Six Ways to Cut Down on Costs at Your Restaurant

The restaurant industry is competitive and costs are high. With the sheer amount of factors that go into making a restaurant venture successful, a huge amount of capital is put out before any profit can be made. If you’re looking for ways to make your restaurant costs less financially straining with higher rewards, take a look at these strategies.

  1. Minimize Your Menu

There are many benefits to be gained from decreasing menu size and limiting the options available. It helps customers to understand what you’re best at, and decreases the amount of time they spend scouring the menu. Remember, every moment a customer sits at a table without ordering, you’re losing out on space for new customers to come in. Take a look at your most popular menu items, and cut out the strays that don’t tend to be requested. This may help you spend less on food inventory, as a bigger menu usually requires a larger number of ingredients.

  1. Liquor Costs

Serving alcohol at your restaurant is no inexpensive feat. First, there’s finagling the right license from a pool of pre-existing permits that are already out there, often having to go through brokerage services like to find the right license at the right price. Then, there’s hiring skilled bartenders, sourcing from alcohol distributors, and keeping inventory stocked consistently. When it comes to handling liquor costs, there are a few changes you can utilize. First, incremental, small price increases. You should never order lower quality substitutions; loyal customers expect the quality promised and provided from the first time they walked through your doors, and they will notice the difference. Second, train your bartenders and servers extensively. Over pouring can have a huge effect on inventory and your bottom line, especially if a bartender repeatedly uses too much liquor in each drink. Consistent training and recipe cost cards can do wonders for your liquor costs.

  1. Lighting Costs

Food and liquor costs aren’t the only things eating into your wallet. When it comes to energy costs, restaurants throw away money every hour spent open. There are many ways to cut down on energy costs in your restaurant. If your restaurant still utilizes incandescent light bulbs, immediately make the switch to compact fluorescent lights. You might also choose to check out some LED options; while more expensive, they tend to be a better choice for dimming fixtures, which can help you set the atmosphere in your business. Making this switch could see your lighting costs slashed by 75 percent.

  1. The Power Needed for Cooking

It’s important to consider your restaurant cooking equipment. These are power-costly, but a justified expense. However, there are small tactics you can implement to save the energy put off by these machines. First, always ensure the equipment is turned off when not in use, and upgrade to high-efficiency ovens and other machinery to lower energy use. When it comes to ventilation, your kitchen hood represents an expensive portion of energy costs. Adding a sidewall to the hood may help air push upward easier, and making sure cooking equipment is pushed back against the wall can prevent air from getting trapped, which would require more hood work, and more energy lost.

  1. Refrigeration Costs

When it comes to refrigeration, average estimates place the costs at around 18 percent of a restaurant’s total energy bill. Focusing on ways to cut down costs in this aspect can see your restaurant securing big savings. Keep a data log of the temperatures in your refrigerators, as it’s common for refrigerators and freezers to run at colder temperatures than needed for their contents. The more data you have, the better you can control the temperatures and cut down on your energy costs.

  1. The Price of Comfort

Air conditioning and heating is important; guests should feel comfortable within your restaurant, or it’s pretty much guaranteed they won’t come back. For most restaurants, heating and cooling costs can add up to about 30 percent of total monthly utility costs. With this in mind, consider what you can do to adjust your heating and cooling settings to lower your energy consumption. Lowering your heat by just a few degrees in the winter months and raising the temperature a few degrees in the warmer months can have a huge impact on your costs. Using a thermostat is essential; check out the smart thermostat from Nest. It learns the temperature you and guests prefer and builds a schedule that fits your operational needs. It’s also important to maintain your heating and air conditioning units. Be diligent about cleaning out filters; this simple step can help your systems run more efficiently, reducing energy costs.

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