Time & Attendance
HotSchedules is one of the most popular restaurant and hospitality scheduling products on the market. In 2019, HotSchedules expanded its capabilities after being acquired by Fourth. Now, it’s part of a larger ecosystem that merges workforce management and inventory management.
But, you probably already know all that. You are here to find out if there are better options. Before we get into that though, it helps to understand who exactly should be using HotSchedules.
HotSchedules is best for small to mid-sized hospitality, restaurant, grocery, and catering businesses. If you’re looking for an industry-specific platform for managing schedules, timesheets, HRIS, and inventory management, you should consider HotSchedules.
Beyond core scheduling, time tracking, and HR functionality, notable features include pulse surveys, earned wage access, action log books, to-do lists, and more.
Pricing for HotSchedules is quote-based, so you need to get in touch with them to know how much the platform will cost.
While HotSchedules is a great tool for businesses that want basic scheduling and time tracking lumped in with their inventory management, it’s all-in-one simplicity comes at a cost. Many of its workforce management features lack the depth required to handle more complex use cases. Here are some of its shortcomings broken down into more detail:
Mobile app isn’t free: Employees need to pay to use the app. While the web version can be accessed via mobile browsers, it’s not user-friendly as opposed to being able to access everything through the designated app.
Difficult to navigate: There’s quite a steep learning curve to using HotSchedules, which can slow down adoption and ROI. Furthermore, user reviews report glitches and difficulties loading on mobile.
Industry-specific design: Since HotSchedules is mostly designed for the hospitality and restaurant industries, it is difficult for businesses outside of these areas to successfully adopt the platform. Staffing and healthcare companies may find themselves restricted in what they have the ability to customize, especially when it comes to forecasting, team hierarchies, and more.
Shift claiming issues: Claiming vacant or dropped shifts should be a quick and straightforward process, especially for restaurant and hospitality teams. However, some HotSchedules users say that picking up shifts doesn’t always update in real-time, resulting in two or more employees picking up a single vacant shift.
Limited revenue classifications: While HotSchedules does connect with POS (point of sale) systems, it struggles to drill down revenue numbers by team and location. For instance, if you have a venue that runs banquets and restaurants, HotSchedules may not be able to provide customization that allows you to determine the specific sources of your revenue.
While HotSchedules is certainly more than capable of fulfilling basic restaurant and hospitality scheduling needs, it may not be suitable for everyone. Because of this, we’ve rounded up some alternative platforms to consider. Read on to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and use cases.
Workforce.com is a cloud-based platform suitable for businesses with over 20 employees. It offers extensive workforce management and HR solutions designed specifically for hourly employees. And unlike HotSchedules, Workforce.com is truly industry agnostic.
Workforce.com is best known for its industry leading forecasting and scheduling AI. The software is best used for optimizing labor costs and improving productivity at every stage of the employee lifecycle.
Here are some of the key benefits of Workforce.com that sets it apart from HotSchedules:
Free self-service mobile app: Unlike HotSchedules, Workforce.com comes with a free mobile app. Out of the box, managers and employees can use the platform on their mobile devices with a specific app for both iOS and Android devices.
Workforce.com’s mobile app helps maximize employee self-service. Employees can view their schedules, clock in and out, pick up vacant shifts, file PTO requests, set unavailability, and update personal details. Meanwhile, managers can see who’s clocked in, publish announcements, approve leave requests, and manage shift replacements.
Robust labor forecasting: Workforce.com goes beyond looking at historical sales data when predicting demand. It also factors in foot traffic, booked appointments, weather, seasonal trends, events, economic trends, weather, and other relevant data that can impact demand. Then, the platform takes these forecasts and adjusts schedules accordingly, significantly reducing the risk of over and understaffing.
Best-in-class configuration: Workforce.com suits many use cases. With a highly customizable feature set, you can tailor your HR and workforce operations down to the last detail, regardless of industry or staff count. Items like locations, teams, pay rates, timesheet approvals, and payroll exports can all be configured in a variety of ways in the Workforce.com platform.
One-click scheduling: Workforce.com uses machine learning technology to create schedules in a single click. It builds shifts based on demand forecasts, employee unavailability, historical shift patterns, and more, filling them with best fit employees in minutes. The more you use the system, the smarter it becomes.
Shift bidding and replacements: Workforce.com has extremely flexible shift management. Employees have the ability to request a replacement whenever they call-out of work via the app. Managers can also post open shifts for anyone to claim through a live bidding process.
Comprehensive wage & hour compliance: Workforce.com has a library of wage and hour laws that apply to all 50 states. It flags potential labor law violations and ensures compliance at every step of workforce management—from staff scheduling, time and attendance tracking to importing timesheets to payroll.
Seamless timesheet export: Payroll is less stressful with Workforce.com. The system records timesheets on a daily basis and flags inconsistencies in real time. Managers can also automate the timesheet approval process, easily finding wage and hour issues before the reach your payroll system.
Powerful integrations: Workforce.com has an open API, which allows the system to seamlessly integrate with payroll systems, HCM platforms, POS, and internally built systems within an organization. This ensures that data syncs with the systems a company uses without the need for manual re-entry.
The Workforce.com platform is designed to maximize your ROI as soon as implementation starts. Depending on the plan selected, you gain full access to the features presented and any subsequent features rolled out. The system’s agile approach to rolling out allow businesses to see immediate returns once employee start clocking in and out.
You’ll need to contact Workforce.com directly for more information on pricing.
To really explore the platform and decide for yourself, book a call today to find out more about Workforce.com and its features.
Another potential alternative to Like HotSchedules, 7shifts is an industry-specific workforce management platform. It was launched in 2014 to simplify restaurant operations. It initially started as an employee scheduling solution, but over time it has evolved into a restaurant management platform.
Straightforward employee scheduling
Simple labor budgeting
Employee engagement tracking
Free mobile app
Small to mid-market restaurant businesses
Restaurants, F&B, Hospitality
The Works: $69.99
Gourmet: $135 per month per location
HotSchedules and 7shifts are industry-specific platforms that are best for small to mid-sized restaurants, F&B, and hospitality businesses. Unlike HotSchedules, 7shifts’ mobile app comes free, and its scheduling and forecasting are easier to manage and more robust. However, HotSchedules has inventory management and better HRIS functionality, so if those matter to you, 7shifts might not be the best alternative.
Homebase is a scheduling and time clock software for hourly workers. It also has features for basic payroll and HR.
Free time clock app
Basic time tracking and employee scheduling
Small businesses in need of simple time clocks and scheduling
Restaurants, healthcare, and non-profits
Essentials: $20 per month per location
Plus: $48 per month per location
All in One: $80 per month per location
Homebase is a good alternative to HotSchedules if you are a smaller business looking for user friendly time tracking. It’s also a good option for SMBs outside of the food and beverage industry.
However, Homebase falls short with demand forecasting, employee scheduling, and POS integration. Because of these drawbacks, Homebase isn’t ideal for businesses with staff counts over twenty.
When I Work is another HotSchedules alternative to consider if employee scheduling is your primary concern. It’s a workforce management platform with flexible tools for scheduling and time tracking.
Timeclock and digital timesheets
Hospitality, F&B, retail
SMB employee self-service
Standard: $4 per employee per month
Advanced: $8 per employee per month
Paychex Flex Pro: quote-based but price starts at $185 per month
When I Work can meet your needs if you’re looking for a platform with easily configurable scheduling. However, it has limitations with live analytics, resporting, forecasting, and time clock accuracy. It’s also a system meant for smaller businesses, so if you have more than 20 employees, When I Work might not be the best alternative.
Jolt is a platform that provides different tools to help with operations in restaurants, retail stores, entertainment venues, and other deskless industries. The platform has features for team accountability, scheduling, and performance management.
Employee task list
Centralized library for on-the-spot training
Food safety controls
Basic employee scheduling and time and attendance
Hospital and healthcare, retail, non-profit
Organizations looking to combine HR and payroll with traditional workforce management
Jolt and HotSchedules are similar in some of the industries they serve, however, Jolt has more specific functionalities around food safety controls and task management. On the WFM side, however, Jolt lacks the level of automation and configurable,ity required for more complex workforce operations.
Sling, a recent acquisition of Toast, is primarily a platform for employee scheduling, communication and task management. It also has some basic features for time tracking and labor cost optimization.
Employee messaging and newsfeed
Available shift claiming
Integration with Toast POS
Education, hospital and healthcare, restaurants
Toast POS users
SMBs with straightforward scheduling and task management
Premium: $1.70 per user per month
Business: $3.40 per user per month
If you’re an existing Toast POS user, it will make sense to choose Sling over HotSchedules. This ensures seamless integration between your POS and workforce management side of things. Furthermore, if you are outside of the restaurant industry and care about communication and task management, Sling could be a good choice.
On the other hand, if creating cost-effective schedules is your priority, consider looking at more specialized platforms for workforce management. For example, Sling is limited with auto-scheduling and demand forecasting, especially for enterprise use cases
ADP is another provider of software solutions for HR and payroll. Their product line includes tools designed for a wide range of business sizes. These are ADP Run (small), ADP Workforce Now (midsize), and ADP Vantage (enterprise).
Payroll for different business sizes
Time tracking and scheduling for small businesses
Tax calculation management
Insurance benefits administration
Small business tax and payroll with under 50 employees (ADP RUN)
Construction, non-profit, health and wellness
Mid-size to enterprise level HRIS reporting and workforce management (ADP Workforce Now)
ADP can be a good choice for non-restaurant businesses needing a comprehensive payroll system. It can also be helpful for HR processes such as onboarding, managing contracts, and employee handbooks. If you want to prioritize these areas, ADP can be a good choice.
Dayforce is a cloud-based HCM platform that offers payroll and HRIS tools typically for businesses with over 200 staff. Employee scheduling and time-tracking are available as additional features.
Secure document management system
Dayforce wallet for on-demand pay
Employee flight risk analysis
Basic time tracking and scheduling
Extensive talent management and acquisition
Retail, healthcare, and financial services
Payroll, HR, and basic WFM in a single HCM system
Requirement for highly detailed HR analytics capabilities
If large-scale HRIS is a priority for your organization, Ceridian is a viable alternative to HotSchedules. However, it may be more expensive and complex to implement if you're running a small business.
UKG Ready is a platform designed to help small to medium businesses with HR, talent management, and payroll. It is one of the products under the UKG suite.
Payroll tools and tax processing
Core HR tools
Basic time and attendance and employee scheduling
Small to medium sized businesses looking to streamline HR and payroll processes
Hospital and healthcare, retail
What sets UKG Ready apart from HotSchedules is that it’s industry-agnostic. So if you manage less than 50 staff and want to improve HR and payroll, UKG Ready makes sense for your business.
If you need a comprehensive tool for labor forecasting and real-time insights, UKG may not be a suitable choice. Further, ease of use is also an issue with its slightly outdated interface.