Running an efficient business is one major key to success in an industry where margins are incredibly tight. The restaurant industry has always had notoriously tight margins, and the situation has only intensified due to COVID-19.
Sales were down by 79% across restaurant types in the US during March. Thankfully, by June, sales were up considerably, but were still 30% below the seasonal average.
Here are a few ways that your restaurant business can improve its efficiency.
Modern, Smart Technology
Buying the right technology can save your business money immediately. For example, employee scheduling software reduces the time it takes to make schedules by up to 80%. It creates better schedules and shaves off 1-3% of your labor costs.
Seeing as labor costs are usually a restaurant’s biggest expense, this is an invaluable place to save. Just like it’s smart to ask what is the average utility bill for a restaurant and then seek to reduce it, don’t spend money on the labor you don’t need.
This tech also keeps your team members connected. Inform them of any last-minute changes to the menu or dinner specials, and managers can find a replacement for a shift on short notice if they need to.
Plus, with manager logbooks and enterprise-level dashboards, the right tech keeps your decision-makers seamlessly up to date about everything going on in the business. Using technology to automate parts of your restaurant helps things run smoother and leads to valuable savings.
Restaurants need to be careful not to overspend on food costs. Using all the food they buy is imperative. Be sure to use food as you purchase it, rather than let it get stale because your kitchen is disorganized.
While no restaurant should ever serve food to customers that isn’t fresh, you can find resourceful ways to use food before it expires. For example, perhaps bruised strawberries can be used in a summer sangria, rather than front and centre in a dessert.
Food should be stored in the order it is purchased to reduce food spoilage. A penny saved is a penny earned, and cutting back on food waste leads to major savings.
Sell How Customers Want to Buy
During COVID-19, efficiency alone won’t save you unless you meet customers on their terms. They need to feel safe and comfortable, or they won’t purchase in a pandemic.
Michelin star restaurants likely won’t start selling street food, but adjust the way you sell and serve food based on the type of restaurant. BBQ joints are well-suited to curbside orders, pickup, and delivery.
There are ways to provide upscale delivery or outsource your delivery services to a ride-share company. Learn about new innovations, like food-box subscriptions or meal kits. Pick what makes the most sense given your restaurant’s brand and your clientele. If no suitable option exists, forge your own path.
People have been working overtime to keep the lights on in businesses across industries. Restaurants represent a pillar of the economy, and eating together is a fundamental part of civilization. By using smart technology, solid planning, and adopting a flexible operational attitude, restaurants can improve their efficiency and increase the odds of making it through COVID-19 and beyond.