Given the slim profit margins in the restaurant business, there is little room for mistakes. Cutting costs by evaluating your recipes, managing inventory and measure food waste are a few ways to go:
Cut food costs
Unlike fixed costs like rent, you can reduce the cost of ingredients if your food costs are too high. Evaluate your recipes to see if less-expensive ingredients will be just as delicious. Work with your food suppliers to find cheaper alternatives and negotiate for better prices. Engage your staff in the cost-saving effort as well. If your customers don't finish certain entrees, have your chef reduce portion sizes. By introducing portion control measures used by restaurants to manage the quantity of food served to customers. This helps to ensure that customers receive a consistent amount of food with each order, while also minimizing waste and controlling costs.
There are several different portion control measures that restaurants can implement, including:
- Standardized portion sizes: Establishing consistent serving sizes for menu items, such as a certain number of ounces for meat, or a certain number of pieces for appetizers.
- Using portion control tools: This can include using portion scoops, measuring cups, and scales to ensure that each serving is the same size.
- Training staff: Staff can be trained to accurately measure and serve portions, and to avoid over-serving customers. Train the staff for upsell as a part of the customer experience.
Managing inventory for restaurants
Inventory management requires careful consideration of the food cost percentage. This involves monitoring the cost of ingredients and supplies to determine the necessary inventory levels for meeting customer demand. If the food cost percentage is excessively high, it could suggest that the business is overbuying inventory, resulting in food waste and unnecessary expenses. Conversely, if the food cost percentage is too low, it may indicate that the business is purchasing insufficient inventory, leading to stockouts and missed sales opportunities.
Offer less options on the menu. Periodically review your menu and assess which items to keep and which to retire, also known as menu engineering. Evaluate each menu item based on popularity and profitability. This is strongly connected to cutting costs and portion control measures. Remove items that are both unpopular and unprofitable. However, if your customers love a dish that has expensive ingredients, consider altering the recipe or increasing the price.
Measure food waste
Reducing food waste in the restaurant industry is an effective way of saving money. Some restaurants have connected the company to an app (e.g. Generation Waste), that measures and weighs all food waste per guest. This means everything that comes back on the plates is measured and weighed and calculated on the number of guests per day. Everything that is sold in the restaurants is recorded and reconciled against the stock balance.
This means that the restaurants never order too much of any item and always link sales to purchases. They can see in black and white how much food waste they have per day and guest and work actively to reduce it. Read about how Göteborgsfamiljen save money by reducing food waste.
Promote specials to help sell excess inventory, test new recipes and suggest ingredients that you have left of to prevent waste and increase profits. Specials create a sense of urgency in customers as they are limited-time offers. Try to make specials that have higher profit margin then other courses and remember; specials can vary from day to day.
Implement a rewards program to show appreciation for regular customers. This program could involve rewards or points for money spent in the restaurant, leading to free products or cash prizes. Rewards programs encourage customers to come in more frequently. Trivec integrates easily to loyalty programs, read more about Trivec’s eco-system of integrations.
- Read more: How to calculate food costs.