Managing the bottom line is the biggest challenge for restaurant owners. Cutting costs and managing the margins can’t be overlooked. But while you’re actively reducing labor and food costs, take time to have a quick gander at these five ways you may be able to squeeze some savings out of your day-to-day operations.
1. Reduce Your Reliance on Paper
It’s the small things that often suck up cash on the regular. Receipt paper, paper napkins, and paper towels all cost money and pretty much go straight to the garbage. Thing is, it’s easier than ever to go paperless. An investment of a hand dryer in the restroom can reduce the overuse and expense of paper towels in the long term and linens can replace paper napkins. A mobile POS brought tableside means servers don’t need to use receipt paper to jot down orders, and an electronic chit system, where the kitchen staff can drag and move tickets and then close them on an iPad, means paper tickets and back of house printers are totally eliminated.
2. Control Takeout Containers
Takeout and delivery is great for your restaurant – who doesn’t want customers spending on the menu and not taking up seats? Takeout might not cost you a table, but it’s costing you in packaging, so get serious about how the containers are used. Premium takeout containers used by servers to package up their own leftover lunch, or to take their dinner home are an extravagance you don’t have to afford. Cut the costs by having cheaper takeout containers for staff, or have them bring their own. As well, set a standard for what goes in the takeout or doggie bag for customers: a stack of 10 napkins and a handful of forks and spoons can be controlled to 2 napkins per order and the right plastic cutlery for the menu item.
3. Adjust Portion Sizes
Though it may seem obvious, there are always more ways to save in the kitchen. Take a look at what’s left on cleared plates: if you notice that half the fries are always left on the plate from a burger order, or that your mac and cheese is never finished, consider making adjustments to portion sizes so that there is less waste. Of course don’t skimp on quality, and always be sure that you are providing value to your customers, but by not overwhelming them with food they can’t finish, they leave satisfied and you cut down on food that winds up in the trash.
4. Increase Staff Efficiency
Staff sticking around to close up a single table, stretching out their closing duties, and not clocking out when their shift ends, is damaging your labor to sales ratios. It’s not just about cutting people early or reducing shifts. Talk to your staff and let them know why it’s important for them to maximize their time on the floor, complete tasks with a sense of urgency, and not stick around ‘on the clock’ when it’s slow. Make sure you help them to understand your motivations and that they feel empowered to make the correct choices.
5. Fix the small things
That broken tile in the bathroom doesn’t seem like a problem, but left for a length of time more tiles may chip away or break – until the problem winds up costing double or triple what it would have. Keep things in order and to a high standard to reduce money spent on much bigger repairs later. Stop dripping faucets, fix wobbly tables, and replace flickering light bulbs. Run a tight ship, before it runs you into the ground.
As a restaurant owner, you undoubtedly have your hands full managing your daily taskload, but it’s par for the course to keep an active eye on the small things too. By thinking creatively, being curious, and being active, you can reduce your spending even further and keep your restaurant in tip top shape.
About the Author
Andrea is a Content Marketing Specialist and Editor at TouchBistro where she writes about restaurant and dining trends, restaurant management, and food culture. A self-affirmed food geek, Andrea devours cookbooks and food blogs. She also knows how to make a killer kale salad.More Content by Andrea Victory