Systems - Restaurant Relief - Part 3

Systems (Part 3)

These areas will be the most financially rewarding categories you can tackle.

Menu Optimization

There are two parts to menu optimization, the first part is having a well-balanced menu is in terms of costs. Do you have enough low food cost dishes to balance the high-cost high margin items? Once you have sales data you will be able to calculate where that balance ends up. If you are having increasing food cost issues without understanding why might be the silent culprit. Your guests are going to order what they are going to order. You can alter your menu items to have it better balance and you can also alter your menu design.

Optimizing your menu design can influence guests to order what you want them to order. This is beneficial for food cost but also for branding. If your main dishes, what you are known for, are not highlighted or do not stand out they are losing your guests attention. Creating an area for those specific items to live is crucial and I highly recommend it be near the top of the menu, directly under the appetizers with some type of highlighting. A box, a different background, font, or design. Something to really make this area pop. The items that you focus on are up to you. They may be those high dollar high margin items because you want to sell out. When you decide to add a menu item that is high cost high margin you are taking a risk in this product and want to ensure it sells so there is no waste.

Food Cost

If you have established that your menu is well balanced and you are still struggling with food cost then you have to evaluate many areas. Often times food cost is death by a thousand cuts. Here are the areas to tackle;

Ordering Are you using an order guide? Often times food purveyors will provide these for you and you can put them in order with your shelves to make it a simplified process. However is doing your order should have established pars for what you need to have on hand as well as recording all on hands for each product so you can adjust pars as needed. This is a great tool to also discover hidden waste or even theft.

Receiving &Storage Is anyone checking in your order and checking weights of high dollar items? Purveyors are human and make mistakes as well. Who is putting away the product, are they practicing first in first out rotation to maximize shelf life of the product? This is also something that the person placing the order should be double checking during the orders.

Accounting Do your sizes match what you are receiving? For example are you paying for 24 pounds of broccoli but only being invoiced for 20? These errors do happen and can be one of the last places you might look.

Prep & Procedures The same theory of pars and on hands are crucial for your prep list. If you are writing a prep list and you have this information you can anticipate prep needs and also ask questions when numbers don’t make sense. For example if yesterday you prepped 24 of something, a 3 days shelf life, and have zero left after one day that should raise a red flag. What do you do with that? Maybe the product is somewhere else, look and ask. Maybe the prep person didn’t prep what they were asked to. Maybe for some reason you had a run on that item and it is a one off situation. Asking why is an important way to understand the data that pars and on hands will give you.

Labor Costs This can get tricky when we are discussing your peoples livelihood. You need to have sales data. If you have sales data by the hour even better. This way you can project your ebbs and flows of business and plan accordingly. If you understand that the schedule is the framework to operational and financial success you will use this ebb and flow method. If you start getting busy around 5:00 and you peak between 6 & 7 you should have all of your people in by 5:30. The best way to accomplish this is bringing staff members in in 15 minute increments. In the back of the house your most well rounded, cross trained, individuals should be in first. At the slower times this allows you to have someone who could handle a couple orders on each station instead of forcing you to have two people on each station when your sales do not support it.

Thank you for reading Part 3! If you have any questions I am always available to you via direct messages and email! Do not hesitate to reach out.

Mike Thorp

mike thorp