If you're a restaurant owner looking to save money, follow our step-by-step guide to identify, optimise and streamline your operations.
Hear how to incorporate wonky veg and pulses onto your menu, and how to adopt a restaurant concept like award-winning 'Six by Nico'.
Re-evaluate your menu
Could you simplify your menu? Are your pages too long and trying to cater to all your customers' tastes?
It could be time to re-evaluate.
Consolidating your menu to include your popular, best-selling dishes could help to make sure every dish earns its place while freeing up money that's tied up in slow-moving stock.
Why not try introducing one special dish per week using ingredients that are in season? They are likely to be more nutrient rich and less expensive to buy, helping you to lower costs, while offering healthier, nutritious meals.
Or, take inspiration from ever-evolving dining approach 'Six by Nico', whose "concept revolves around a six-course tasting menu that changes every six weeks" (Big Hospitality). Construct a menu that is constantly fresh and exciting, using seasonal ingredients at cheaper price points, and get creative using less expensive cuts of meat.
Swap the way you shop
Have you considered swapping some of your ingredients for more cost-effective alternatives? Or, simply adding staple products existing dishes to bulk them up?
Often seen as old-fashioned, mutton is now resurging in popularity and featuring on many high-end menus. Make the swap and see the pennies drop off your weekly shop!
Succulent and flavourful, chicken thighs are significantly lower cost than breast fillets, saving up to 12% by shopping at JJ Foodservice, and even more at local supermarkets. They can easily be incorporated into pittas, pies, curries and salads to drive your costs down.
The Caterer asks, "are class 1 vegetables really needed if they are being chopped up and put into a dish? Or could wonky vegetables be used instead and savings be made."
Alternatively, bulk up your curries with pulses - we're talking chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils and black-eyed beans. They're packed full of protein and are super filling, meaning you can use a little less meat per dish to minimise your costs.
Control your carrots
Do you have an inventory management system in place? Or do you simply use products as you go along, and stock up when it's running low?
A daily inventory is key. Record quantities at the beginning of every day, and then again at the end of the day. A clear indication of how much of each product you are using will tell you whether you are over-feeding your customers and wasting food.
Although time consuming while chefs are prepping for the daily service, it may be beneficial to pre-portion some of your more expensive menu items. Serving by weight instead of by eye can minimise your kitchen being overgenerous, which may be currently eating into your costs. It will also save them time by speeding up service.
Follow this handy guide to implement an effective stock control system in your kitchen.
Label your larder
Is your stock clearly labelled with expiry dates? Is the older stock positioned at the front of the shelves and fridges for your staff to quickly pick up first?
Big Hospitality recommends that "Keeping stock organised makes it much easier to keep track of what you have and what needs using, preventing unlabelled containers from being thrown away by mistake. To prevent waste, you should always know exactly which foods you have in stock at all times."
Making these small changes are highly effective in lowering food costs, and, if you do have stock that is slightly old but still safe to serve, use it!
Get creative, turn fresh bread leftovers into croutons, or even a 'bread and butter pudding' on the specials board. Whizz up some fruit leftovers into a 'limited edition breakfast smoothie' - it's better to sell it and make money than throw it out!
Lastly, do you shop at one place for your fruit and veg, and another place for your meats?
At JJ Foodservice, we have it all under one roof! With over 1000+ products catering for every business' needs, with premium quality at affordable prices, we are here to help you.