The Restaurant Industry has been trying to cope up with the damage caused by COVID-19 ever since its outbreak heightened in March of this year. Restaurateurs are forced to look out for effective work-systems that would enhance the survival rate of their restaurant business.
One of the most popular, and seemed effective, is Food Delivery. This taps both the craving for convenience and food service of the customers, especially during the lockdown.
But now that the restrictions are starting to ease up, businesses are now trying to pivot their operations on how to make the most out of the situation left by the lockdown while complying to the new health and safety protocols.
As a restaurateur you have to look out for the factors that may affect your operations within the new normal, one of them is Budget. Since the flow of sales is not as smooth as before, you have to monitor and check if you can still sustain running your restaurant in the current market situation.
In this article, we’ll provide you 6 ways on how to operate your restaurant during and after this pandemic without hurting your cash flow.
RESTAURANT INDUSTRY AFTER COVID 19 – OPERATE ON A BUDGET
LESSEN FOOD COST
This may come as common sense but this is not as easy as it sounds. Reducing food costs could end up making tweaks with your workflow. The Restaurant Industry should implement directives and regulations indicating the proper way to reduce food costs to help even the small businesses.
First is to optimize your inventory. During the first months of the lockdown, you should’ve known what are the ingredients that need to be disposed of right away and what are those you can still use for additional profit.
If you have liquors and booze sitting inside your storage room, it is now time to offer it to your customers. Make sure you’ll package it well and send them sealed to your customers.
Updating your menu is also one way to reduce food costs. This is not to offer a wide variety of menu items to your customers. Wider menu items lead to larger ingredient lists meaning bigger inventory.
It is ideal to know what menu item works best to your customers and focus on that. You may also try to update your menu according to the popularity and profitability of your food items.
LOOK OUT FOR YOUR LABOUR COST
As one of the highest working costs in the Restaurant Industry, minimizing the labour costs would definitely help a restaurateur to operate on a budget.
There are many ways where a restaurateur could reduce the labour costs with minimum effort :
- Avoid overstaffing. – Your staff should be trained to function efficiently and effectively. Overstaffing could lead your team to be unproductive and you’ll end up paying them for the job that they did not even do well – or did not do at all.
- Boost your team’s morale. – Providing them real time feedback and incentives (if they have accomplished something) is one thing that would keep their spirits high. A well-spirited staff would end up staying and loyal to your restaurant. If you don’t practice this, your staff may leave and frequent employee turnover leads to higher employment costs.
- Cross-train your staff. – If your staff is equipped with the right set of skills and knowledge to support your restaurant, they could be effective in a role or two. You won’t need to hire extra hands in order to fulfil roles that are not really needed but could be needed in those service hours. This could help you minimize the labour costs without affecting your service.
UTILIZE THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY
Since there are a great number of technologies being developed and offered to help the workflow of the Restaurant Industry, it is crucial for restaurateurs to find what’s the right technology that would help their restaurant business.
Make sure that the technology you would avail would not end up being a liability in the end. It is important to know what’s the current status of your restaurant and research what’s the most suitable technology for it.
There are numbers of POS, online reservation systems, inventory management programs, and restaurant management programs.
Integrating the right technology, restaurateurs can observe a great decrease in their costs.
CHECK OUT FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES
This is now the time to build good connections to other businesses around your local community.
The Restaurant Industry will not survive without its connection to other businesses, therefore if you want to operate during and after this pandemic, you have to start reaching out to those businesses.
Collaborating with other businesses and local suppliers will surely help you reduce your costs, especially in marketing, and it may increase your sales as well.
Being partnered with a good business would leave a good impression to customers, and this may lead them to check out your restaurant.
Tip : You may also start to work with different suppliers and vendors, stick to those who offer the best rate and quality.
TRY THE FREE AND LOW-COST MARKETING
Marketing nowadays doesn’t need to come with a huge tag in order to make sure it’s effective.
In this era of marketing, the Restaurant Industry is not relying on traditional marketing styles. Though it may still be effective, paying for a TV Ad is not practical especially if you want to continue to stick on your budget.
There are now free email campaigns and subscriptions that will help you with your email marketing. Also, social media marketing will not be popular if it doesn’t serve its purpose.
Running ads with Facebook and Instagram is now seen as one of the most effective marketing plans, and the good news is that they don’t come with a hefty price. You can enjoy its retargeting features by a very justifiable amount.
MINIMIZE FOOD WASTE
Reducing the amount of food getting trashed is one way to continue your operation on a budget. For everyone in the Restaurant Industry, it is a call to be innovative and creative.
Always attempt to make use of every ingredient to its highest potential, reuse everything that can be reused, and to avoid spoiling, adapt the FIFO ruling – First In First Out.
An organized prep list that defines the preparation process for every staff would also help to make sure that there’ll be no wasting away of ingredients and materials.
There’s a growing wary with food handling risks. The uncertainty is definitely still being felt by everyone, and there’ll be continuous changes in the behavior and spending habits of the current market.
If you want to keep your restaurant running, it is important to work on one thing at a time. And with this article, we hope we’ve provided a helpful guide for you to operate your restaurant on a strict budget.