6 Important Tips to Have Control over your Restaurant Food Cost

Operating a restaurant or any other area in the hospitality sector is no doubt an engaging job. It requires a lot of planning, operating and monitoring all aspects from inventory to customer service. 

It is a very lucrative option with promising returns. But if the reins are not held tight, it won’t be long before you list your equipment on eBay as you regretfully pay your final rent.

Financially speaking, the performance of your dining joint rests on your own skillset of management and dynamic problem-solving. In all the running costs associated with your business, labor and inventory are two major chunks to consider while evaluating your financial stronghold on the business. Though there isn’t much you can do about labor costs, you can certainly experiment with the inventory and the ways you procure and use it. There are techniques that enable you to make the best of your resources in this business. Let’s dive down into the matter and figure out ways to exercise efficient control over your restaurant food costs.

Monitor Inventory:

Inventory is one of the major running costs you will endure in this business and thus it is extremely essential to control the expenditure on this aspect. Now there are different angles to view this problem from. 

We not only have to focus on bringing the cost of inventory down, but we also need to control the use of inventory too. Inventory levels are a problem if too high or too low. An optimum balance is required to be set, based on the performance of your restaurant.

It is fairly simple to do this. Just go through the inventory along with the purchase list in your hand. If you observe anything used up more or less than required than that becomes the nut to be tightened. 

For example, if on your weekly inspection rounds, you find that hot ketchup is not being used much and there is plenty of stock left, it becomes clear to administer a slight cut back while buying ketchup.

On the other hand, if you find that your cheese reserves are nearing depletion way before others, note that down for your next purchasing list. This way you successfully manage to avoid a shortage, and wastage.

Discounts and delivery:

Who is not a fan of discounts? I would buy a private jet if it’s on discount, of course, if I have the money to pay the discounted price. 

Discounts can save you a substantial sum of money in any industry where inventory is a major cost.

Try to avail as many discounts as possible. Try to network with new restaurant food supply stores and get inventory at further lower costs. If you happen to have a good relationship with your supplier, try to get him down to the rate of his competitors. 

Make it a point to purchase inventory in lots so you get a good deal of discount.

One important hack here. Buy inventory in large quantities but ask for delivery in several smaller lots. This way you will avail discounted prices and still end up with fresh inventory all the time. This will also ensure minimum food wastage. 

Group Purchasing:

This is another great way to cut down on food costs.

If you aren’t able to cut yourself sizable chunks of discounts from your local supplier, you may try group purchasing. There are organizations where individual buyers pool their money and buy inventory in huge lots and distribute amongst themselves.

This way, even average players in the market can get the benefits that were once the privilege of only the bigger players in town. Just find out the one working in your area. Talk to other restaurant owners and you will get the link. This is a good way to get the best material at the cheapest price.

Then there is also the option to cut out the middleman and buy your stuff directly from the food producers. Figure out which technique works best for you and soon you will be making a handsome amount of savings on foodservice supplies & restaurant supplies like canned vegetables, canned foods, beverage products, condiments, spices, kitchen supplies, etc. A penny saved is a penny earned. 

Manage the Menu:

There are many ways to further make more savings on utilities just by doing some research over your menu. 

For example, when buying chicken, the price is going to be higher for the lot that is deboned, skinned and diced into pieces as opposed to buying raw chicken and loading the prep work on to your staff. 

Keep an eye on the variations in the prices of your goods. If the price of any particular commodity is cranked up for a while, it’s not the best time to introduce recipes using that particular item.

Make use of seasonal food. If you order an off seasonal commodity, it’s going to be a tad bit pricy.

There is one more hack to minimize wastage. Go through your inventories on a regular basis. Whenever you find the stock of any item in surplus, you can put up dishes using that item tagged as ‘Today’s Special’ and offer a calculated discount on it. This will ensure minimum wastage of food.

First in First out:

This is a kind of system or routine you need to set up for optimum inventory utilization. 

So going exactly as the name suggests, line up the inventory in storage as they are stocked up. Then when using the items, use the first item which goes inside the storage first. 

For instance, suppose you stock up 5 items on a shelf. You buy A and B on Monday, C on Wednesday and E on Friday. So when you want to use the items, use A first, then B and all the way up to E in the same order. This ensures that no items are left to stale and you always have fresh items in stock.

Quantity control:

Monitor the dishes you serve in your joint. See how much of it the customer is able to finish. If you find that a particular dish on the menu is usually left unfinished by most of the customers, it means that you are serving more than required and the surplus ends up in the bin. In such cases, reduce the amount of food in that serving and you’re good to go.

With the above practices adopted correctly, you are bound to make huge savings in your business. As they say, a penny saved is a penny earned.

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