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[Excerpt] Deploying labor effectively is one of the most important tasks that front-line managers perform in service organizations. When a restaurant has too few employees, or its employees have the wrong skills, the result can be long lines in the foyer, long waits at the table, overworked employees, and poor service to customers. Having too many employees reduces operating margins, if extra hours are scheduled, or results in employees getting fewer work hours than they desire, if extra hours are not scheduled. The balancing act of best meeting customer demand while best satisfying employee requests--the process of deploying labor--is commonly known as labor or workforce scheduling. Hospitality services are typical in that labor often represents a large portion of the costs under managerial control. Controlling this cost, through effective scheduling, poses a challenging task to hospitality managers, particularly in light of employees' skills and requests, governmental regulations, company policies, and contractual obligations.


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