There are good things happening in the restaurant industry. There have been some major lows over the past 3 years, but in that time frame, restaurants have found their weak spots, refined the way they do business and created new systems that have led to more efficient operations. We have seen small improvements in supply chain issues and menu pricing should moderate from the aggressive price increases we saw in 2022, but there are still quite a few obstacles facing restaurant owners, and you want to be prepared for whatever curveballs are thrown your way. Here are a few ways to increase your restaurant’s chances at generating revenue amid setbacks.
Forecasting and Budgets
In order for a restaurant to be successful, there needs to be time taken each year to look at last year’s sales along with a couple years prior. You want to find trends in spending and try to figure out why certain times were more successful so you can make educated forecasting decisions to increase profit margins. Budgeting and forecasting is your golden ticket to improving not only profit margins, but many areas of your business. Better guest experiences, better labor scheduling and general improvements will keep your business moving in an upward direction.
Iron Out Labor Strategy Details
Along with food cost, labor cost is one of the highest controllable expenses for restaurants. If your restaurant does not have a concrete plan for labor, then now is the time! Creating a plan for hiring, training, scheduling and retaining employees can seem like a lot, but will save you a considerable amount of money when you find a system that works. It is also important to check-in on your real-time insights for labor cost. Are employees clocking in early or clocking out a few minutes late? These can add up quickly and cost your restaurant a lot of money, so you want to be sure it is being monitored and addressed quickly.
The Art of Negotiation
Inflation is at a high so you can expect to pay more, however that does not mean that you shouldn’t try and negotiate prices with your suppliers. You should always negotiate when you can. If you can lock-in prices at a great rate, it could potentially help your restaurant when the economy takes a hit. Build relationships with your vendors. A few tips to remember when negotiating are to be assertive but not aggressive. You want to find mutual ground and remind the vendor that y’all are collaborating to reach a mutual goal that is acceptable to both.
Food Waste Diaries
Last, but certainly not least, restaurants should keep a live record of food waste. The kitchen is busy, but taking a minute to jot down and keep a log of what is being wasted will help to combat the problem. Managers and kitchen staff can then take those notes and more easily discover where the problem stems from. If staff waited until after a shift and then tried to have people say where they think the waste is coming from, it would be much harder to trace it back to the source. There are multiple benefits to minimizing food waste, so take some time to work up a plan that can help your restaurant decrease waste.
If you have a plan for these four strategies, your restaurant will be much more set up for success in the event of unforeseen obstacles.