Archive for the ‘Restaurant Receiverships’ Category

Savvy Cost Control for Restaurant Operators

April 10, 2013

As a restaurant operator, you are well aware of the sometimes too narrow profit margin that exists in the food service industry. With rising costs of food and transportation, it’s more important than ever to control your costs wherever possible. Fortunately, there are several savvy strategies you can employ to do just that. Here’s a sample of what other restaurants around the country are doing to help them manage their bottom line.

Control Costs by Managing Your Workforce more Effectively

Aside from the cost of your goods and merchandise, payroll and management of your employees ends up being one of the biggest operating expenses. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to cut costs in this area. For example, setting time standards for your kitchen, bar, and serving staff can go a long way toward making the valuable ‘third seating’ available and turning a profit. The ideal is for customers to be seated, fed, and exiting the establishment within a 45 minute to one hour time frame.

Being clear about your expectations with your staff regarding how much time they have to fulfill their duties ensures smooth operating and increased revenue. Cross-training your staff wherever possible is useful as well because it not only enables your employees to fill in for each other and avoid backlog, but it also builds appreciation for their co-workers’ jobs.

Last but not least, consider moving your hiring process online. Doing so reduces both hiring costs and the amount of paperwork you have to deal with. You can pre-screen employees, have them fill out and sign all paperwork electronically, and even see if they are eligible for a federal tax credit.

Monitoring Energy and Resource Use Cut Costs Drastically

One of the easiest areas to control costs lies in the implementation of energy and resource efficient equipment and practices. For instance, replacing all of your electric kitchen equipment with gas equipment alone can save you hundreds of dollars a month. Low-flow toilets and faucets will cut your lighting bill, LEDs in place of incandescents will lower the cost of electricity, and smaller portion sizes not only cut your food costs, but serve to reduce waste as well.

Utilizing a company that provides energy conservation technology can make a major difference as well. You can have a wireless system installed that monitors your lighting, HVAC, refrigeration, and power consumption and sends you text messages if it notices even the slightest degree of alteration, allowing you to catch a failing refrigerator for example, before any food spoils.

Looking for Other Innovative Ways to Control Your Restaurant Costs

Spending a little time thinking of creative ways to control the cost of doing business can have great pay-offs as well. For example, say you haven’t been able to take advantage of bulk liquor costs because you don’t have enough storage space to hold it. Run the numbers and see if perhaps renting a small additional storage space nearby would allow you to take advantage of bulk pricing and still make a profit.

Sourcing your local community for goods can help cut costs as well – you can often get a better deal from a small, local provider than you can from your corporate standbys.

The important thing to keep in mind when looking for cost-cutting options is not to trim costs in areas which affect guests, but rather to look for behind the scenes opportunities that save your pennies but don’t affect the quality of your guests’ experience in your establishment.

Restaurant Profits: How Close Are You Watching Your Numbers?

April 6, 2013

Although your restaurant’s food, services, and location certainly factor into its success, what ultimately determines whether it lives or dies is whether it does or does not make a profit. Now, this may seem an obvious statement, but it bears consideration.

The skills that are required to run a successful restaurant are quite different from those needed to create a successful business. The operators who measure and monitor their costs and profit margins closely, on top of maintaining a high quality of food and service, are the ones that end up succeeding in the restaurant industry.

It’s Your Numbers More Than Your Food, Which Determines Your Restaurant’s Success

Regular review of essential metrics such as your profit-and-loss (P&L) statement, your balance sheets, and your cash flow statements is what will tell you whether or not you are truly making money. Keeping a careful eye on these reports also has the added benefit of drawing your attention to areas in your operations which may need tweaking and gives you the opportunity to make needed changes before these misalignments become real problems.

Aside from showing you how well you’re doing, analysis of your numbers is also the only way that you can hope to control your costs – which is fundamental to success in today’s business environment.

How Weekly Review of Your P&L Summary Can Make All the Difference

Of all the metrics available, the P&L statement could be considered the most valuable because it represents the end result of all of your efforts – from operations to marketing to controlling your costs. Many operators find it instructive to review a summary P&L every week so they can see at a glance how the restaurant is performing and take quick action is anything is amiss.

The four key numbers to keep a watch on are your sales, prime cost (total cost of food/beverage/merchandise plus payroll), controllable income (sales minus prime cost and any other controllable expenses you may have), and net income. How a restaurant manages their prime cost in particular often indicates whether the business will succeed or fail, and as such, it can be additionally helpful to break your prime cost into columns of controllable and uncontrollable expenses so that you know exactly where and how you can takes measures to correct problem areas.

Sharing Your P&L with Staff Decreases Food and Labor Costs as Well

Furthermore, a weekly review of your P&L has the added benefit of increasing awareness and accountability of your staff. When everyone can see how they’ve done each week, the kitchen staff becomes more conscious of their inventory levels, management becomes more aware of scheduling staff efficiently, and so on.

Some restaurants have even gone so far as to implement a reward system to their employees for surpassing performance benchmarks, which can be yet another way that regular review of your numbers can serve you.

All in all, the restaurant industry is incredibly complex – it’s part retail, part manufacturer and it’s got a thousand moving parts that all have to work in unison to allow a business to thrive. As a result, generic accounting isn’t going to cut it. With profit margins as narrow as they can be, you’ve got to keep a careful eye on your cash flow to succeed, and to do that, you’ve got to keep a finger on the pulse of your numbers!

What Today’s Consumers Want: Personable, Human Experiences and a Reason to Give Loyalty

March 22, 2013

Technology can have a wonderfully effective application in the restaurant industry. In fact, we explored a few such applications in a recent post. However, before we get too excited about installing all the latest tech advances, it’s important to keep in mind that technology can also create an experience that is rather cold and impersonal for the consumer, which can actually end up inhibiting your relationship rather than building it.

People Want Personable Experiences, Not Cold Transactions

In fact, according to the Futures Company, 81% of today’s consumers say that companies are becoming too inhuman and impersonal when it comes to connecting with their customers. If you think for a moment about your standard interactions in the checkout line of any given store, you’ll see an obvious example of this in action. How often do you even make eye contact with your clerk, let alone make any personable conversation? Most of us are so busy answering the numerous questions we get from the credit or debit card machine in front of us that we barely even notice the person facilitating the exchange.

The important thing to recognize is that even though people appreciate the conveniences technology has to offer, they still want to make a human connection with the businesses they interact with.

Don’t Let Your Restaurant Fall Prey to ‘Transactional Coldness’

While the restaurant industry has some inherent guards against this phenomenon of ‘transactional coldness’ due to the fact that at least some level of personal interaction is generally required to take orders and deliver food, this effect can still creep in if you’re not on guard. Watch out for over-stressed or under-engaged staff slipping into robotic scripts, even on greetings and goodbyes.

Guests are also getting quite sensitive to being given a ‘sales pitch’ which can feel like you’re just trying to get more money out of them. Instead, upselling is best done only as a result to understanding the needs and expectations of the guest.

This need for a personal connection extends to employees as well. Staff wants to connect with supervisors on a personal level as well, and facilitating this connection drastically improves an employee’s sentiment about the business – which, in turn, facilitates the consumer experience at your establishment.

Technology and Good Old Fashioned Hospitality Should Co-Exist in the Restaurant

While technology can be useful on the levels of gathering better data about your consumers and staying connected with them when they aren’t physically in your establishment, it’s not a substitute for truly listening and learning about the people who are supporting your business. That goal can only be achieved by good old fashioned hospitality techniques such as knowing your customers by name, greeting them with eye contact, a warm handshake, and sincerely trying to make a personal connection with them.

The bottom line is that it is the quality of your interaction with your customer that makes or breaks your relationship with them. The ideal is to have a successful marriage between the conveniences of technology and the personable feeling of warm hospitality. Businesses that can make this marriage successful are then able to leverage the advantages of both worlds.

Leveraging Social Media and Mobile Apps in the Restaurant

March 18, 2013

Everyone knows that social media campaigns can be powerful tools to build your reputation and brand loyalty. Most people are also aware of the ever-increasing role smartphones play in helping potential customers locate businesses and decide whether or not to give them their patronage.

What many businesses are struggling with is the creation of a successful campaign that harnesses these technologies effectively. Not everyone uses mobile tech yet and social media campaigns can be difficult to obtain meaningful metrics from, making it difficult to determine if your return on investment makes your effort worthwhile. Nonetheless, you can’t afford to ignore the potential that either of these technologies offers in terms of customer engagement and the building of brand loyalty. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Using Social Media Properly Starts With Understanding What It’s Really For

Getting social media to be an effective tool for your business has a lot to do with how you use the technology. The number one mistake that businesses make with social media is taking too strong of a ‘sales’ approach in their attempts to connect with customers. The key point to keep in mind about social media is that it’s meant to be a social platform.  This means that people are using it because they want to connect and share personal experiences with others; they’re not using it so they can be blasted with advertisements and haggled about buying something.

As a business, the best approach to social media is to think about it as a tool to make friends with your customers. It’s a platform where it’s O.K., even expected, to be less formal and more friendly.  Posts should be value-oriented, delivering information you know your customers would be excited to have.

Your posting frequency matters too. In fact, a recent study in the Restaurant Social Media Index 2012 Consumer Report found that brands who published more than six promotional posts per week, had an opt-out rate of 8% from social customers!

The Power of Images in Social Media

Sometimes one good image can be a far more powerful tool to catch people’s attention than any number of text posts could ever be.  Images also have a longer staying power in people’s minds. Think, for instance, how much more likely you will be to remember that such and such restaurant is running a lunch time special on burgers if you actually see a picture of said burger looking totally delectable beforehand.  Platforms like Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram can be particularly powerful tools toward this end, since they are image-focused and shares are user-driven. Mobile platforms such as Yelp and FourSquare have recently beefed up their image sharing capacities as well, adding to the increased importance of images in restaurant marketing campaigns.

Mobile Apps That Build Restaurant Loyalty and Engagement

Given the increasing use of smartphones and mobile technology, it would be folly not to at least have a mobile version of your website enabled. Even better, build a free mobile app that your customers can download to their devices to stay in constant touch.

Several restaurants are using this technology is very effective ways. Krispy Kreme, for example, has an app that alerts users anytime their ‘hot now’ sign is on at their favorite Krispy Kreme location, allowing people to know exactly when they can show up and get their favorite doughnuts freshly baked and piping hot. Denny’s recently ran a mobile campaign where they gave users a digital ‘badge’ each time they ate at a new Denny’s location. The first user to visit a Denny’s in all 50 states was given free Grand Slam breakfasts for life.

These are just a few examples of how you can utilize mobile technology to inspire engagement and loyalty from your customers. If social media and mobile technology is not yet a well-developed aspect of your marketing campaigns, now is as good a time as any to leverage these technologies to your advantage.

Technology in the Restaurant

March 15, 2013

In our day and age, a business can’t survive long without adapting to the ever changing technology that barrages it. While you might think that food should remain relatively unaffected by the latest gadgets on the market, many restaurant owners have found that creative leveraging of new technology has significantly boosted their bottom line. Here are the highlights of some of the most interesting technological uses in the restaurant.

Mobile Payment Platforms for the Restaurant

It is estimated that the worldwide value of mobile-payment transactions will nearly quadruple over the course of the next three years as more and more consumers utilize their phones and tablets to pay their bills. The forecast is that the mobile payment market will be worth around $617 billion with a total of 448 million users by 2016.  This represents a huge demographic that, as a restaurant owner, would be wise not to ignore.

Unfortunately, there is not, as yet, a one-size-fits-all mobile payment platform. Different establishments are experimenting with a variety of different platforms to find the one that is best suited to the restaurant industry. The three biggest platforms in use right now are Square, Isis Mobile Wallet, and MCX.

Several restaurants have seen increased enrollment in their loyalty clubs when they adopt the use of mobile apps. These same institutions report vastly improved data gathering as well.  Integrating your brand with mobile payment platforms allows you to consolidate your mobile payments and mobile loyalty programs into one easily accessible platform.

Tablet PCs for Digital Ordering and Loyalty Rewards

Tablet PCs have become increasingly popular for a variety of uses in the restaurant. Some establishments hand them out in place of menus to allow digital ordering and at-table payment. Others are using them to give customers digital rewards tied to their loyalty programs when ordering certain items in-house. Several restaurants have found that the use of a tablet menu increases their sales of food and wine and has dramatically increased the use of ‘mix and match’ promotions for menu items.

Of course, tablet PCs have also found wide use as a tool for servers and hostesses to increase and efficiently deliver orders, track reservations, and increase consumer satisfaction with customer service.

Wi-Fi Bars, iPad Jukeboxes and Other Tech Amenities in the Restaurant

While the preceding technologies were used more for function rather than entertainment, these technological advances are equally important to meet consumer entertainment satisfaction requirements as well. Having Wi-Fi Internet available is particularly important, and some restaurants have gone so far as to create ‘Wi-Fi’ bars to encourage customers to linger in their establishments longer. Having outlets available to allow consumers to re-charge their devices is also particularly popular.

Having both plugs and Wi-Fi available can drastically increase the flow of traffic through the doors of the business. Other restaurant owners have employed technology in a more entertaining way – by providing iPads that will play personalized jukebox stations while you dine, or by using those same tablets to run a quiz bowl or other fun game that diners can play while they eat.

There are numerous choices a person could make when selecting the right technology to integrate with a business establishment like a restaurant. It’s smart to analyze the trends and figure out how to integrate technology that is both efficient to install and beneficial to customers to use.

Up and Coming Food Processing Technologies to Keep Your Eye On

March 11, 2013

Considering the growing level of industrialization in food production and the globalization of food supply and trade, it’s no surprise that food safety has been a topic of increasing importance. Recent years have garnered a host of new and improved food processing technologies that stand to significantly improve food safety, as well as increase shelf life and reduce environmental impacts. Here are the main technologies that have people excited.

High Pressure or High Hydrostatic Pressure Food Processing

High pressure processing, also known as high hydrostatic pressure processing or ultra high pressure processing, is the application of up to 87,000 pounds per square inch of pressure to cook food products. It can be done with or without heat and has the effect of rendering microbes inactive as well as altering certain food attributes to achieve the desired quality.

This technology helps retain the quality of the food as well as maintaining natural freshness and extending the microbiological shelf life. Because high pressure processing causes minimal changes in the freshness of the food, it is preferably to thermal technologies.

An additional advantage is that this method of processing can be done at ambient or refrigerated temperatures, thereby eliminating funky flavors that can arise as a result of thermal processing.  High pressure processing is, therefore, particularly useful for heat-sensitive products.

However, like any technology, high pressure processing can’t be used universally. It does not extend the shelf life of foods such as vegetables or milk which are low in acidity, although it does kill food borne pathogens such as listeria or salmonella, which such foods can harbor. High pressure processing is similarly poorly suited for foods like strawberries or marshmallows which have internal air-pockets and are easily crushed, as well as dry solids which don’t have enough moisture to make high pressure processing effective for microbial destruction.

Microwave Heating as a Food Processing Technology

Although microwave technology has been around for a long time, there have been numerous advances in recent years which make this an important food processing technology to utilize.  Microwave heating has many well-known applications in food processing already – tempering frozen foods for further processing, pre-cooking meats like bacon for institutional use, and drying of pasta products.  Compared to conventional methods, microwave heating significantly reduces processing time, as well as improving food quality and reducing environmental impacts. Thanks to the fact that microwaves are transparent to plastic, this technology is also put to use to process pre-packaged food products.

Ultraviolet Food Processing Technology

Ultraviolet food processing is perhaps the method that has garnered the most attention recently in terms of emerging technologies. Ultraviolet light is particularly effective against air-borne pathogens and is used to control microbial hazards through the treatment of air, non-food, food contact surfaces, processing water, ingredients, raw, and finished products.

Meat processing facilities in particular can benefit from installing an ultraviolet system in their establishments, although studies still need to be run to determine cost-saving measures for energy and water processing, as well as the assurance of enhanced food safety utilizing the method.

There are several other emerging food processing technologies that are worthy of consideration, but these are the three big ones that are on everyone’s mind right now. As our global market continues to expand, we can expect more discussion and enhanced safety regulations to be put in place.

Restaurant Industry Food Trends to Watch in 2013

March 6, 2013

One of the interesting things to watch from year to year is the shift in which foods consumers can’t seem to get enough of. Some of this year’s food trends aren’t anything too novel, and others are rather surprising. Here are a few examples of what to expect.

Savory, Sour, and Asian Influence in the Restaurant

For years, dishes which are known to be tart, acidic, or bitter have been neglected by mainstream dining establishments. Not so anymore. Don’t be surprised if you see a plethora of new sour and savory menu items popping up. From fermented sausage to new spins on sauerkraut and desserts, sour is taking its day in the limelight. New methods of creating savory fruits also fall under this category and chefs around the country are dehydrating, pickling, fermenting, grilling, salting, and generally manipulating the flavor of fruits that we normally eat raw.

Asian foods taking the place of traditional American comfort food is another big trend this year. Whether it be the spicy, fresh flavors of Thailand, the tart taste of Korea, or the soothing concoctions of Vietnam, don’t be surprised to walk into an American diner this year and see delicious, Asian-inspired flavors on the menu.

Sophisticated Snacks in the Diner

Another surprising trend forecasted for 2013 is the fact that many restaurants are now offering snack options on the menu. Snacks are loosely defined as something that is not a meal, but can be purchased and consumed in three minutes. These days, people often snack their way through the day, taking food where they can grab it quickly in between their busy schedules. In fact, many people even consider a couple of snacks eaten together as a meal.

As a result, restaurants are finding that they can easily cater to this crowd simply by adding a few quick-grab items to the menu. While a snack used to mean a bag of potato chips, many restaurants are upping the ante by offering sophisticated snacks like glorified mini-burgers or shakes, upscale dips or crab cakes at a low price to consumers on the go. Popcorn, in particular, is enjoying a boost in popularity as a snack this year which given its low price, is a particularly easy item to add to your snack menu.

A One Diner Fits All Approach, Leaves No Diner Behind

Although there is still plenty of demand for upscale dining which provides a very specific fare, most casual dining establishments are finding that it is lucrative to cater to the needs of each individual demographic of consumer that enters the establishment. This means having something on the menu that will appeal to the vegan and vegetarian crowds, the gluten-free crowds, the weight-watching crowd, the budget crowd, etc, etc.

Being more flexible about the fare that is being offered and attending to the dietary needs of the various types of people who frequent the restaurant goes a long way toward building loyal clientele.

The forecast for the restaurant industry bodes well for this year, and we will continue to see big shifts in industry trends. You can count on health, portion sizes, and dining customization to remain at the top of the list, as well as an influx of new and exotic flavors that can’t be easily created at home.

Experts Feel the Outlook for the Restaurant Industry in 2013 is Positive

February 27, 2013

Despite the fact that the restaurant industry has had to deal with numerous negative pressures and uncertainties over the course of the last several years, many experts feel that 2013 will actually usher in a record high in restaurant industry sales. The projection is that sales will reach around $660 billion this year; representing a 3.8% increase from 2012 (adjusted 0.8% for inflation.) Although growth isn’t expected to be explosive, this remains positive news for those involved in the restaurant business.

The Fact that People want to Eat Out Is a Major Contribution to Growth in the Sector

One of the biggest factors that protects the restaurant industry no matter how bad the economy gets is the fact that it offers a service that customers actively seek out. We see again and again that people continue to spend their hard earned dollars eating out, no matter what the state of the economy is.

Now, obviously people who are feeling strapped for cash may perhaps make different choices in regards to how they eat out – doing so less frequently or down-trading to establishments with cheaper menus – and restaurant owners have had to shift their practices accordingly. But this doesn’t change the fact that people want to have nice meals outside their homes. In fact, one of the biggest factors contributing to the expected growth of this upcoming year is actually the pent up desire many people have to eat out on a regular basis again.

Why Restaurants are Flourishing Again, Despite Rising Costs

This is the sixth consecutive year of economic weakness. By this point in the game, most restaurants have either rose to the challenge of finding innovative ways to cut costs and control productivity or they have had to close their doors. Those restaurateurs who have been able to stay the course and solve their operating dilemmas are now able to shift their focus from simply keeping their heads afloat to growing their sales base instead.

Grow Your Sales Base with Strategic, Focused Marketing Plans

Given the fact that success this year is so dependent on attracting and retaining new customers, it only makes sense to have a marketing plan that is extremely targeted and efficient in place. Follow your metrics closely, make a point of understanding what is working and what isn’t, and shift your technique accordingly. Social media is going to play a big part in the success of your marketing campaigns as well, so if you haven’t already developed a strong social network, spending a little extra effort in this arena can have big payoffs – especially if you get creative with your campaigns and utilize marketing gimmicks that engage users and encourage them to help you spread the word.

Pre-tax profit margins will continue to be slim, so it’s also important to keep an eye on every aspect of your operations, monitoring for areas which could use some adjustment.

All in all, things are looking up for the restaurant industry this year. The people are there, and they want to eat out. Your job is to keep up with reforms that increase productivity and efficiency while finding creative new ways to attract them to your establishment.

Essential Email Metrics for Effective Marketing Campaigns

February 20, 2013

One of the factors that make email marketing campaigns so valuable is the fact that it is one of the easiest forms of marketing to get clear, concise measurements on whether or not your campaign is working. The more concise your measurements, the more able you are to fine tune your marketing efforts, which increases the return on your investment. Here are the essential email metrics you need to pay attention to in order to determine how well your email campaign is serving its intended purpose.

How Deliverable are Your Emails? Are They Getting Bounced or Junked?

The first essential email metric to examine is your deliverability. If a good percentage of your messages are getting blocked, bounced, or worse, thrown in the spam folder, it’s time to change your tactics. There are a variety of reasons that this could be happening, and the first place to look is the email service providers that your email contacts are using. (Email service providers are companies like Google Mail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, MSN, etc.)

An easy way to check to see if there is a problem with a particular email service provider is to create ‘seed’ email address accounts at each of them. Then, the next time you send out a newsletter, include your seeds to each of the email service providers and log in after the send out to see if your message made it safely to the inbox.

If your message was blocked or bounced, it’s not a bad idea to contact that email service provider to ask why. In some instances, you can even get a ‘Certified Sender’ status directly from the email service provider which will guarantee that your messages get safely through. If your newsletter is getting thrown in the spam folder, it might have more to do with your content than the email provider. We’ll talk more about that in the spam section.

How Often Are Your Emails Getting Opened? How Many People Unsubscribe?

The next two telling metrics are your open rate and your unsubscribe rate. Now, the fact that someone opened your email doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they actually read it, but it does give you other valuable insights. How well your subject line is working is one such example, and it can be very helpful to compare open rates between different versions of the same newsletter to see which converts more customers.

The type of people who are unsubscribing from your list can provide you with valuable insight as well and it’s important to pay attention to who is removing themselves from your list. Is it your most valuable subscribers? All women? Are they all from one demographic? Try to pinpoint trends and see if you can shift your email marketing campaigns accordingly.

Help! I’m Getting Spam Complaints and My Emails Are Getting Junked!

If your emails are ending up in the spam folder more often than not, there are a variety of factors that could be coming into play. The first no-no is buying purchased email lists – this is almost a surefire way to land in the spam folder AND lose your money. Emails also get junked if they contain too many risky words like ‘buy’, ‘free’, ‘purchase’, ‘order’, etc., which trigger the spam filter. Emails that contain only one image often land in spam country, as do emails with too many exclamation points in the title.

Bottom line: keep your emails small in size and rich with content, and don’t go overboard with the gimmicks. Using a trusted email service provider to send out messages goes a long way as well.

All in all, the metrics you get out of running email campaigns can provide you with really valuable insight about how to best make your next move. Keeping an eye on these essential statistics will give you a clear picture of your revenue and profitability, as well as a better understanding of what is truly affecting your bottom line.

Beating the Battle of Rising Food Costs

February 13, 2013

The rising cost of food and the fuel that is required to transport it has had a big impact on restaurateurs around the country. Everyone is looking for ways to buckle down and trim back without sacrificing the quality of goods and services that is offered. It’s a tricky balance. Fortunately, there are several easy things you can do to help beat the battle of rising food and fuel costs. Here are a few examples:

Use a Purchasing Consultant to Get the Best Vendor Price

With the economy being the way that it is, it only makes sense to shop around for the best deal you can get from vendors. Unfortunately, this task can be quite time consuming. You can spend hours browsing around for the right deal and the task gets more complicated because you still have to keep a hawk’s eye out for hidden price increases from your existing vendors.

Many businesses have found that it is often more cost effective simply to hire a purchasing consultant to do comparison shopping for all controllable costs – everything from your dry goods and china to the food itself. It’s often better to hire a consultant instead of designating a staff member for this task as well, because consultants usually operate on a fixed cost monthly retainer.

Reduce Fuel Surcharges by Storing more Goods

In an effort to combat their own rising costs, many vendors have started adding a fuel charge to delivery orders – usually in the ballpark of $2-$4 per delivery. Over the course of any given year, this can amount to $1000’s of extra dollars. One method of dealing with this is to simply combine your delivery orders into one shipment, so you only pay one fee.

Another method is to create a larger storage space so that you don’t have to order new shipments as often. Of course, you can also always designate a runner to pick up the orders in-house – although that option still has you paying fuel.

Further Reduce Fuel Costs and Pay Less Money to Boot

Another smart strategy that many restaurant owners have begun to employ is to get their goods from local vendors. In many instances, a local vendor will actually be able to provide lower prices – especially if you are able to pay them sooner rather than later. Many vendors operate on a 90 day payment policy. Local vendors will often jump at an offer to receive payment in say…14 days in exchange for giving you a better price on the goods. Plus, the fact that the vendors are nearby often further reduces or even eliminates fuel-related delivery fees and has the added bonus of supporting your local economy, which is good for everyone.

These are just a few of several creative strategies restaurant owners are employing to combat the battle of rising food and fuel costs. There are, of course, many more options that will help you achieve the same goal. The key is to look for creative solutions, reduce, reuse, and to keep a sharp eye on what is working and what needs improvement.