Roster Building for the hospitality industry

Now that you are all setup, building a roster each week will be easy! Start by making a copy of your roster template (or last week’s roster). Then begin to add staff names to each of the shifts that you have allocated.

Keep in mind

Your staff time-off requests and preferences

As you work on your roster sheet, make sure you have your time-off request sheet in hand. If a time off request no longer applies, cross it out. Also reference your staff preferences, which should be held in the staff notes field of your rostering information sheet.

A good roster shares the best shifts

For waiters and bar staff, some days offer better tips. For other staff, some shifts are easier, and late shifts or busy days can be hard work. Staff will handle this if the rewards and burdens are shared fairly between them.

Busy shifts need the best staff

Sometimes experienced staff or managers gravitate towards an easier, daytime schedule – maybe because they write the roster (Yes, this could be you)! It may also be because management rewards are not connected to the performance of busy shifts e.g. when managers are cut out of tip sharing. All staff should know how the business works during days, nights, weekends and week days.

Everyone needs 2 days off per week

There will be times when you need someone to do double shifts, extra days or back-to-back. However, regular rostering for more than 5 days per week (or long shifts with less than 6 hours in-between) leads to loss of performance and burnout. If you have someone requesting to work constant long hours, they may have financial problems that are being put ahead of the business – avoid this shortcut even if it seems convenient.

Costing rosters should be part of writing rosters

Traditionally, the functions have been separate, and the bad news about wage costs is only revealed after the week is finished. Online systems like Ento show wage costs as the roster is written, giving accurate forecasts and budget control.

Once you have finished writing the roster

When the roster is written, print it out, label it and post it alongside the one for the previous week. Deal with any change requests as ‘last-minute shift changes’ (outlined near the start of this guide).

If you are using an online system like Ento, click the publish button and a shift summary will be sent to each of your staff via SMS or email; this will save them the inconvenience of having to drop-in or call up.

A final note from Aulay

Congratulations for making it to the end of the ‘Better staff rostering for the hospitality industry’ guide; I hope you have taken some interesting tips and tricks from it. As you may have noticed, I mentioned our online rostering tool, Ento, several times during the guide. By no means does this imply you NEED to use it to have great rostering process, it will just help a lot! If you want to give it a go, head over to for a 14-day free trial.

Happy Rostering! Aulay Macaulay – Ento Founder


Was this article helpful?

Roster Building for the hospitality industry
3.8 of 34 votes