Posts Tagged ‘operations’

Weighing the Merits of Recycling In the Restaurant

September 23, 2013

While more than 60 percent of the restaurants in the U.S. take at least some measures to reduce waste, the choice of implementing a recycling program in the establishment is still not an easy one. Even if there are plenty of recycling options in the city where your restaurant is, costs can still be prohibitive. Here are the major points to consider:

The Costs Associated with Restaurant Recycling Programs

While recycling pickup is now free in many cities, there are still some costs associated with getting an in-house recycling program up and running. You’ll need to consider things like buying the proper recycling bins or color-coded bags, possibly enlarging the trash corral as well as the cost of switching to recyclable or compostable disposables such as take-out containers.

Then there’s also the cost of providing regular training to employees in a high-turnover industry. If the costs outweigh the benefits, a full-fledged recycling program may not be the best choice for your establishment. That said, even doing something as simple as keeping your cardboard boxes out of the trash can have an impact on lowering the cost and frequency of waste removal, and is relatively simple and free to implement.

The Benefits of an In-House Recycling Program

When considering whether or not a recycling program is the best fit for your restaurant, the first question you need to ask yourself is how much you are paying for waste services now. Many city recycling services are free since recycling has become a profitable business, but removal of garbage is not.

Landfills cost money, so it pays to reduce the amount of garbage waste your establishment is producing. Some restaurants have saved as much as 30 percent on their monthly waste service costs simply by implementing single-stream recycling and adjusting the number of times waste is removed from the business each week.

The second question to ask yourself is what your reasons are for wanting to recycle. Do you have a commitment as a company to social responsibility, the environment, and/or the community in general? Or is your motivation strictly cost-associated?

If the motivating factor is a commitment to doing something good, any incurred costs in the effort may not matter. Composting and recycling can actually help bring you more clientele, and letting your customers know that you are helping the environment pays off in improved customer approval and loyalty. The community wants services that are environmentally aware and will take notice of businesses that are working with that consciousness in mind.

Creative Waste Management in the Restaurant

While you may or may not have a zero-waste goal in which everything that leaves your restaurant is either recyclable or compostable, there are a number of ways to creatively manage the waste your establishment produces. Along with switching out all disposables such as carry-out containers for their compostable counterparts, it’s a great idea to alert customers to your efforts and encourage them to help wherever possible – say, by bringing in their own travel cups or using your ceramic options instead of that disposable drink container.

Separation of food waste also starts right when the table gets cleared, and training your employees to sort things properly can be as simple as providing color-coded bags and instructional wall posters. The diligence of each location’s manager is also important in the overall success of the program.

Regardless of whether your recycling efforts start small or go full-scale, the cost-reduction and feel-good benefits of working toward waste reduction will pay off for both your business and the community at large.

3 Reasons Why Your Restaurant Could Benefit from Turnaround Management

July 3, 2013

Success in the restaurant business can often feel like quite the balancing act to achieve. Sometimes, even the most successful business person can use a hand to maximize efficiency, profits, and improve the bottom line. That’s where the services of a restaurant turnaround management company come in. Following are just three of the many areas in which such a company can provide invaluable assistance to help set your restaurant back on the path to success.

Turnaround Management Offers Restaurant Assessment Services

There are a lot of factors that a restaurant owner has to consider in order to determine the overall success of the business. With so many areas to consider, it is easy to overlook a ‘leak’ in the system that is causing the entire operation to falter. Sometimes it’s helpful to have someone come in and take a detailed look at each area of operation in order to clearly see what is working and what isn’t.

A thorough assessment includes analysis of everything from overall operations to your marketing, brand positioning, safety and risk management, menu options, and finances. Generating a detailed report of each of these areas can be invaluable in determining what is working well, what isn’t working so well, and what the next best step to take truly is.

The Logical Step after Assessment is Restaurant Consulting Services

While sometimes a simple assessment provides enough information to make the change that is needed, other times it is nice to receive the logical next step – which is having someone provide suggestions about how to fix the areas that are performing poorly. Turnaround management companies specialize in providing only as much assistance as is asked for, so you can just get an assessment and call it good, but you can also opt to receive consulting services and savvy suggestions for how to improve.

Turnaround Management to Assist the Financial End of Restaurant Success

If your restaurant is in trouble financially, utilizing the services of a turnaround management company can be your saving grace. From providing due diligence lender and acquisition services to being your court appointed receiver, bankruptcy industry adviser, examiner, and trustee, turnaround management companies typically provide full scale financial assistance services. This also includes borrower analytics in which a lender would like more information prior to negotiating concession.

Obviously, if you’re a restaurant owner, it’s critical to utilize a turnaround management company staffed with people who truly know and understand the restaurant industry. Managing a successful restaurant takes a specialized skill set and requires unique considerations which differ from other types of businesses. Therefore, you want to be working with restaurant professionals who have very specific areas of expertise – ranging from culinary operations to financial reporting and profitability. You want a team who is able to deliver specialized results from the top down or from the bottom up and obviously, you want to work with people who can provide the necessary guidance to achieve real results.

If your restaurant is struggling in any way or even if you simply want to make sure that things are running as smoothly and efficiently as possible, utilizing the services of a restaurant turnaround management company is the smartest way to go.

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!