Making a schedule for three shifts can be a bit more complicated than simply splitting the workday in half and working your crew in opening and closing shifts. A three-shift schedule can be much better for your business, however, as it can save labor costs and concentrates most of your workforce in hours where your customer demand is heaviest. Rather than wasting labor hours in slow times, triple shift schedules pinpoint where the workers are needed most and works them during the busier hours. Setting up this system takes a bit of time and math, but after the initial figures are set down, the weekly schedule takes very little time at all.
Study the sales records from the previous four weeks. As you look at each day you will begin to see patterns where the business picks up at some point in the day and it starts to slow down at another point. Make a note of these points.
Make a chart marking down every hour that your business is open for each day of the week. Write down the hourly sales for each hour daily. Average out the four weeks' sales for each hour. This will give you an average hourly sale for each hour of the week.
Create a simple graph for each day of the week. Mark down each average hourly sales amount for each day. This will create seven bell curve graphs, illustrating the average hourly sales for each day of the week.
Mark on each graph a section in the middle of the day that encompasses the eight hours with the busiest sales. This will typically be sometime in the middle of the day. The majority of your labor hours will be spent here.
Schedule your first eight-hour shift beginning with the business opening, giving the opening crew time to set up the business. This crew will work for eight hours and will leave work about the same time that the closing crew will begin to arrive.
Schedule your last eight-hour shift, the closing crew, with an eye to giving them enough time to close down the business. This may mean scheduling extra time for cleaning or equipment maintenance. This crew will work for eight hours.
Schedule a midshift crew during the busiest eight hours in the day on your daily chart. This will be a six- or eight-hour shift brought in when most needed, covering and filling in to ensure that the additional customers are being served and not being made to wait.
Saving labor costs is much easier on this type of schedule, as the opening shift members can be sent home early if business slows down, leaving midshift workers to cover. The same can be done with midshift workers if the evening shift is very slow.