Muma Case Review  •  Volume 1  •  2016  •  pp. 001-020
One night in 2014, Mike, the head manager of Mellow Mushroom Tampa, paused from his exhausting evening to stare at the paper schedule posted on the wall. The schedule was covered in a mess of writing from employees drawing arrows to swap shifts, or asking others to pick up shifts. He had always tried to accommodate people’s schedules, but the task was becoming stressful and exasperating. That night one of the employees scheduled to work had neglected to show up, and none of the other employees Mike called could cover the shift. This meant that Mike would spend the remainder of the evening filling in at the bar as well as covering a few tables. Meanwhile, he would still be dealing with customer questions and complaints. Mike wished this was a rare occasion, but at least once a month he would have no-shows, either due to a conflict with an employee’s schedule, or because they did not even know they had been scheduled to work. Mike knew there had to be a way to fix the scheduling issues.

Usually employees covered for one another by swapping shifts, or adjusting the time they came in to work. However, that was not always possible. At times a “he said/she said” situation would occur, where one employee would swear he/she had switched shifts with another, while the other would be equally fervent in arguing that no such agreement had been made. Occasionally there would be text message evidence as a means of proof, but that did not happen often. Again Mike wished there was a solution to this problematic situation.

Recently, one of Mike’s more reliable employees had brought up a possible solution. She had come to the Tampa location from a different Mellow Mushroom in Florida, where the entire scheduling system ran on a web-based service. According to the employee, everyone at her old location loved using the website, except the ones who had their overtime hours cut.

Mellow Mushroom Tampa had been using a paper method to schedule employees for nine years, so Mike knew he would have to make a solid argument to the owner if he was going to justify the change and added expense. The owner might think Mike was trying to make his own job easier at the expense of the company. Also, Mike would have to consider the potential problems with online software like glitches, costs and implementation issues. He would have to decide if this service was right for the Tampa location, and if so, how he could make a convincing argument for it to be implemented.
Information Systems, Management, Small Business, franchise, restaurant, scheduling, service business
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