Whether you’re a brand new restaurant that’s just getting started or an established restaurant with a long history of success, controlling food costs is one of your top priorities. You don’t want to deliver anything less than the quality your customers have come to expect. On the other hand, you don’t want to overspend, either! Try some of these tips for minimizing food costs while still providing the excellent quality that every customer expects from your restaurant.
Know What Your Menu Items Cost
Have you ever taken the time to evaluate what each item on your menu actually costs you to create? Check out the individual cost of the ingredients and add them up in order to determine how much you’re really spending on each dish. Some of those premium dishes may end up costing you more than you think! Knowing how much you’re spending on each item will help you determine how you need to change your restaurant spending.
There are some things that are worth offering discounts on, even if the restaurant makes little or nothing on them.
Check Out the Menu
Do you have items on your menu that simply aren’t selling? Are there ingredients that you must purchase on a regular basis, but which often go bad before anyone orders meals that contain them? If so, it’s definitely time to change your menu.
You should also take food costs into account when developing your menu. Are there dishes that are above the regular price point for your restaurant? There are some things that are worth offering discounts on, even if the restaurant makes little or nothing on them, but you should be sure to evaluate the actual use of each of these menu items.
Evaluate Portion Sizes
Portion sizes can have a huge impact on the cost of each dish. If your dish is designed to have four ounces of meat, but the chef often tosses six ounces in arbitrarily, you’re wasting food. Make sure that you have a standard portion size for each dish. It won’t just help slice food costs; it will also help customers know what to expect every time they order their favorite menu item.
You should think outside the box and find ways to use as much of the food you’ve ordered as you can.
Control Your Inventory
Ordering food that ultimately goes bad is one of the biggest wastes of your restaurant’s food budget. Keep an eye on what’s coming in and what’s actually going out. Don’t let yourself run out of key ingredients, which could cause a problem for customers, but don’t over-order, either! Instead, create an inventory system that keeps the right amount of food coming in for your restaurant.
Watch the Waste
There’s a lot of potential for waste in many restaurant kitchens. From careless prep work that results in perfectly good food being thrown away to dishes that use only a portion of a meat or vegetable, then fail to recycle it for later use, you can find yourself throwing food away quickly – and throwing money away along with it. Look for creative ways to use as much of every piece of food as possible.
That doesn’t mean that you should attempt to use things that aren’t typically edible, but it does mean you should think outside the box and find ways to use as much of the food you’ve ordered as you can. Monitor the employees performing prep work to make sure they understand how to use the food properly.
Reducing food waste, controlling your inventory, and changing your menu to reflect the desires of customers and the needs of the restaurant will all help keep your restaurant running smoothly on a lower budget. The more attention you pay to the way you prepare your food, the lower your food costs will be. Often, that means that you can charge less for key dishes, keeping your customers happier, too!
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