While no one can compel people to spend more in your restaurant, there is always room to tweak the other side of the profit equation: expenses. Even if you think you are done with belt tightening, you might find a good idea among the 10 in this two-part series. Here are the first five:
1. Rethink equipment and layout.
“Food costs change; guest palates change. Operations are not something you set up once and leave for 10 years. Review your equipment and update as necessary for efficiency. Walking through the steps needed to make each dish can help you figure out a way to streamline the time, which boosts productivity. It also makes sense to prepare the best-selling items closer to the pickup window to reduce steps/motions.
2. Find out the real cost of credit cards.
Heartland Payment Systems helps restaurants evaluate one especially thorny expense category: credit card processing fees. Heartland suggests owners contact their processor and get the company to walk through a statement and explain all the fees. If they won’t do it, find another processor,” he advises.
3. Look at alternate energy sources.
Green operational practices not only appeal to many restaurant customers, they also can help trim utility costs. Besides trimming the restaurant’s energy costs and offering a edge against future increases, plus federal and state rebates.
4. Streamline the menu.
This is a basic restaurant management task, but one that often gets overlooked: Do you have the right mix of items on your menu? Right meaning a mix that most efficiently uses your space, inventory and labor force. Some menus offer a lot of choices, but are there things not moving or outdated. Take time to refresh your menu.
5. Hire someone to eyeball bills.
Even if an owner has the time to scrutinize every bill that comes across their desk, who how time to comparison shop for services? Consider hiring someone that specialize in sifting through service bills—things like pest control, trash hauling, utilities—and finding ways to reduce them by adjusting services, looking for errors and overcharges and negotiating for better rates.
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