or Friday.

Once she picks a schedule during the week she could make, she can send a trade request to several team members, all within Buddy Punch’s intuitive and easy-to-use mobile app (or via desktop or tablet).

Additionally, if Jane wanted someone to cover for her — rather than directly trading shifts — she could send a cover request within the app. Whether or not these changes require manager approval is up to you.

For more information on our Trades and Covers feature, visit this page.

Employee Availability

Employees mark availability within the app.

Buddy Punch makes it simple for employees to enter their available and unavailable hours.

Per the above image, this information is then displayed on the calendar.

You now know each employee’s availability ahead of time, so there’s no need to waste time manually coordinating via text/call or email.

Scheduling Notifications

Buddy Punch offers various automatic, hassle-free scheduling notifications, alerts, and shift reminders.

For example, you could configure a Shift Start Reminder to send to employees who forgot to punch in within 10 minutes of the start of their shift.

Depending on your restaurant’s essential needs, one — or several — of the below options can also be activated:

Additional Scheduling Features

Flexibility and options are key to improving your ability to schedule your employees. Click here to explore Buddy Punch’s complete list of scheduling features.

Note: If you feel that Buddy Punch could be the right fit for your restaurant, we offer a free 14-day trial (no credit card required). You can also request a 1-on-1 demo call, where we’ll provide personalized advice and show you how to get the most out of the platform. For more customer support, don’t hesitate to contact our Help Desk.

Payroll and Accountability Features

Our software isn’t limited to scheduling (although there are restaurants who use it primarily for that purpose).

We also offer accountability and payroll-related features.

1. Keep employees accountable via:

2. Save hours on payroll via: 

If you’d like to further explore the above two areas, see our article on employee time tracking software.

Businesses Love Buddy Punch’s Ease-of-Use and Customer Service

At the time of writing, Buddy Punch has 814 reviews and 4.8 stars on Capterra. There are 2 common themes throughout reviews:

  • Easy to use for both employers and employees (e.g., The onboarding process is straightforward, and the app is extremely intuitive, even for non-technical folks. Simplicity was at the top of our checklist while designing Buddy Punch).
  • Excellent customer service (e.g., Our median first response time is 54 seconds, and we place a major emphasis on training so every team member is deeply familiar with the platform).

Bottom line: Buddy Punch is an excellent tool to improve business profitability as well as to make operational changes that will help improve employee retention, all while remaining in compliance with labor laws and labor compliance. Below are just a few reviews that speak to Buddy Punch’s ease-of-use and excellent customer service:

“We signed up for the trial period, and our employees were impressed immediately. They were able to start recording their time immediately with zero training or assistance, which was a priority for us… If you do experience any issues or have questions, it’s very easy to place a support ticket and a response is usually given within 1-2 hours at the most. Customer Service definitely seems to be a priority which we appreciate. Once our trial period had concluded, it was a no-brainer to continue with this easy, intuitive solution.”

Click here to read the full review.

“Most folks pick up on it right away. The system is intuitive and those who do have difficulty only need a quick tutorial and they are good to go.”

Click here to read the full review.

“My staff loves that the software works seamlessly… BEST of all, when I have a question, Buddy Punch really LISTENS and always walks me through the answer or offers to help themselves… The Buddy Punch Customer Service is EXCELLENT! Poor service is one of the main reasons we left our last scheduling and payroll reporting software.”

Click here to read the full review.

Click here to see all of our Buddy Punch reviews on Capterra.

Sign Up for a Free Trial or Request a 1-on-1 Demo Call

If you feel that Buddy Punch could be the right fit for your restaurant, we offer a free 14-day trial. You can also request a 1-on-1 demo call, where we’ll provide personalized advice and show you how to get the most out of the platform. Pricing varies depending on number of employees and modules required.

2. 7shifts

As of this writing, 7Shifts has garnered a total of 869 reviews and 4.7 out of 5 stars on Capterra.

Here are just a few of its key features and functionality:

Below is just one review from Capterra that demonstrates why it’s one of the best restaurant scheduling software options:

“Before using this software, we primarily used Excel spreadsheets. That process was cumbersome and very hard to schedule employees. By using 7shifts our scheduling has become way more streamlined. We enjoy that once the schedule is posted, it notifies every single employee. We also enjoy that there is a chat feature and announcement feature that allows us to communicate with our employees in order to make sure that everyone is on track. Calculating labor for a schedule is also way easier.”

Click here to read the full review.

Click here to see all of 7shifts’ Capterra reviews.

3. ZoomShift

As of this writing, ZoomShift has garnered a total of 88 reviews and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Capterra. 

Here are just a few of its key features and functionality:

Below is just one review from Capterra that demonstrates why it’s a great restaurant scheduling software:

“ZoomShift makes managing the staff schedule simple and streamlined. It’s so easy to communicate with the staff, all resources are in the same place and easily accessible, notifications mean no one misses a shift because they didn’t know. Past shifts are all saved and it is simple to compile payroll data. Reports are useful and the user interface is excellent. Any questions or requests for features are addressed promptly and personally by ZoomShift support.”

Click here to read the full review.

Click here to see all of ZoomShift’s Capterra reviews.

4. When I Work

As of this writing, When I Work has garnered a total of 891 reviews 4.5 out of 5 stars on Capterra.

Here are just a few of its key features and functionality:

Below is just one review from Capterra that demonstrates why it’s one of the best restaurant employee scheduling apps:

“Overall we have loved using When I Work. It makes scheduling seamless and reduces the amount of time we spend on employee schedules. We also really love the reminders and text alerts as it makes it easy to communicate with our team quickly when things change.”

Click here to read the full review.

Click here to see all of When I Work’s Capterra reviews.

5. Sling

As of this writing, Sling has garnered a total of 104 reviews and 4.6 out of 5 stars on Capterra.

Here are just a few of its key features and functionality:

Below is just one review from Capterra that demonstrates why it’s one of the best restaurant employee scheduling software:

“Sling is excellent! I have been using it for several years and it’s getting better every year. I highly recommend it. It allows real time scheduling for team members as well as time off requests, shift notifications and several more options. It’s extremely convenient and easy to use. There are great simple features like colour blocking specific roles, it’s the little things that count. Along with all of that there is virtually no annoying advertising. Sling has created a seamless connection between schedule creators and team members creating easy communication and boundaries. Thank you Sling for generously offering such a great app.”

Click here to read the full review.

Click here to see all of Sling’s Capterra reviews.

Honorary mentions include Homebase, Hotschedules, and Planday, due to their scheduling, forecasting, and ability to track metrics.

Learn More about Buddy Punch (Our Restaurant Scheduling System)

If you feel that Buddy Punch could be the right fit for your restaurant, we offer a free 14-day trial. You can also request a 1-on-1 demo call where we’ll provide personalized advice and show you how to get the most out of the platform.

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