Keep your Food Costs Under Control with these 8 Tips!

The new year often inspires us to aim for a fresh set of goals. For us in the industry, such goals include reducing your restaurant's food cost. Your food cost is a determining factor for many elements of your restaurant, but most importantly, it dictates your profit margin and your subsequent menu planning decisions.

If lowering your food cost is one of your ambitions this year, these 9 fresh ideas and timeless reminders will help get you on the right path, so you can keep your customers happy and coming back for more.

Choose the right supplier

One of the main reasons restaurant owners are stuck with higher than average food costs is because they haven't taken the time to choose the best food vendor. While the process may be time-consuming, the reward is well worth the effort.

Don't be tempted to settle for the first supplier you meet with. Often, their offers sound too good to be true — and they are. Instead, meet with at least three or four other vendors before making a final decision. Most vendors are willing to accept a lower profit margin if you do a more significant amount of business with them. Some will even undercut other vendors just to secure your business.

Prevent Waste

Tackling food waste can be approached in many different ways, all of which are vital to your restaurant if you’re striving to reduce your food cost. Also, note that food which is purchased and then thrown away gets factored into your food cost percentages and will definitely strike up the average.

Below are three ways to prevent food waste at your restaurant:

Shop smart

Although this sounds obvious, shopping smart is one of the most straightforward approaches you can take to prevent food waste at your restaurant. Buying more food than you need will directly increase your food cost. Try having multiple deliveries scheduled throughout the week instead of one large one at the beginning.

Portion Control

Come up with recipes and stick to them. Practice portion control to ensure that each dish contains the exact amount of ingredients necessary. A few extra grams on each plate adds up to a significant amount of food waste at a busy restaurant.

Store food correctly

One of the most obvious methods of preventing food waste is merely to ensure that food is stored in the right locations and at the right temperature. Nothing is worse than finding out all your chicken has spoiled — especially when you're halfway through a busy shift.

Check Inventory Regularly

Keeping track of inventory at your restaurant is not just a recommended practice, we believe that it is a required one. Attempt to take inventory at least once a week, if not more, to understand your kitchen stock better. Your inventory is directly related to food cost. Understanding how much is being spent every day on food is essential.