The restaurant industry is highly profitable…at times. Often, it’s quiet during the week, but busy at the weekends. During those quiet times, it’s important to cut back on the overall cost of running the business. It’s unlikely that you're making much of a profit during quiet times, but by cutting down on running costs during these periods, you can save money on your overheads and help to boost profits. Here, we’re going to teach you how.
Tip 1: Assessing Portion Size
Because you have to buy many different items to make a range of dishes, it can be difficult to work out how much a meal is costing you once you add in the extras. For example, a with a steak dinner, the resultant will factor in the cost of the steak, and maybe the potatoes, but they need to factor in the garnishes and sauces so that they can get a proper handle on the finances.
To do this, you need to start to monitor items in groups. Create divisions, such as meat, poultry, milk, spices, salads, etc.
Monitor these over the course of two or three months and work out, on average, how much you are spending on the additional extras. Divide this by the number of meals you have sold, and you now have a rough guess at how much the extras are costing you per meal.
Now, you need to check that you are making a decent profit once these are accounted for. If you aren’t, then you have two options:
1.Increase your prices
2.Decrease your portion sizes
Unless you are a restaurant known for large portions, we would always recommend option 2 initially. This is because it helps in many different ways. By reducing portion sizes, you will minimize wastage, you will reduce your burden on the environment, and you will increase your profits.
You can reduce the impact of this on your customers by choosing utensils and plates that give the illusion that nothing’s changed. For instance, buy smaller plates, knives, and forks.
If you receive complaints, explain that there is often a lot of wastage with large meal sizes. If that doesn’t go down too well, you may have to reinstate large portions, but increase costs.
Tip 2: Replace Energy Sapping Equipment with Energy Saving Equipment
By far, one of the largest overheads for a commercial kitchen is the electricity and gas bill. You can reduce this massively by purchasing food service equipment that has a good energy rating (you should look for A+ rating).
By changing your food service equipment for items that are more energy saving, you can actually decrease the cost of running your kitchen significantly. You can save as much as £1 an hour, and at 8 hours a day, 300 days a year, that’s an overall saving of £2400 per year. Not bad.
Tip 3: During Quiet Periods, Have Your Staff Prepare Meals for Busier Periods
This is really a no brainer. Rather than paying staff to do nothing during quiet periods, you can pay them instead to prepare meals for serving later on. This can save you time, and as you know, time is money!