Saving money has to be at the top of everyone's to-do list! And when you're running a business, it's especially important to run as efficiently as possible and save costs wherever you can so that you can maximize profits. However when you're trying to please customers and employees a like, sometimes it's hard to find ways to cut costs. Therefore I asked around the ShiftNote team, all of whom worked in the industry at some point in their lives, for money saving ideas for restaurants. I think we came up with a pretty helpful list!
Cross Train Your Employees
Cross training is a great way to not only save money, but help create happier employees. Cross training is the practice of teaching an employee to work more than one position within your business. For example, teaching a server to also host, or a busser to cook pizzas. This will give the management more flexibility when scheduling workers, and help employees overcome boredom and gain new skills.
Streamline Product Purchasing
If you have several dishes that use similar ingredients, buy the ingredients in bulk and then prep ahead of time to use in the corresponding entrees. The same 8 oz chicken breast can be used for a chicken sandwich and then cut into strips and battered for chicken tenders, and cut in half for the 4 oz grilled chicken salad topper.
Check the Trash
You'd be surprised to find out how many items get accidentally thrown away during a shift, such as glasses, plates, silverware, etc. All those items add up! You can save your restaurant money by making sure the items you need to run the restaurant stay in the restaurant.
Keep an Eye on Your Staff
Obviously to run a good restaurant, you should always be doing this anyway. There are some important things to look for though that can save your restaurant cash. Make sure that your wait staff and bartenders are charging for the items they are giving customers. A free drink here, a free appetizer there - it will really start to add up! This isn't to say that you shouldn't reward guests with a freebie every now and then, but employees that are doing it without your approval and most likely fishing for higher tips is not benefiting the company in the long run.
Also keep an eye out for employees that clock in early. Even if it's just a few minutes before their shift is scheduled to start, add up a week of those minutes, or a month even, and you'll see a lot of money that you could have saved.
Stop Using So Much Paper!
If you use less paper products in your restaurant, you will not only save money by buying less in the future, but it's of course much better for the environment. You can start by purchasing hand driers in the restrooms to save on paper towel. They may be more expensive up front, but it will cost less in the long run.
You can also get rid of the RedBook and other shift exchange books and use restaurant management logbook software like ShiftNote (shameless plug :o). This kind of software keeps all of your management communication in "the cloud" so it's easy to access from anywhere you have the internet. This means no more pen and paper to take notes, helpful search tools to research employees, maintenance issues, and more, and a way to keep team members on task and accountable.
Hopefully these great money saving ideas for restaurants help you to streamline your business and make more money! If you have cost cutting tips that you use for your business, we'd love to hear them!