Every establishment in the restaurant business strives to bring the best service possible. This means creating tasty dishes that satisfy and offering a pleasant customer experience. But to achieve these goals, a business first needs to invest in quality. After all, a restaurant that serves cheap cuts of meat, or stale produce, is not likely to please anybody.
But investing in quality also results in higher costs. For a business just starting out or one under financial trouble, these costs can add up. But what if there was a way to reduce costs whilst still providing top-quality food?
Let’s explore ways to cut costs whilst keeping diners happy.
1. Look at Your Menu
The first step to cutting costs is by looking at your menu. Food preparation will make up a large chunk of your spending. Costs are not only associated with cooking food, but you also must consider the price of ingredients, delivery, and storage.
Are there any dishes that cost more to prepare than others? If so, how successful are they? If these are the dishes that are bringing in the most orders and attracting the best reviews, you should keep them on your menu. But if a certain is expensive and not pulling in any orders, then it’s probably taking up unwanted space on your menu.
Of course, these costs are not only associated with food. Drinks can also be extremely costly.
Have you ever found yourself asking, ‘why are cocktails so expensive?’. The answer is that they require a mixture of various spirits to prepare. Taking these drinks off the menu is probably not an option, but certain cocktails are probably less relevant than others.
Plan a smaller drinks menu with cocktails that are likely to be successful. To stand out from the crowd, you could work to make your cocktail bar sustainable.
2. Think About Staffing
Your staff are the lifeblood of your restaurant, ensuring meals are served, and customers are seated. Hiring the right staff is extremely important. If your chefs aren’t cooking tasty food and your waiters aren’t courteous, diners won’t be happy. This means hiring people that understand your restaurant and work well within its culture.
But paying your employees a wage can also be expensive. That’s why it’s essential that you don’t overfill your establishment with staff. Instead, take a look at your operation. How many staff do you need to ensure that your restaurant operates efficiently?
It’s always good to maintain a busy kitchen, but hiring more people than you need is not advisable. If you haven’t yet opened to the public, there’s no reason that you can’t start with a smaller team and grow as demand increases. Remember that quality is almost always more important than quantity in the restaurant business.
3. Keep a Slim Menu
It might be tempting to create a large menu filled with exciting dishes. Avoid this temptation. As we have already explored, the production costs of making food are often high. As a result, the most successful establishments usually focus on a smaller menu.
This is not simply just about reducing costs. By having your staff focus on making a select number of dishes, you can ensure that you are consistently creating high-quality meals for your diners.
To maximize your menu’s success, it’s a good idea to look at trends. Certain dishes may be more popular in a given moment than others. In addition, trends will differ depending on the kind of establishment that you run. For example, drive thru trends will obviously be relevant to a fine dining restaurant.
As well as a smaller menu, slimmer portion sizes might be in order. Do you often find dishes entering the kitchens that are unfinished? This indicates that portion sizes are too large for customers. This is wasted money and ingredients. There’s no harm in reducing portion sizes, especially if customers cannot finish their meals.
4. Consider Your Supply
Your establishment will probably receive ingredients from multiple different sources. But using various suppliers may not always be the best way forward. Each supplier will have its delivery costs, which can quickly add up.
Improve your supply chain by receiving deliveries from a single supplier. By sticking with a distributor, you ensure that there is only one delivery price. This also helps to guarantee more efficacy with each delivery; all items arrive at once.
Inevitably, there will be a scenario where a supplier does not have an item that you need. When you have to look for a separate vendor, remember, always try to minimize the number of suppliers you use.
5. Don’t Forget Delivery
Food delivery is becoming and more important, even for restaurants. Every year, the US food delivery market grows by 20%. This trend does not show any sign of stopping soon. If your restaurant hasn’t yet invested in delivery, it should. But delivery should be cost-efficient.
Certain food items do not travel well and take longer to prepare. You could end up wasting time and money preparing a dish that is low quality by the time it arrives. To optimize delivery, it’s better to focus on simple dishes that will satisfy a customer.
To do so, you might want to consider implementing a delivery-only menu. This could focus on a small number of dishes that are perfect for delivery.
Don’t Discount the Cost
Every business in the restaurant industry should be mindful of cost. Without sensible spending, your business isn’t likely to be successful. But sensible spending doesn’t and shouldn’t mean reducing the quality of your dishes or service. As we have explored here, there are a number of easy ways to cut back on costs and maintain quality.
Take a thorough look at your establishment. No doubt at least some of the tips outlined above can be implemented. By taking the right steps now, you can feel confident in your spending decisions and ensure a bright future for your restaurant.
About the Author
Amy Taggart is the digital marketing manager at Hamilton Beach Commercial, a leading provider of commercial foodservice equipment worldwide – you may be aware of their sister company, Hamilton Beach, which provides a lot of popular small home appliances.
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