10 Tips to reduce your catering costs
We often talk about loss in restoration. Whether in the kitchen, the dining room, the bar, the storage areas or the back office. That said, of course there is also a lot that operators can do to stem potential losses. And reduce your costs by changing the way they do business in these areas. So here are 10 practical tips that restaurants large and small can use. Have found effective in reducing losses and, as a result, increasing profitability.
1 - Lower stock levels
Of course, there is a limit to reducing stock levels, but it is common for many restaurants to have more food on their shelves than they really need. Evaluate your inventory levels on a product-by-product basis and base your order levels on how much you think you actually need to use until the next delivery and add a reasonable safety factor.
So by reducing excess inventory, you will have less waste and spoilage and you will reduce your costs. You'll probably find that your staff will do a better job of rationing and handling your expensive products when less is on hand.
2 – Daily inventory of key items
This is one of the most basic but most effective cost controls in the catering sector and we are constantly amazed at the number of independent operators who do not. So it starts with identifying your top 10 to 15 products that make up the bulk of your food costs. Every day, count and record the starting or opening quantity available for each product.
Add to that all your purchases of the day. Count the ending inventory and calculate the usage of each item by adding the beginning quantity and purchases, then subtract the ending amount available.
The result is the quantity of each product that was used. Now compare this figure with the POS (point of sale) product usage ratio for each product.
If the actual usage is higher than the (theoretical) POS usage examine it immediately. This could be a sign of theft, breakage or other food utilization problems.
3 – Calculate your ideal cost regularly
To control the cost of food you need to know your food cost target. First, you need to complete the exercise to calculate the cost of your entire menu.
Calculate the ideal cost
Then calculate the ideal cost based on the actual menu sales mix from your POS product mix reports. This report should show you the quantity sold and total sales for each menu item for a given period of time. Simply report the cost of each menu item and the number of sales for that item. Then multiply the cost by the number of sales to arrive at the ideal cost for each item.
Then add the ideal cost for all items to arrive at the ideal total cost of food for the period . The difference is the potential cost savings lost.
4- Focus on selling your highest gross margin items
Regardless of the cost of food, there are times when a higher food cost can mean more profit. This is the case when you promote and sell more expensive dishes such as steak or fresh seafood and sell fewer lower cost items such as spaghetti or grilled chicken. Although steak can have a high food cost. So it usually brings in more gross profit, which results in a higher food cost but also a higher profit.
5- Insure maximum use of your products
Plan to use fillings and by-products that can be used elsewhere in the menu. Soups, toppings and even sauces can be prime candidates for foods that can go straight into your garbage can, saving you money.
6- Buy only what you need
Overpurchasing is one of the most expensive things you can do in this business. This leads to more waste, deterioration and therefore loss. Use purchase orders. Keep a record of what you have ordered, the quantity ordered and the price indicated.
From mistakes happen and they are usually not in your favour.
7- Use an order guide to reduce your costs
An order guide is a set of forms containing a list of all the products used by a restaurant. It is usually divided into separate sections such as meat, fruits and vegetables, cleaning products and paper. The order guide is used as a tool to count and track all the products that your restaurant uses and needs to reorganize.
That's why the most effective order guides include as much order history as the form allows. By seeing the usage history of the products, you can adjust your pars as needed and maintain inventory at optimal levels.
8- Establish the amount of daily preparation
To control freshness, waste and spoilage. So you need to know how much food to prepare for each shift based on anticipated sales. Too much product available leads to waste and spoilage. Too little results in a lack of supply on the line, which in turn means the occasional compensation for the guest. By establishing and constantly re-evaluating parity levels for all prepared items, you help reduce excessive waste and cut costs.
9- Put on update the price of your menu
Whether it's table condiments, French fries and salad, bread and butter, or frying oil. Every restaurant offers food products that make it difficult to allocate costs for specific menu items. It is therefore often difficult to allocate costs to specific menu items. Often referred to as plate cost or surround cost. Therefore, this must be taken into account in order to have accurate menu cost expectations to reduce your costs.
10- Use data sheets in the kitchen
Your different recipes often contain very similar ingredients and serving sizes. So it can be easy for cooks to confuse them. One way to ensure consistency is to display recipe quick reference sheets at each station. Finally, these cards contain a list of ingredients and servings for each menu item so cooks can quickly check for correct recipe servings.
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