For me, these “times” have expanded the creative side of P&L management like never before. In the past, my thinking was somewhat linear when it came to food cost control- Portioning, Purchasing, Menu Pricing, & Waste Control. Now that we have entered into the Great Reset, I have had to change the way I go about thinking and doing things in my restaurant.
It was December of 07’ when I started to feel a little pain. Sales were trending down and I did not quite know why. At this time portioning was under control, purchasing contracts were in place, menu pricing was comparable with competitors, and we were doing a decent job of controlling waste. I did not want to watch the bottom line follow the sales trends, so I had to do something. This is when the thinking cap went on.
I am in an airport environment, so incremental price increases were not an option. I needed to get my costs of goods down without reducing the quality of the foods I served or raising prices. When I started dissecting my menu the Christmas lights went on all at once. I could improve the quality of several of my menu items and decrease my costs without affecting labor.
Here are a couple of examples of what we did:
We serve home fries for breakfast. We were using a 6/6 pound case of diced potatoes at a price of about $28. We converted to a 50 lb bag of fresh red potatoes at a cost of $12 a bag. As far as labor, we used our automatic slicer and vegetable shoot. We use 25 pounds of potatoes per day so our savings was $13.25 per day or $4,836/year.
We use pesto for a cold pasta salad and hot dish. We were using 6/30 oz containers of pre packaged pesto per day at a cost of around $52. I developed a user friendly recipe that involved little measurement (full pours/etc.). By using the wand blender we could make a batch in ten minutes for a cost of $38. This gave us a savings of over $5,000 a year!
From there the ball kept on rolling. I found comparable products at lower prices, adjusted our time management, and stayed closer than ever to my distributors. No, we did not turn into a “from scratch” restaurant. However, we tipped the scales closer to that direction. Time management and creativity was the key.
I would love to hear some creative ways you have used your ax this year. I am truly appreciative of the networking capacity FohBoh presents to our industry and know that Together We Are Stronger!