How Food Service Entrepreneurs Are Finding Creative Ways to Manage Food Costs

How Food Service Entrepreneurs Are Finding Creative Ways to Manage Food Costs

Manage your food costs and watch your restaurant grow and thrive.

Food prices are rising across the board, and this affects restaurants just like yours. As a food service entrepreneur, you want to control your costs as much as possible, so you don’t have to drastically increase menu prices and pass them on to your customers.

But what can you do? In this article, we look at how food service entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to manage food costs. Let’s look at some tips for slashing those costs.

Thin Out Your Menu

One of the first things you can do is take a long hard look at your menu.

Look at what is selling and what isn’t. If you are purchasing food for items that don’t sell very well, you are probably wasting food. By fixing this issue, you can save on your food costs.

In addition, do you have any items that are really expensive to produce? You really want to look at these. Since the food costs are higher on these items, they really can eat into your bottom line.

So, on your most expensive items, you want to get rid of them if they don’t sell well. If they do sell well, make sure you are pricing the item accordingly, and you aren’t losing money.

Bottom line – if you are throwing ingredients away on a continual basis because of underselling dishes, it’s time to remove them from the menu.

Pre-Portion Your Food

It’s very common for kitchen staff to over serve customers. Perhaps your staff isn’t paying enough attention, or they don’t think the plate looks full enough.

Whatever the reason, you can put a stop to it by pre-portioning out the ingredients for each dish.

If this sounds overwhelming, pick your most expensive dishes and give it a try. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save by running your kitchen this way.

Get Comfortable with Labels

Labels are a restaurant’s best friend. It’s the best way to know just what is lurking in your refrigerator and how old it is.

For example, when you prep sauce for a pasta dish, you can not only pre-portion it, but you can put it in the refrigerator with the name and date.

This way you can avoid keeping things too long or throwing food away too early. Labeling also helps ensure you use everything in your fridge and don’t waste anything.

You don’t need a professional labeling machine. Some painter’s tape and a sharpie will work just fine.

Get Employee Buy-In

If you’re trying to manage food costs, it’s imperative you get your employees on board.

Your employees are the gatekeepers of your kitchen, and they can really help you cut costs if they know that’s your goal. (tweet this)

Team participation is the key to inspiring everyone to lend a hand. Train them well and explain to them how important it is to reduce food waste and ultimately food costs.

Ditch the Kitchen Trash Can

This might sound like a crazy idea, but if you take the trash can out of the kitchen, you might be surprised at the results.

Consider bringing in see-through plastic food boxes. Label each box with a kitchen team member’s name. Ask them to put all of their food scraps into their own box.

At the end of their shift, you can go through it together. This can help bring awareness to your team and show them just what they’re tossing. For example, they may have inadvertently through a cupful of usable broccoli away.

In addition, once you’re done going through the box, consider composting it. This is another visual cue for your staff members.

In addition, consider using the compost to grow a garden to supply your restaurant. This is a great marketing tactic because today’s diners love to eat food that’s local and sustainable.

This probably isn’t an exercise you want to keep long term. Try it for a month as a way to help your kitchen staff be more aware at the food they’re wasting to help you cut costs.

manage food costs

Review your most expensive items to see where you can reduce food costs.

Cut Food Portions

For this creative idea, take a few weeks to monitor the plates coming back into your kitchen.

Are your diners leaving a lot of food on their plate? Are you sending out multiple to-go boxes each night full of leftovers? If so, you might want to look at your portion sizes.

When your customers are routinely leaving food on their plates, you can cut your food costs by making smaller dishes. This ultimately improves your bottom line.

It also looks better to your customers because people don’t like to waste food.

Lower Your Inventory

This can be helpful when you want to manage food costs. Oftentimes, restaurants buy an overabundance of food. They buy more than they need, and much of it goes to waste because it turns bad.

You want to have a really good handle on how much food you need so you don’t overbuy. When you reduce your inventory excess, you won’t see as much waste from spoiling.

What’s more, your team will be less likely to over portion a plate because you only have a set amount of food on hand.

Final Thoughts

Food prices have risen nearly twice as much as everything else in 2021, and it doesn’t look like it will let up in 2022.

It’s time for food service entrepreneurs to get creative when looking for ways to manage food costs.

By using the tips in this article, you’ll find you can more easily manage your food costs while preventing waste and enhancing your bottom line.

Be vigilant with your inventory. Monitor portions and be aware of dishes that don’t sell.

Take your time and create a strategy for monitoring and managing your foods costs, and you’ll be well poised to take on the competition in 2022 and beyond. (tweet this)

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Images: Visual Stories || Micheile and Adrien Sala on Unsplash

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