Restaurant Food Cost Tips for Independents

cut food cost food cost formula
Restaurant Food Cost Tips for Independents

When it comes to restaurant food cost in an independent operation, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it all. Restaurant food cost strategies can be delegated, which will give you, the owner, time to work on your restaurant’s financials, marketing and other important things that are the job of a restaurant owner. Watch this restaurant business tip or keep scrolling for more restaurant food cost tips for independents.

Restaurant food cost tips for independents are a lot like tips for controlling food costs in any restaurant. But when it comes to independent restaurant owners, the tendency is for you to think you have to do it all. You work hard every day in your restaurant, and you sacrifice a lot of your own blood, sweat and tears to be there for your family, your employees, your guests and your community. In fact, you work so many hours, it's hard to find time to sit down and examine where you might be bleeding money on food. I want to take of the weight off your shoulders and offer you a couple simple tips to help you manage and control your food costs with help. 

The first thing you have to do is start depending on someone else. If you ever want to get your food costs, and labor costs for that matter, under control, you can't do everything in your restaurant. Think hard. Do you have somebody on your team who you can count on to get stuff done? They're reliable. They're good with your staff and your guests. This is someone you should lean on.

Once you've set your sights on this person, you're going to give them some minor responsibility, some mundane task you're always taking on, such as creating and implementing a line checklist, making sure that line gets set up every single day. Does that require you as the owner do that? Or heck, they've been doing it every single day, but they really haven't. Some days it's a different order and all of a sudden your ticket times are off because people's hands aren't moving into the right spot automatically. They have to look, everything slows down. Well, if we create that line checklist to make sure every ninth pan is in the right spot, that the right serving utensils in there, that there's a right portion every single time. That the temperatures are right, the flavor profiles are right. That somebody can check at the beginning of every shift, man you'd be in good shape. Does that require you, really? You can come in and double check it, but you don’t have to be the person doing it.

Another example is creating and implementing a time/temp checklist. Wait a second, HACCP's really important. You got all these people got food handler cards or, you know, they got their ServSafe® certification. Does that really require you? Is that something that you could save a little time and delegate to someone? How about implementing a Key Item Tracker to prevent theft? It's a simple clipboard system. Or how about implementing a Waste Tracker to stop the dumbest mistakes on a daily basis. This is not difficult. Heck, implementing portion controls on the line to make sure the guest gets the same product every single time. And oh, by the way, your profitability's there. Does that take you, the owner? Is that something you can delegate which is going to free up some time for you?

The second tip for lowering your food cost is knowing about these three food cost calculations - ideal, budgeted and actual. These three calculations will actually change your life. I mean it. Once you understand the three different food cost calculations, you'll never go back to doing things the old way. In fact, you can watch a video right here where I explain it all. With those calculations in mind, you can get to work on figuring out where your current food cost is and where it should be and what you should do to make changes.

Once you know that, you can watch this video that gives you easy ways to cut your high food cost overnight. These - the systems in this video – give you a place to start. You can significantly impact your food cost by upwards of two to three points.

If you truly want to make a change and find what the solutions are for reducing your food cost, you have to do these two things: start to delegate some of the easy tasks and work on lowering your food cost by knowing your ideal, actual and budgeted food cost.

If you would like to learn how to own a restaurant that doesn't depend on you to be successful, watch this free video course that teaches you three key principles to running a successful restaurant.

Be sure to visit my YouTube channel for more helpful restaurant management video tips. 

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