Call to Duty: Just-in-Time Scheduling in a Restaurant Chain

47 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2019 Last revised: 19 Sep 2019

See all articles by Masoud Kamalahmadi

Masoud Kamalahmadi

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Operation & Decision Technologies, Students

Qiuping Yu

Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology

Yong-Pin Zhou

University of Washington - Department of Information Systems and Operations Management

Date Written: December 21, 2018

Abstract

Just-in-time scheduling has become ubiquitous in the service industries. While effective in reducing staffing level, hence labor cost, the potential impact of just-in-time scheduling on workers' productivity and the firm's revenue is not well understood. Using a dataset of 1,444,044 transactions from 25 stores of a full-service casual dining restaurant chain in the US, we study how just-in-time scheduling impacts worker productivity. We consider two types of just-in-time schedules: (1) short-notice schedules that are assigned to servers shortly prior to the day of service (mostly two days in our data), and (2) real-time schedules that are assigned to servers on the day of service. We show that short-notice schedules do not harm server productivity overall but real-time schedules do, by 4.4%. Our analysis indicates this may be because servers reduce their up-selling and cross-selling efforts when working on real-time schedules. We then propose an analytical scheduling model that accounts for both the value of staffing flexibility created through just-in-time scheduling and its impact on server productivity to inform the firm how to use just-in-time scheduling to improve profitability. Through a case study, we demonstrate that with the 4.4% productivity loss during the real-time schedules, the managers should shift from the heavy use of real-time scheduling toward scheduling more servers with longer advance notice. Such a shift not only provides more predictable work schedules for the workers, but can also improve restaurants' expected profit by up to 1%, a significant number for the low-margin restaurant industry.

Keywords: just-in-time scheduling, server productivity, staffing flexibility, restaurant operations

Suggested Citation

Kamalahmadi, Masoud and Yu, Qiuping and Zhou, Yong-Pin, Call to Duty: Just-in-Time Scheduling in a Restaurant Chain (December 21, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3299631 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3299631

Masoud Kamalahmadi

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Operation & Decision Technologies, Students ( email )

Business 670
1309 E. Tenth Street
Bloomington, IL 47401
United States

Qiuping Yu (Contact Author)

Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

800 West Peachtree NW
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://qiupingyu.com/

Yong-Pin Zhou

University of Washington - Department of Information Systems and Operations Management ( email )

BOx 353226, Foster School of Business
University of Washington
Seattle, WA Washington 98195-3226
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.washington.edu/yongpin

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