If you run a chain of restaurants, the last few years will undoubtedly have proved challenging. With the pandemic receding, things are now returning to normal, but the current economic climate means that life continues to be tricky for most restaurateurs.
There are, however, some tips and tricks to keeping down costs for those managing restaurant chains and some handy hints to help even those working with the most challenging budgets. Here are some ideas to try to keep your business in the black!
Value for Money Furniture
With more than one establishment to manage, there aren’t likely to be many months that go by that you don’t need to purchase new furniture items or replace old tables and chairs that have reached the end of their life.
Expenditure on restaurant furniture may not need to be as high as you think. Sure, there are plenty of high-end vendors offering expensive, brand-name furniture, but you’re likely to find items of similar quality, without the brand name, elsewhere. The key factors are quality, durability, and comfort.
You could also buy second-hand furnishings – picking up a virtually free set of wooden tables and chairs and arranging for it to be sanded back and painted could be a cost-effective way of replacing old furniture with some quirky, unique pieces.
Inventory Tracking and Management
Your restaurants may lose a significant amount of money due to food wastage. Luckily, this can be easily remedied to save you a substantial amount of cash.
However you choose to monitor kitchen stock levels (and there’s plenty of software available specifically for this task), doing so effectively means that you won’t be at risk of over-ordering or having food going out of date before your chefs have had a chance to use it.
Consider Portion Control
And speaking of food costs – too large portions and consistent waste in this regard are one of the key ways that restaurants lose money unnecessarily. As part of managing a chain of restaurants, bring in portion control across all your establishments, train staff to implement it, and understand why it’s so important.
To get started with this, put in place an assessment process to gauge just how much food is being returned to the kitchen on an average day simply due to over-large portions. From here, you’ll get an idea of the size (as a percentage) by which you could try reducing the portions. Once you’ve decided to cut back by, say, 10% on portion size, and this is being implemented across your entire chain, monitor the situation again, carefully, for a week to check how well it’s working and if you need to reduce portion size even further.
Reduce Staff Turnover
The restaurant industry suffers from the highest level of staff turnover in all sectors. High staff turnover can put a real squeeze on an already hard-pushed budget; plus, it can seriously mess with your ability to give your guests a consistent and high-quality experience.
Several steps you can take should effectively reduce staff turnover and the associated costs of hiring and training a new employee. To start with, only make high-quality hires. Always interview before taking on a new staff member, and be sure to collect references from past employers.
Ensuring proper training is critical. Consider providing new team members with important information on practices and processes well before their first day, and buddy them up with an experienced employee for their first few shifts to help them learn the ropes.
Finally, recognize your employee’s hard work and protect your staff from burnout. Do this by making sure you always have adequate levels of cover in each of your establishments, and motivate workers with awards in recognition of their hard work.
Automating specific manual processes can save you big in terms of staff time and – therefore – money! Likely, you’re already using a sophisticated POS (point of sale) system, but are you making full use of its automation tools?
For example, if you run a customer loyalty scheme, most POS systems can run this side of things for you, automatically displaying discounts earned when the time comes for the customer to pay, meaning there’s no need for wait staff to keep track of this side of things manually.
Your POS can likely automate stock ordering and inventory processes and even help create staff rotas.
Keep Track of Costs
And last but not least, keeping accurate track of costs across all your restaurants is vital to prevent wastage and identify areas for saving. Pay attention, too, to the monthly sales reports that allow you to see how well individual menu items are performing – this way; you can get rid of any poorly performing, high-cost dishes from your restaurants’ roster.
By implementing some or all of the tips above, you should see major savings, helping you to run your options optimally, even with a tight budget. Plus, these efficiency-boosting ideas will have a positive effect across your entire chain, saving you time and stress, as well as money!