Food Cost Secret Sauce

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QUESTION FROM: Phil in Alberta, GA

I have been trying to get my food cost down and sales up for almost a year now. Started using waste logs, prepping less and ordering from multiple vendors to ensure we're paying the best prices possible. Running out of ideas on ways to meet my numbers. Any suggestions?



HH Answer:

A waste log is good idea if it's being managed and reviewed regularly with the goal of reducing waste...but you know what's an even better idea? Using ALL of your product - Are you using scraps for stocks, soups, stews, specials and staff meals? I've seen a lot of items on waste sheets that could have been and should have been either used or returned to the vendor for credit.

As far as ideas on other ways to get your numbers inline, have you considered making it more of a team effort? I mean, financials may be your ultimate responsibility but you're not the only one responsible. 

While the P&L is managed by you, your GM and Exec doesn't have to be a secret. Save the secrets for the secret sauce.

I came across the #LinkedIn Daily Rundown this morning and the tail end offered this #IdeaofTheDay: 

“Giving effective feedback is a skill that requires practice, says McKinsey’s Glenn Leibowitz, who follows a number of principles to make sure his feedback sticks.

‘You'll be more effective if you provide context. Make the linkages very clear: How does their performance impact not only their own work, but also the work of the rest of your team, and, ultimately, the performance of your company?’”.

One way of doing this in a restaurant is by breaking down your financial goals by department and sharing those goals with your staff (via anything from a white board calendar to a paper thermometer taped to the wall).

Prep for projected sales and track daily performance: covers - gross sales - comps - PMIX/specials sold - voids - whatever... so that everyone is aware of your expectations and sees the daily impact of their contribution each and every shift.

Measuring performance is one thing - but sharing the results of those measurements ties everyone together with the same goals. 

And it gives you the ability to offer your teams that are responsible for: ordering, prepping, stocking and selling -  something more tangible then “Hey, great shift today!” when they dig themselves out of the weeds or work without a break from clock-in to clock-out. 

Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated. If you're working hard to ensure your guests feel that way; you should be working even harder to ensure your staff feels that way.

So don't just measure everything - share the goals and share the progress. You only win as a team if you play as a team... you’ll be glad you did!


Josh Sapienza