Just because your restaurant makes great food, or is in the best location, or has the most unique fit out, doesn’t mean you’re bound for success. A critical aspect of a financially stable restaurant is the management of your supplies. It’s easy to lose lots of money when working with perishables. These tips outline how restaurant owners can avoid losing money on supply mis-management:
1. Decide to make or buy
Before placing any external orders, consider what items your kitchen can make from scratch. Balance the time, cost and other resources required to make that item against the cost of buying it pre-made. Consider any differences in quality or other impact that making vs buying will have on your customers’ dining experience.
2. Order with care
From the outset, placing well-considered orders is the best way to control food costs and avoid issues down the track. Keep an inventory that comprises what you’ve ordered, when and the quantity. Within your inventory, track cost per unit and list your supplier. Consider upcoming holidays or other events that may increase or decrease patronage and impact the quantity of supplies required. Over time, your inventory will serve as an important tool for analysis. Use it to negotiate on price with frequently used suppliers, or discover patterns in patronage that impact demand on supplies.
3. Closely inspect deliveries
Make sure what’s delivered aligns with what’s been ordered. This might mean weighing or counting supplies upon delivery. Make sure this task becomes part of you or your employees’ routine whenever deliveries are received. You might consider a ‘delivered’ column on your inventory where you can confirm when the goods were received, and indicate if there were any discrepancies. Over time, this data can be useful in helping you identify problem suppliers, or justify requests for discounts or reimbursements.
4. Develop relationships with your suppliers
Get to know your suppliers. Don’t just communicate with them when you have a problem. The best way to get deals for your business will be to maintain a healthy relationship with them. If and when problems do arise, or you want to request a reduced price, you’ll be well-placed to ask and more likely to get what you want.
5. Discover local providers
Who are the local produce growers near you? What is your region known for producing? Get to know these producers and build a relationship with them. Not only can serving up local produce be a great marketing and business strategy, but buying direct from growers could also save you money.
Following these basic principles when managing your restaurant’s supplies will keep you on track for business success.
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