12 Clever Ways to Cut Costs at Your Bar or Restaurant
Do you want to cut costs at your bar or restaurant? Of course! Who doesn’t? However, it can seem that it’s easier said than done. You know keeping your costs under control is important, but sometimes keeping them in check can seem like an impossible task! Take heart—here are 12 clever things you can do to help save money at your bar or restaurant.
1. Share the facts with your employees.
You’ll never be able to cut costs if you don’t get your whole team involved. But simply telling them you need to cut costs won’t be effective. Let team members know exactly how much money you’re spending on utilities and wasted food, and share what you’d like those numbers to be. Once employees know exactly what they can do to help you, they may be more likely to turn off unused equipment or find ways to avoid wasting food.
2. Reward employees.
If you’re involving your employees, it’s a good idea to give them some sort of reward for good behavior. When you observe an employee practicing a cost cutting measure, be sure to let him or her know that you notice and appreciate it.
3. Take advantage of social media.
How much money do you spend on marketing? Probably more than you’d like, right? Remember that social media is a great, cost-effective way to market your business. For example, Twitter is free and it’s a great way to communicate directly with your customers.
4. Keep portion size under control.
Here’s where you can take a lesson from chain restaurants. Chain restaurants keep their portion sizes the same across the board. This lets customers know what to expect, but more importantly, it keeps your costs down. If your kitchen puts just a little bit extra food on plates, it might not seem like a big deal—but it can really add up! Have a standard portion size and stick with it.
5. Cut back on freebies.
Do you automatically bring bread or chips to the table? These are things that can make a good first impression, but they can also cost unnecessary money. This isn’t to say you should stop offering free food, but consider only bringing it out if a customer asks for it. That way you’ll avoid wasting it.
6. Make them ask for water.
Along the same lines, don’t automatically bring out a glass of water. Don’t worry, you’re not trying to dehydrate your customers. You’re simply giving them more of an opportunity to order an alcoholic drink, soda, an iced tea, or something that will put more money in your pocket.
7. Do daily inventory.
Of course, you hope that no one on your staff is stealing from you. But whether you want to admit it or not, it happens! Doing a daily inventory ensures that a staff member won’t be able to secretly take home booze or food without you noticing.
8. Use your inventory.
This one seems obvious, but so much usable food is wasted in bars and restaurants every day! Don’t throw away what you have leftover if it’s still usable. Rework it into a special or get creative, like making day-old bread into croutons or bread pudding. These simple solutions can save your restaurant a ton of money.
9. Take a look at your menu.
Is there something on your menu that people rarely order? If so, keeping it on the menu is just costing you money—preparing something once in awhile with ingredients you don’t use in your other menu items is not cost effective. Take it off and put something more profitable in its place.
10. Use your employees efficiently.
Is everyone on your staff pulling his or her weight? Be sure you aren’t over-staffing your bar or restaurant on slow nights. Figure out what each employee’s strengths are and be sure to use them to their full potential.
11. Don’t buy new if you don’t have to.
Do you really need to buy brand new equipment for your kitchen? Probably not. Used equipment is often a good bet. And don’t think you need to buy all-new decor all the time either!
12. Cut back on deliveries.
If you’re getting deliveries multiple times a week from multiple suppliers, you’re just wasting money. Cutting back to one delivery per week, if you can, will save on delivery costs. And, if you use only one supplier, there may be a chance that you can negotiate more easily for lower prices.
Cutting costs is important, but it doesn’t have to be difficult! Try putting some of these ideas into action in your bar or restaurant.