Whether you own a bar, bistro or a five-star restaurant, efficient cost control is a must-have if you’re planning to run a successful outlet. Far from it being a once-off task, this management duty requires owners and management to actively seek ways to improve operational efficiencies while keeping costs low. Here are a few ways in which you can implement effective cost-control measures in your establishment.

Learn the art of cost control

Your highest operational expense

Food and beverage costs are the single highest expense for restaurants. Perform weekly stock counts to make sure you have a handle on these costs. Reduce excessive spending on inventory by forecasting stock requirements weekly. Inventory levels become an abstract figure in the minds of owners and chefs if these counts are performed irregularly. Weekly scheduled stock counts keep the numbers up to date and allow for smarter purchasing. Buying in shorter frequencies also guarantees the freshness of ingredients.

“Make vs buy” options

In some instances, it makes business sense to buy certain pre-made products. Of course, the choice to do this should never result in a compromise of your standards. Being practical about what you make versus what you buy pre-made could make all the difference in the operational expenses that you want to see. Products such as sauces, chopped onions and grated cheese, among others, are time-consuming and labour-intensive to prepare. Finding well-priced suppliers who meet your standards might result in reduced operational costs for your restaurant.

Your menu can maximise revenue

Knowing how to make the most of ingredients requires some creativity from the kitchen, but it holds potential for substantial long-term savings. Meat products with short shelf lives are among the most expensive ingredients to procure, so it’s important that the value of each piece of the product is understood. Evaluate how ingredients are used by your chefs and engage them to ensure a flexible menu that maximises the value of each ingredient. Also, don’t be afraid to adjust your menu to mitigate excess stock if you find yourself in this situation. If you have too much pasta, sell more pasta dishes and create specials to push them out of the kitchen.

Analyse your data

Today’s computerised society means that virtually everything is recorded. Businesses can leverage information as a tool with super efficiency in this digital era. Data in Point of Sale systems are worth their weight in gold in terms of finding ways to improve operational qualms that lead to loss. Menu item sales reports, daily and weekly sales analysis, staff time and productivity management metrics give owners granular views of the operational efficiency of their outlets and use this to their advantage. High-level overviews and a reliance on summary reports might trip you up when costing inaccuracies are buried under a ton of detail.

Cultivate an acute awareness

Ask any restaurant owner what the secret is to constant favourable turnovers and they’ll tell you that attention to detail is crucial. Cost control requires the constant evaluation of a variety of factors and finding new ways of doing things more efficiently. It might seem daunting to think about plugging every hole in your operational budget, but with the right people skills and consistent leadership, you can instil a culture centred on efficiency in your restaurant. Cost control should be at the very top of the priority list if long-term success is the objective.

While there’s no ideal recipe for running a successful restaurant, there are certain special ingredients that will set you on your way. Download our Secret Ingredients to a Successful Restaurant to learn about the top five ingredients that will help you manage a successful restaurant.

Author : Rudi Badenhorst