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As a restaurant operator you know one of your biggest challenges is managing your food costs and increase your restaurant profitability. Today I want to share a few tips for using your restaurant back office software to lower your food costs and better manage your profitability.

1. Know your food costs. It all starts here. First and foremost you need to know how much your food costs are so you can then identify areas of issue and make plans to adjust where necessary. We recommend doing a quick check of your food costs on a daily basis and doing a more thorough analysis on a weekly basis.

2. Tighten your controls. One of the first things operators do to remedy high food costs is to tighten their controls. You can do this using the prep and production charts that are based off past history and projected sales which will tell you to prepare a certain amount of product. This will help you more accurately prepare food during the day and week so you can reduce waste.

3. Manage your portioning. Portioning can be a huge source of loss in the restaurant industry. Just like an over pour in the bar industry can ultimately cost a business thousands of dollars, over proportioned food items can be disastrous for your bottom line. Use portion control techniques with your cooks to make sure they are measuring everything. Train your staff well and hold them accountable for measuring portions correctly.

4. Be on the lookout for thieves. Not to be negative but the reality is there are thieves among us. The employee walking away with 50 pounds of beef every other week could be costing you some serious money. Use food inventory tools to view areas where things are not adding up. For example, if beef comes in 40 pounds per case, and you regularly run out, yet your daily beef sales aren’t adding up week after week. Take a look at your inventory controls and your labor schedule to see if you can determine patterns and find the culprit.

5. Order the right amount. Use the suggested order guide in your restaurant back office system to only order enough food to meet your sales projections. The last thing you want to do is throw out expired food, as you’re well aware, that’s money you can never get back.

While these are some tips to help you lower your food costs the best advice I can give you is to stay on top of the numbers. It may seem overwhelming but the more organized you are and the more routinely and closely you analyze your data, the more you’ll be able to lower your food costs and increase your restaurant profitability.