Top 6 HotSchedules alternatives and competitors (in-depth comparison)

Running a successful business in the hospitality industry can be a juggling act, especially when it comes to managing your team. As a result, you’ve likely come across HotSchedules, powered by Fourth, which is a scheduling software that’s been the trusted sidekick of the hotel industry for over 20 years. But it has its own set of drawbacks, like minimal customization options and poor user experience on mobile.

You may want to consider some HotSchedules alternatives that offer the same features but have more advanced customization possibilities and even a free plan. In this article, we’ll look at top HotSchedules alternatives along with their features, pricing, pros and cons, and user ratings. We’ve gathered insights from real users just like you, so you can make an informed decision and find the perfect solution for your small hospitality business. 

In the spirit of transparency, the information in this piece is based on our research on HotSchedules alternatives. All user feedback referenced in the text has been sourced from independent software review platforms, such as G2 and Capterra, in May 2023.

What is HotSchedules and what is it used for?

HotSchedules, powered by Fourth, is an employee scheduling software solution designed to make life easier for businesses in the hospitality industry. It caters to a wide range of restaurants, hotels, bars, and coffee shops, helping owners and managers organize timetables, communicate with staff, and stay on top of team management.

It gives users the power to create schedules, assign shifts, and keep team members in the loop with updates and notifications. Its mobile app also allows employees to easily access their timetables, swap shifts, and request time off without any unnecessary back and forth.

HotSchedules is ideal for businesses with shifting needs, multiple locations, and a roster of hourly workers. It helps ensure proper shift coverage, reduces scheduling conflicts, and improves overall team communication and collaboration.

Why might you choose a HotSchedules alternative?

If you’re exploring HotSchedules as a potential solution for your small hospitality business or already use it but are in two minds about the decision, consider why an alternative might work better for you below:

You need more customizations and automations

While the simplicity of HotSchedules works for some small businesses, others may get frustrated with its lack of customization options. As a business owner, you want a scheduling app that can adapt to your unique needs and workflows and also allow you to automate processes to match your specific requirements. For example, if you run a restaurant that requires more people during the summer season, your app of choice should let you effortlessly onboard new hires as necessary.

You’re looking for maximum features for the most affordable rates

Affordability matters for small businesses, so it may be worth looking for a scheduling solution that provides a range of features without breaking the bank. While HotSchedules has a basic price tag of $40 a month, when you explore its alternatives, you’ll see that there are other platforms that offer superior value in terms of features and use cases at a similar (or lower) price. 

You want advanced features to fuel your business growth

Basic scheduling features may work for some businesses, but they may not be enough if your team is complex, mobile, or expanding quickly. Many HotSchedules competitors — like Homebase — go beyond the basics and provide advanced scheduling tools at an accessible price point, like:

  • Custom overtime and break preferences
  • Time off and availability management
  • Shift swap capabilities
  • Self-scheduling features, like the ability to claim open shifts
  • Real-time employee reminders and notifications
  • Other integrated tools like time tracking, timesheets, and full-service payroll

You prefer an effortless and intuitive design

Users complain that HotSchedules has a slow-loading website and offers a poor user experience on mobile. That may be an issue if you’re a small business owner in the hospitality industry who’s always on the go and needs to use their app of choice quickly and easily to check all your employees have signed into work or address a payroll concern. 

If that’s your case, it would be ideal to switch to a HotSchedule alternative that doesn’t cause you problems, but saves you time with a clean, straightforward design and handy, user-friendly features.

Key features to look for in a HotSchedules alternative

  • All-in-one solution: Instead of using lots of different tools, which can lead to overwhelm, inefficiency, and lost information, look for an app that offers a comprehensive suite of tools for scheduling, time tracking, employee communication, and payroll.
  • Free plan and affordability: Consider HotSchedules alternatives that offer a free plan or affordable pricing options that don’t leave too much of a dent in your small business’s budget. This will allow you to test out the platform and consider how well it suits you before you invest a lot of time and money.
  • Variety of integrations: Ensure the alternative you’re exploring integrates seamlessly with other platforms you already use — or might like to try out — to manage your small business, like POS systems and payroll software. This will eliminate the hassle of repetitive data entry and reduce errors.
  • Time off management: Choose an alternative that simplifies time off management, allowing employees to quickly request and track their vacation days, sick leave, and other absences. The last thing you want is to have to manually keep track of who’s on leave and when, causing confusion and delays.
  • Mobile app: It’s a good idea to look for HotSchedules competitors that offer mobile apps that are compatible with various devices. That way, both you and your employees will be able to access schedules, exchange messages, and track time conveniently from your phones.
  • Reporting and analytics: Consider platforms that provide you with granular data that help you make smarter, more data-driven decisions in relation to labor costs and sales and weather forecasting.

Top 6 HotSchedules alternatives

Whether you’re in charge of a large retail store or own a small restaurant by the sea, your scheduling software should be able to handle all the challenges you throw at it. 

We’ve shortlisted six top HotSchedules competitors and broken down their features, pricing, and use cases to make choosing one easier:

  1. Homebase: Best all-in-one solution
  2. 7shifts: Best for restaurant scheduling
  3. When I Work: Best for multiple business locations
  4. ADP Workforce Now: Best for rapidly-growing businesses 
  5. Connecteam: Best for training and onboarding
  6. QuickBooks Time: Best for QuickBooks users

1. Homebase: Best all-in-one solution

A screenshot of the Homebase schedule manager displaying the schedules of multiple employees over a week-long period.
Homebase scheduling is the ultimate solution for small, local restaurant and retail business owners. Source

As a game-changing, all-in-one platform, Homebase is revolutionizing small business management with its beginner-friendly tools for time tracking, scheduling, and hiring. Our built-in employee messaging app also helps keep teams connected through group messaging, making it easy to collaborate with staff and resolve issues quickly. 

That’s not all — Homebase also empowers users with integrated, full-service payroll, so paying team members is always a simple, streamlined process.

All in all, Homebase was designed with small businesses in mind and caters to their most common needs. It’s an especially perfect HotSchedule alternative for restaurants, hotels, and retail stores. 

Time clock and timesheets

Homebase takes employee time tracking to the next level with its powerful time clock and timesheet tools. Employees can sign into our platform with the Homebase mobile app and conveniently punch in and out of shifts, even during peak hours.

Homebase will then automatically convert employee hours into detailed and error-free timesheets, eliminating boring, time-consuming manual work. You can also activate geofencing to prevent early sign ins and make sure staff are where they say they are when they clock into work. Plus, with Homebase, you can effortlessly keep tabs on chronic lateness and labor cost creep with late sign in notifications and alerts for when employees approach overtime.

Imagine busy servers swiftly clocking in and out of their shifts using their smartphones while managers use their logbooks for precise payroll calculations and shift management — Homebase can fit right into the way you do business and make your restaurant operations a breeze.


Scheduling with Homebase is simple — you can effortlessly collect employee availability, create and customize timetables, assign shifts, and send updates to team members. Our easy-to-navigate design also makes it simple for employees to manage their own shift swaps and time off requests.

But our true stroke of automation genius lies in the scheduling templates and auto-population features. Once you’ve got a solid schedule that works for your team, you can save it and use it to auto-populate future timetables automatically. You can also transform Homebase schedules into templates so you can select different options depending on the circumstances. For instance, you might have seasonal templates for the quieter seasons and the busier seasons.


Small business owners know how to work smarter — that’s why they prefer all-in-one solutions. If you can stay organized and save time by avoiding navigating between different tools and apps all day, why wouldn’t you?

Even though it’s not part of the free plan, Homebase offers a full-service payroll tool that gives small businesses everything they need to pay their team and their taxes with one login. Onboard employees, create schedules, track hours and PTO, and sync it all with payroll with a couple of clicks.

Putting everything under one roof often means fewer headaches on payday. But what if you already have a payroll system in place that you love? No worries, Homebase can also integrate with popular accounting systems like ADP and Gusto.


Homebase has a value-packed free plan, so you can access basic time tracking, scheduling, and employee management tools for free for up to 20 employees at a single business location. 

Our paid plans have a per-location pricing structure, which means your subscription cost will remain the same even when you hire more people. The options include:

  • Essentials: Enjoy advanced time tracking and scheduling, team communication, and performance tracking for $24.95 per month.
  • Plus: Enhance your experience with hiring tools, retention tracking, time off controls, and department and permissions for $59.95 per month.
  • All-in-one: Unlock the full potential of Homebase’s comprehensive suite of tools, including HR and compliance, new hire onboarding, labor cost controls, and business insights, all for $99.95 per month.

User rating

Homebase has a high user rating on some of the top review sites. With an average score of 4.6 out of 5 based on 925 reviews on Capterra and 4.1 out of 5 based on 105 reviews on G2, Homebase customers are certainly happy with our platform.

2. 7shifts: Best for restaurant scheduling

A screenshot of the 7shifts desktop app showing the schedules of multiple employees over the span of a week.

7shifts is a useful solution for restaurant scheduling. Its comprehensive set of tools is designed to streamline the entire scheduling process, ensuring restaurant owners and managers run into minimal problems with employee timetables and operate their businesses smoothly.

With its user-friendly mobile app, 7shifts handles everything from shift management to labor compliance without a glitch. It also integrates with several POS systems and ensures efficient labor management to help you meet your targets.

Main features

  • Scheduling: A drag-and-drop schedule builder makes scheduling faster and automatically considers factors like availability, time off, and overtime. It can also create and implement employee timetables across multiple business locations.
  • Communication: Built-in communication tools reduce calls and keep the whole team connected and informed.
  • Accessibility: The mobile app enables employees to view shifts and request shift swaps and time off easily.
  • Payroll: Seamlessly integrates with POS and payroll systems for great efficiency and reduced labor costs.
  • Employee engagement: Aims to improve staff engagement by ranking the most and least engaged employees.

Pros and cons

7shifts is great when it comes to scheduling. Users appreciate the system’s efficiency in creating timetables and tracking employee availability and note that it has useful communication features. They also enjoy how seamlessly it integrates with POS and payroll systems. 

However, it’s worth noting that some users have reported occasional technical difficulties, particularly with logins, inputs, and notifications. It’s also worth considering the limited flexibility in terms of editing and printing detailed reports. Lastly, some consider the pricing of the premium plans to be high.


7shifts comes with four different plans that are available with per-location pricing:  

  • Comp is a free plan available for up to 30 employees. It provides all the basic scheduling, time tracking, and communication tools.
  • Entrée costs $34.99/month for up to 30 employees and provides labor cost optimization and performance monitoring.
  • The Works costs $76.99/month for unlimited employees and includes communication features to effortlessly manage, engage, and retain team members
  • Gourmet costs $150/month for unlimited employees and has advanced customization and dedicated support.

Each of these plans comes with a free 14-day trial. 

User rating

7shifts has an average rating of 4.7 based on 1121 reviews on Capterra and a score of 4.5 based on 92 reviews on G2. 

3. When I Work: Best for multiple business locations

A screenshot of When I Work’s desktop version displaying a list of employees and their weekly timesheets.

When it comes to scheduling, time tracking, and staying connected with hourly employees, When I Work is a great option. Its free iOS and Android apps also mean your team members can keep their schedules and time tracking devices right in their pockets at all times.

The platform makes managing time off, tracking availability, and handling shift swaps easy. And with several payroll integrations to choose from, you can connect with a third-party app to make payroll quick, seamless, and error-free.

Main features

  • Time tracking: Precisely records employee hours and timesheets and integrates with payroll.
  • Scheduling: Records staff breaks for scheduling purposes and provides real-time employee availability for efficient work assignments.
  • Geotechnology: Geofences restrict team members to designated worksites, monitor employee locations to prevent time theft and buddy punching, and ensure accuracy with facial recognition and photo capture.
  • Labor compliance: Sends alerts based on applicable compliance regulations and generates labor reports for a deeper understanding of how your business functions and where you need to make changes.

Pros and cons

Users appreciate When I Work’s user-friendly interface and interactive design since the free mobile app allows employees to clock in and out of work in a flash using any device.

The platform also offers affordable pricing without any additional per-location costs. You can easily set up schedules for different regions, locations, departments, and teams. It also supports cross-scheduling, making it perfect for businesses with multiple locations.

Unfortunately, When I Work doesn’t come with a free version. Additionally, some users have reported issues with bugs, inaccurate GPS coordinates, and limited tracking capabilities.


Unlike Homebase, When I Work doesn’t have a free plan, but it does offer a 14-day free trial. Otherwise, there are two paid plans available:

  1. Standard for $2.50/month, which consists of time tracking and standard scheduling tools. 
  2. Advanced for $6/month, which consists of more powerful scheduling tools and labor reports and permissions.

You can access the geotechnology tools by adding the Time and Attendance feature to any of the plans. That bumps the prices to $4/month and $8/month, respectively.

User rating

When I Work has an average rating of 4.5 based on 1021 reviews on Capterra and a score of 4.4 based on 273 reviews on G2. 

4. ADP Workforce Now: Best for rapidly-growing businesses

A screenshot of ADP Workforce Now on desktop, mobile, and smartwatch displaying an employee’s detailed payroll sheet.

If you run a rapidly growing small business, ADP Workforce Now might be a good choice for you. From managing your team and payroll to handling benefits and hiring, this suite of human resources tools helps make internal operations straightforward and seamless.

ADP Workforce Now takes care of all the finer details and leaves you with more time to focus on growing your business. And as your business expands, the platform can easily meet all your evolving needs.

Main features

  • Automated scheduling: Create, manage, and optimize employee schedules and get real-time visibility into staffing levels.
  • Payroll: Process payroll accurately, review and correct errors, calculate taxes, and manage employees across different jurisdictions and borders.
  • Human resources: Store documents online and automate key processes like onboarding and employee recognition and praise.
  • Time tracking and attendance: Automate timekeeping, track attendance, and create schedules effortlessly.
  • Talent management: Simplify hiring, performance management, compensation, and learning. Also, attract top talent and run performance reviews.

Pros and cons

ADP Workforce Now stands out because of its suite of tools, which means ideal data synchronization and streamlined administrative work. Plus, the platform can easily integrate with other HR and business apps with the ADP Marketplace.

Users on Capterra greatly appreciate ADP Workforce Now’s user-friendly interface and extensive customization options. Additionally, its payroll processing feature, including time and attendance tracking, tax filing, and direct deposit choices, has received high praise.

On the downside, some users find the software solution challenging to navigate at first, requiring some training time to make full use of its features and functionalities. Other common complaints include subpar customer service and costly paid plans, making the platform less ideal for small businesses with limited budgets.


ADP Workforce Now takes a personalized approach to pricing. It doesn’t publish its prices on the website, so you’ll need to connect with a sales representative for more information.

Users have mentioned that pricing can start from $62 per month, but keep in mind that the average business tends to spend more than that. 

User rating

Serving more than 90,000 clients, ADP Workforce Now is one of the more well-known human resources solutions on the market. It has an average rating of 4.4 based on 6277 reviews on Capterra and a score of 4.1 based on 3286 reviews on G2.

5. Connecteam: Best for training and onboarding

A screenshot of the Connecteam mobile and desktop interfaces showing the clock in page and a list of clocked in users and their timesheets.

If you like having a whole team management toolbox at your fingertips, Connecteam is a good bet. With its wide range of scheduling, time tracking, and communication tools, it can help you keep your entire team in sync. 

Besides managing multiple schedules and timesheets, Connecteam also has handy features like geotechnology, built-in training courses, certification tracking, shift checklists, and payroll integrations.

Main features

  • Time tracking: Track employee hours across multiple business locations and job sites and enjoy automated timesheets that simplify payroll processing.
  • Scheduling: Task allocation and supervision for efficient work assignments.
  • Geotechnology: Keep an eye on employees using real-time GPS, designate boundaries, and use facial recognition to prevent buddy punching.
  • Communication: Get in touch with individuals or your entire team with just a few clicks.

Pros and cons

Connecteam is well-regarded for its user-friendly design, compatibility with various devices, and geotechnology tools. Some users have also pointed out how the platform consistently releases new features.

Connecteam also stands out because of its staff training and onboarding capabilities. From efficient onboarding and training to handy shift-based checklists and staff notifications, Connecteam is a good choice if you’re in a high-turnover industry like retail or hospitality.

However, one aspect of Connecteam that receives some criticism is the pricing. The most advanced features are only available with the more expensive plans, which can be a challenge for small businesses. Additionally, the free plan is limited to just ten users. 


Connecteam comes with a 14-day trial and categorizes its pricing into different packages:

  1. Small Business for up to ten users, which provides the basic management tools for free.
  2. Basic for $29/month and $0.50/month per additional user, which has payroll software integration and shift management.
  3. Advanced for $49/month and $1.50/month per additional user, which includes geotechnology tools and schedule templates.
  4. Expert for $99/month and $3/month per additional user, which comes with all the features, including process automation and multi-location management.

The monthly pricing quotes for the Basic, Advanced, and Expert plans apply to the first 30 users. After that, you’ll have to pay additional charges if you add more.

The payroll feature is integrated into all the plans.

User rating

Connecteam has an average rating of 4.8 based on 273 reviews on Capterra and a score of 4.3 based on 39 reviews on G2. 

6. QuickBooks Time: Best for QuickBooks users

A screenshot of the QuickBooks Time app showing various employees’ timesheets and schedules.

When it comes to employee scheduling software, QuickBooks Time is the go-to choice for businesses that are already using QuickBooks or QuickBooks Online. While it may be more expensive for businesses with larger teams, the integration with QuickBooks’ accounting and payroll features can provide valuable time-saving benefits. 

With job assignments, shift scheduling, time off tracking, and real-time labor cost reports, QuickBooks Time plans offer a comprehensive suite of team management tools. Plus, they support several time tracking options, including app and dashboard clocks, as well as kiosk clocks with facial recognition.

Main features

  • Time tracking: Managers can clock the entire team in and out of work.
  • Scheduling: Build schedules based on specific shifts or positions using drag-and-drop tools.
  • Time off management: Check time off balances, request vacation, and receive notifications for approvals.
  • Accessibility: Multiple platforms — like mobile, web, and kiosk — for employees to clock in and out of their shifts.
  • Geotechnology: Monitor team locations during work and automate GPS mileage tracking for timesheets and payroll reports.

Pros and cons

Other than how seamlessly it fits into the QuickBooks ecosystem, QuickBooks Time is widely popular for its intuitive and easy-to-use design. Navigating the app and accessing key features is painless for both employees and managers.

Users have also praised the platform’s range of tools for time tracking and scheduling, including shift alerts, real-time staff statuses, and labor cost reports.

However, QuickBooks Time’s expensive plans can be a downside and leave some customers feeling inconvenienced. Additionally, occasional syncing issues and a lack of advanced reporting options have been areas of concern for some users.


QuickBooks Time has two paid plan options:

  • Premium for $20/month plus $8/user
  • Elite for $40/month plus $10/user

User rating

QuickBooks Time scores 4.7 based on 6354 reviews on Capterra and 4.5 based on 1417 reviews on G2.

H for HotSchedules? No, H for Homebase!

Even though HotSchedules has been a big player in the hospitality scheduling industry for two decades, it simply doesn’t contend with the newcomers on the market.

So, if HotSchedules doesn’t meet your small business’s needs, refer to our curated list above and find a better option.

If you want to optimize the way you manage your business without burning a hole in your pocket, Homebase is your most trusted ally. Our platform contains a comprehensive range of features, covering everything from scheduling to time tracking to team communication. It also has a built-in payroll tool and a wide range of integrations, ensures compliance with labor laws, and manages labor costs.

But the icing on the cake is Homebase’s pricing, which ranges between free and $100 per business location per month. That means businesses with up to 20 employees can enjoy our basic features at no cost and upgrade when they’re ready, and not a moment sooner.

All in all, Homebase is passionate about empowering small businesses and helping them reach new levels of success, and we’d love to partner with you next.

Remember: This is not legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, please consult a lawyer, CPA, or other appropriate professional advisor or agency.

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