A small restaurant may go through an economic phase where it needs reduce expenses to stay afloat. There are many ways to cut costs, but some may be more effective than others. Here are some tips to consider while going through challenging economic times.
Adjust the Schedule
Some eateries open a couple hours later or close an hour or two earlier to reduce operating costs. Others close between the lunch and dinner shifts. This can help to save money from reducing daily expenses by twenty percent or more. Regular customers will understand the adjustment is temporary, especially if you post a sign in the restaurant, possibly with the menu, or publish a message on social media like Twitter or Instagram.
Depending on the climate and weather, you could possibly turn up the thermostat a couple of degrees so that the air conditioner isn’t running as hard as usual. Do the same thing with the heat in cold weather as long as the restaurant is reasonably comfortable. If you pay a hefty price for trash pickup, consider switching to a dumpster rental for rubbish. This might also be a good time to clear out storage areas and free up additional space for a couple more tables to accommodate more customers.
Reorganize the Menu
Menus can be trimmed to eliminate less popular or more expensive items while maintaining the ones that customers love most. Instead of eight breakfast entrees, for example, stop serving ham for breakfast, which may lower the cost of breakfast meats while keeping customers happy with regular breakfast items. You can serve one dinner roll per person instead of a basket of bread, providing more on customer request. Serving sizes may be adjustable as long as customers get a fair portion for the menu price.
Instead of laying off employees, when possible, try to assign dual-duty positions to those who are able and willing to handle them. For example, instead of an employee being just a hostess, train that person to be a food runner or a serving assistant as well so you don’t have to hire additional staff. Servers with a slow shift may be willing to clean tables and run the dishwasher until business picks up.
Take a creative approach with a positive attitude to cut costs during an emergency. Your employees and your customers will appreciate your efforts and likely remain loyal to the restaurant during tough times.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan