Ways to Cut Costs Without Reducing Quality or Harming Your Guest Experience

We often talk about the astounding number of ways there are to lose money in the restaurant business, whether it’s in the kitchen, dining room, storage areas or back office. This being the case, it stands to reason that there are also lots of things that operators can do to stem potential losses by modifying how they do business in these areas.

Here are some proven practices that restaurants of all kinds have found to be effective in reducing waste, minimizing losses and improving efficiency and overall profitability.

Place a video camera in your dumpster area.

Dishonest employees will oftentimes steal individual steaks, bottles of liquor or other expensive items by concealing them in purses, backpacks and coats. However, for an employee to steal an entire case of product, the favored method of operation is to throw it in the trash and come back to retrieve it later. Key item inventory counts help to isolate missing product to a particular shift or day, but knowing how the product was stolen is often elusive. Having a video camera pointed toward your back door and dumpster area allows you to play back the suspicious periods of occurrence.

Audit first and last 15-30 minutes of every shift

There’s a saying that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. This means that when employees are given less time for a task they will work faster and get more work done than they are presently doing. In restaurants, you can often tell if employees have too much time by noticing their pace and sense of urgency during the first and last 15-30 minutes of each shift. A casual or slow pace especially during these times may indicate that they could get the same amount of work done on their shift with fewer hours on your clock.

Don’t accept deliveries during lunch

During the lunch rush your people are swamped and can’t do an accurate job of checking in your products. Have a policy that states no deliveries between, say, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Ensure the maximum usage of your products

Have a plan to use usable trim and byproducts somewhere else on the menu. Soups, garnishes and even sauces can be prime candidates for food that may be going straight to your trash bin.

Buy only what you need

Overpurchasing is one of the most expensive things you can do in this business. It leads to more waste, and spoilage.

Never allow more than one person to access a cash drawer

One of the hardest things to detect is when someone is stealing cash when multiple people have access to a given cash drawer.