The COVID-19 pandemic hit the foodservice industry hard. Restrictions put on transportation often mean that fresh ingredients are harder to come by. Additionally, there’s currently a strict ban on in-house dining in Wales. Even with a decreased staff and various delivery and pick-up options available, it’s still not enough to break even. Many restaurants have had to resort to cost-cutting measures just to stay afloat. However, cost-cutting doesn’t have to mean compromising food and service quality. Here are a few tips on lowering costs for your restaurant.
- Using cheaper ingredient alternatives
Cheaper ingredients don’t always mean inferior flavour or quality. In some dishes, you can opt for frozen or pre-processed ingredients to save time and money. Often, the difference is indiscernible, and yet by using these alternatives, you increase the profit margin of the dish. An example would be to use fruit purees in place of fresh fruit when making fruit sauces or smoothies. When making a fruit sauce for a dessert, you liquefy the fruit in a blender anyway, so you don’t need whole, fresh fruit to get the job done. To ensure you still get the same quality, choose fruit puree suppliers UK that are known for using high-quality ingredients in their manufacturing process.
- Decrease inventory levels
For most of us, business has slowed significantly, and we should adjust our purchases and inventory accordingly. By decreasing inventory in response to the slump in demand, we decrease losses from food waste and spoilage.
- Make changes to your menu and business model
Given supply chain disruptions and decreased overall demand, some dishes may no longer be practical to keep on the menu. Switch these out for more timely and trendy options. Monitor social media and stay on top of any food trends. On top of menu changes, you can also modify your business plan to take advantage of gaps in the market. Some restaurants are selling produce to consumers who are experiencing difficulty getting fresh fruits and vegetables in the supermarket. Some restaurants are selling “recipe subscription boxes” which include pre-portioned ingredients necessary to make specific dishes.
- Use in-house delivery
It may seem counter-intuitive to restaurants to use an in-house delivery system instead of taking advantage of the numerous third-party delivery services available, but what most may not know is that partnering with a third-party delivery service can cost your business more money than you think. These services will charge a restaurant a 30% commission fee per order in exchange for being included in their apps and websites. This commission fee eats into your already dwindling profit margins. Establishing an in-house delivery allows you to repurpose some of your decommissioned waiting staff into delivery people. Your customers also save money because apps tend to charge additional taxes and service fees.
It’s safe to assume no restaurant owner was prepared for the long-term repercussions the pandemic will have on their business. However, what we can do now is to focus our efforts on adopting practices that will keep us running until things return to normal.