Here are five ways you can make your restaurant budget work for you so your expenses can drop and your profits can rise. 1. Track and Manage Inventory Let's be honest - inventory tracking is a pain, but it's a sure-fire way to help you save money and control food costs. Why? Because the lower you get your food variance, the less food you waste and the lower your total cost of food becomes. Costs are measured, food is tracked and you'll be on your way to smarter supply ordering and food portioning. It's easy to make mistakes when it comes to inventory tracking, but it's important to stop these mistakes before they happen. For example, buying in bulk is not always the smartest idea! It limits the amount of usable and available space in your walk-ins and back room. Plus, food is more likely to lose its freshness when you buy in bulk, which could result in dissatisfied customers and even more food waste. The solution is simple: order accurately, track what's coming in vs. what's going out, and you'll lower your variance and your food costs. Ultimately, this will free up money in your restaurant's budget and save you plenty of headaches. 2. Cut Back on OvertimePay Overtime is a hot topic in the restaurant industry. Owners and managers want their best employees in the back and front of the house, but can’t always afford to pay overtime. So, here are your options:
- Bump up the base pay of your all-star salaried employees above the threshold.
- Cap hours at 40 for your employees who aren't necessarily pros. If you feel like you need that employee more than 40 hours a week, either plan for the overtime pay or see option #1.
- Hire more staff members so that your restaurant keeps the same amount of labor hours without fronting the overtime costs. However, it's best to avoid this option if possible. With larger staffs come more costs associated with training and turnover, meaning the effort could be entirely counterproductive.
- Hiring better talent means dedicating a little extra time in the short run for a more lucrative long run. Running aggressive hiring campaigns and holding out for a stellar candidate deters you from hiring a pair of shoes to fill the void in your back kitchen.
- Keeping top talent around results in a lower employee turnover rate, which helps alleviate those costs associated with constantly losing and re-hiring staff.
- Non-Alcoholic Drinks - bump those soda prices up!
- Wine - the average markup ranges between 200 percent and 600 percent.
- Pasta, pizza and bread-based dishes - we all know dough isn't too expensive to make.