3 Cost Cuts Restaurant Customers Won’t Notice

With margins that can sometimes be paper-thin, restaurateurs are always looking for ways to cut costs and save some of that hard-earned cash. Unfortunately, those cost cuts aren’t always perceived positively in the eyes of the public—especially if the attempt to increase the bottom line comes in the form of menu price increases, lack of adequate staffing or use of inferior ingredients. Fortunately, there are a number of behind-the-scene ways to tighten up your restaurant’s budget and make cost cuts that your guests won’t notice.

Be Smart About Restaurant Supply Delivery and Proportions

There are several ways that you can make better use of your supplies to save money. For instance, if you are currently receiving multiple deliveries per week from several different vendors, consider consolidating vendors and deliveries down to one or two a week. Less-frequent deliveries equates to better bulk savings. Ordering larger quantities from the vendors you stick with may enable you to negotiate better prices as well.

Furthermore, make better use of the inventory you have on hand. Keep careful track of what is coming in and what is going out; build specials around surplus ingredients and make a point of utilizing all of your currently available inventory before the next shipment of new supplies is delivered.

Last, but not least, be consistent about your portion sizes. Consistently sized portions keep guests from feeling cheated if they get a smaller portion one time and a larger portion the next. They also help to control costs and improve inventory tracking. Extra scoops add up over time and a lack of standardized portioning makes it difficult to know exactly how much each dish is costing the business to produce, in comparison to the amount of product sold.

Leverage Restaurant Beverage Sales

Another smart way to improve profit margins is to leverage beverage sales that are cheaply produced. Iced tea, for example, can cost as little as five cents a glass to provide. Rather than providing water automatically, notify guests that it is available upon request as a conservation strategy. Not only does this save on water, but it also increases the odds that they will order other beverages off the menu instead. Lastly, build your drink specials around surplus inventory to further make use of everything you already have on hand.

Make Best Use of Restaurant Staff Scheduling

Striking a balance between over-staffing and having adequate staff on hand to handle the amount of customer traffic is always a tricky business in the restaurant industry. Yet, making best use of your restaurant staff scheduling is another way to cut costs. Obviously, you want to schedule fewer people on days you anticipate will be slow, but you also want to make sure that you have your most skilled and efficient employees scheduled on your busier days. Furthermore, it’s smart to try to pair servers who have established rapport and have demonstrated the ability to work well together. Servers who get along are going to be far better at working together and covering a room more efficiently. Talk with your staff and observe them in action to figure out how to best put their unique skill combinations to use.

Identifying areas where you are spending more money than you need to be can be challenging. Looking for opportunities to save money without sacrificing the quality of service is critical to any restaurant’s success. Sometimes a little experimentation is required in order to strike the perfect balance for your restaurant business, but the cost-saving effort is worth the while.

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