12 Money-Saving Tips Every Restaurant Owner Needs to Know
Running a restaurant comes with massive overhead that eats away at your profits. Your goal is to find ways to save across every element of your business. However, it can be hard to find cost savings without interfering with the quality of your food, or the level of your service. Here, we offer 12 money-saving tips that will keep your restaurant profitable without interfering with your guest experience.
1. Use energy-efficient light bulbs
Using energy-efficient light bulbs can save you as much as $22 per bulb. Although it doesn’t sound like much, if you count the bulbs in your restaurant, you can see how it can save some money. Energy-efficient bulbs not only use less energy, but they also tend to last longer, so they offer double savings.
2. Have a lights out policy
Introduce a lights out policy where staff are trained to turn off lights in any room or area not in use. Consider having a friendly sign for your guest bathrooms, asking them to switch off the lights as well.
3. Conserve dishwashing water
A big expense on your business is your dishwasher. You want to have efficient procedures in place that keeps dishes clean and available for guests, but without running the dishwasher when it’s not completely full. You’ll save money in a few areas, including soap, energy, and water usage. Using a three-basin sink can make a big difference, as you can choose to soak dishes as opposed to constantly running hot water over them.
4. Install low-flow faucets and toilets
This does require an investment up front, but it can save as much as 20 to 40 percent of water usage.
5. Get rid of plastic
Taking a green approach to your business is an excellent way to save money. If you are currently using plastic, an investment in reusable glasses, plates, and utensils can make a world of difference.
6. Buy energy-efficient appliances
Although you might think you are saving money by holding onto that aging restaurant freezer, fridge, and dishwasher, those old appliances tend to cost you more money in the long run. Putting aside the fact that you will spend more and more money on repairs to keep them running, you are also wasting energy for your restaurant freezer and fridge, which have to run 24/7. Keep in mind that although you need to invest in new energy-efficient appliances, they usually pay for themselves in as little as a year or two thanks to the energy savings. Your appliances will also be under warranty, thus saving you on all those repair costs, and you will reduce risk for wastage due to food spoilage.
7. Revisit your menu
Long, involved menus cost more money. Look at the items that sell well and cost less to produce, and focus on doing those items really well. Having a short and sweet menu reduces the risk of food spoilage for ingredients you buy for less popular items, so you can have more control over your food costs. A menu where you consider how to use ingredients more often in a variety of dishes also helps improve waste efficiencies.
8. Reduce marketing costs
Create a buzz online using a website and social media. Expensive ads for transit signs, radio, and print can really eat into your overhead. Using free digital marketing tools is also the best way to reach people, as this is how many find restaurants today. Local marketing using your town or neighbourhood helps people doing “near me” searches find you as well. Consider starting an e-newsletter that you can share with regulars via email to keep people up to date on new menu items, events, live music, etc.
9. Reduce waste at the bar
There are some sneaky areas of your business that could be contributing to costly waste. For example, is your bartender a little too generous with the shots? Are they maybe cutting way too many lemons and limes for garnish, and dumping them out at the end of the night? Are they doubling up on straws for every drink they serve? All of these bad habits cost money, and are things your bar staff don’t even realize they are doing. Lay down rules to prevent waste, starting with drinks being properly measured, and addressing other issues such as garnish and straw wastage. You might even consider eliminating straws and single-use plastics altogether to reduce costs at your restaurants. Your guests will appreciate your efforts and might not even miss them.
10. Use the right equipment
Whether it’s new jiggers at the bar, or a juice maker that uses fewer oranges for your fresh drinks at brunch, using the right equipment saves money. New equipment provides money-saving features designed to reduce waste for energy, ingredients, and time. Your investment will pay off sooner than you think, as staff become more efficient, energy isn’t wasted and measured, and preparation is more precise. This, in hand with employee training on how to use the equipment properly, helps build a foundation for waste reduction best practices.
11. Reduce staff churn
The hospitality industry is one of the worst for employee turnover. If you take the time to keep your team happy, you reduce staff churn, which in turn improves your service and reduces costs associated with recruitment and training. Simple things such as having a respectful culture, where harassment and mistreatment of the workers isn’t tolerated, helps build a team that is happy to come to work. If possible, having some form of benefits, improved training to help people meet their career goals, and simply acknowledging the effort and hard work your team puts into every shift all go a long way in building a stable, trusted staff. As well, a happy team is less likely to steal or cause issues with customers due to bad attitudes.
12. Train your staff
Your overhead is impacted by your staff’s actions. Make sure that you train them on the procedures you introduce. Share your ideas with them, and see if they can add some cost-saving ideas into the mix. Make sure they are aware of how their actions impact overhead, and make them feel invested in the business. Instead of being oppressive and making life miserable, train your staff so they don’t just understand the rules, but also understand why they are in place.
Keep things simple so it reduces the risk for staff making mistakes due to unclear or overly involved procedures and policies. Use friendly signs to remind staff to follow the rules, such as turning off the lights, proper handwashing, or instructions on how to operate equipment. Train each staff member in the same way, preferably using an online training system or a binder that goes through every step so that everyone is on the same page. The more formal the training, the more likely staff will follow the rules.
These cost-saving tips will help you enjoy healthier profits. If you would like more information about energy-efficient restaurant freezers, speak to the Ancaster Food Equipment team today.