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Increasing profitability, even the obvious things I might be missing.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hello everybody, this is my first post and i look forward to some great feedback.

I am the kitchen manager for a 100 seat brew pub / pizzeria / sandwich shop in the northeast. we focus on making everything from scratch. Ownership has struggled to make us more profitable.

I was wondering what ways other owners / general managers / kitchen managers use to make their restaurants more profitable, even the obvious things might not be getting done and I would love some feedback. 

Thank you in advance!

 
post #2 of 22
Hard to say without seeing your menu but having a way to utilize leftovers is essential as well as cross using ingredients like fresh basil for margherita pizza can be made into pesto for a sub when it starts to turn
post #3 of 22

It's simple but it takes work.  Take a long hard look at the difference between premade and scratch+labor.   Be honest, really honest, throw in all the wrenches you can throw in the and brainstorm as many whatifs as you can imagine.  Then look again.

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

We try to make everything in house from scratch. Are you saying that it might be more cost effective to the bottom line to possibly buy some things in?

 

I will type up our menu and post it here shortly

post #5 of 22

The biz is one of dollars and cents. Watch your sense and the dollars will take care of themselves.

 

A good example is in the dishpit. I have seen lots of places use hot water to spray off dishes before putting them in the machine. Why hot water to spray off with when they are going into the machine that also uses hot water to wash them. Doubling your energy cost per load with no appreciable gain. Partial loads being sent through as opposed to full racks. Doubling your chemical cost. Etc. Etc. Etc.

 

Look, and I mean really look in trash cans throughout the operation throughout the day. A veritable biography of your P&L will be revealed. Also your employees will pick up on fact that you do this. Handled in the correct manner and this becomes a great teaching tool. You can be seen as concerned coach and mentor rather than evil empire enforcer.

 

Hopefully with the end result of making them more aware of the consequences of their actions upon the business. Which when it comes right down to it, is a team whose survival depends upon all it's members.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChumSlam View Post
 

We try to make everything in house from scratch. Are you saying that it might be more cost effective to the bottom line to possibly buy some things in?

 

I will type up our menu and post it here shortly

 

That's what you have to figure out.  It's also about consistency and value.  Your fries, you cut your own?  They better be the same all the time, and you better make sure they're not soggy when the sh!t hits the fan, and  they better not be $4 for a small handful either.

post #7 of 22
The obvious:
Make sure your inventory is priced/ counted correctly. Do it weekly for a month if you need to.

The food costing needs to be accurate with real numbers from the inventory, with every item included down to the garnish/ waste even.

If you include 10% waste it can give a margin for price fluctuations etc. this can be taken down to 5 once things are in line. I leave in a waste cost.

The numbers have to be real and be accounted for. Double check the cooks are using the recipes/ methods you provide.

Cost out 8 oz cheese for 12" pizza? Watch a cook use 10oz all day... Warn them once, twice in writing. Third time well there better not be a third time.

Lay down the law when it comes to changing portions. Its $$$ to the cook they are looking for tips or a cold beer or a w/ e by putting out the best ( read bigger/ less profitable) plates. They are in effect stealing from you. It happens all the time just need to recognize these are places where the food ( profit) goes. And in the garbage can as stated by Cheflayne. If youbsee a lot if useable trim, produce, questionable items in general in there go ahead and take all the staff and dump the garbage out and count it. Silverware is the unseen killer. And ramekins.

The profits also go in employees mouths....... Make employees pag or at least write down what they eat/ test/ burn.

Good advice about the dish chemicals and hot water there. Along the same lines turn things off when not in use. Toaster on all day???

As far as from scratch goes have prep cooks ( paid less) doing menial prep, scratch work. Use your food slingers/ best cooks/ ( higher paid)on busy times putting out food. Hire extra dishwashers and pick the best to become preppers.

You said "ownership" struggles to make you more profit. Do you? Do you know the numbers yourself and budgets etc? Or are they just whipping you in general?

Keep it simple and use lists.

Hope that helps its a fun exercise. Always need to think bottom line. I have too much time in my hands today lol
post #8 of 22

A lot of great advice here.  Also, as you are looking at the food costs for your indvidual items don't forget to look at your menu mix.  Are all your high food cost items also your best sellers, then you have a menu mix problem.  Make sure that you have plenty of low cost sellers that mitigate your high cost times.  Look at your cross utilization so you don't have an outrageous inventory.  And as stated a couple of times above make sure that your cooks understand the importance of consistent portioning.  If the portion is for 8 oz make sure that they aren't giving out 10 oz.

 

It's all about managing the details.  It may seem that you are looking for pennies, and you are, but those pennies add up over time.  Do your cooks regularly use rubber scrapers to get every bit out of that hotel pan?  If not that's money down the drain.  If each time a cook changes out a hotel pan, squeeze bottle or 6th pan leaving half an order in there it adds up.  During the day, how many pans get changed out, multiply that by each day you are open and suddenly you see how much is being thrown out.

 

Take a good look at everything you make from scratch.  Most stuff can be made better and more cheaply than buying conveinence items but not always.  A good example: if you aren't using a specific blend of meat for burgers, but just buying bulk ground beef, then it might be cheaper in the long run to buy fresh, pre-formed patties.  The point is, look at everything with a fresh eye and be open to all opportunities.

post #9 of 22


Plus Chef Layne in many cases the hot water pre rinse actually makes leftover food cake to plate in particular eggs

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #10 of 22

Second on the nixing hot water rinse at the dishpit, cold water is better also because it cools down pans fast. :)

 

Where is waste trim going?  Are you making your own stocks and sauces?  Soup?  Soup is a crazy money maker, just dump anything that's gone past absolutely fresh and sell soup of the day, at a mid-range place $3 cup/$5 bowl (add bread and a salad to make it a meal at lunch like the chains do, charge $7).  It would make sense to add soup to your menu, free money.  Also do you have a bread program?  As a brewpub/pizzaria/sandwich shop, you could make a bit of money making your doughs from scratch.  Any cook can mix up a dough, you just dump everything in and set the timer for 10 mins or whatever is pre-planned in the mixer settings.  Fresh dough, add soup, offer combo deals on lunch items, could help increase profitability. 

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post
 


Plus Chef Layne in many cases the hot water pre rinse actually makes leftover food cake to plate in particular eggs

 

If you use some premade mixes those things contain some weird starches that harden into cement at a certain temp.  Pudding mixes particularly.

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirayng View Post

 

Soup is a crazy money maker, just dump anything that's gone past absolutely fresh and sell soup of the day, at a mid-range place $3 cup/$5 bowl (add bread and a salad to make it a meal at lunch like the chains do, charge $7).

 

I disagree on the soup.  You need to treat soup like every other item on the menu.  Give it at least part of a d**n man.  Now if I had misunderstood you I apologize but please don't wait until stuff is starting to stink before you make something out of it.

post #13 of 22

One of the places I always turn to when trying to save money is with purchasing.  This is a choreographed balancing act:  Not too much, not too little, not too early, not too late.

 

And then there's the purveyors.....

 

My personal preference is to only use the "big boys" for standard stuff like fryer oil, fries, brand name condiments, and some drygoods.  I will always use small indie produce merchants for 90% of my produce--thier prices are waaaay better than the big boys, quality is the same, and they don't give me no attitude.

 

Dairy--milk, especially cream, butter, eggs, and cheeses are almost always cheaper at Costco or supermarkets than from purveyors.  Once a week I'll do a "costco run" and pick up a week's worth of dairy, canned pop, and some drygoods.  While this may take up two hours of my time, the savings--almost a dollar cheaper per gallon of milk or quart of cream--can not be ignored.

 

Beef from a beef supplier, chicken and poultry from a poultry supplier, prices are better than the big boys, and quality is just as good if not better.

 

I've got an Italian wholesaler very close by, I get my olive oil, pasta, tomato product, and "italian stuff" from him.  And every time I visit him, I see the big boy purveyor's trucks loading  in his parking lot--not unloading.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #14 of 22

portion control.. invest in mad scoops and whatnot, save penny profit every plate. also make buddy with 2 or three of your produce suppliers competition... they keep prices way more competitive if they know you have options.

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post
 

One of the places I always turn to when trying to save money is with purchasing.  This is a choreographed balancing act:  Not too much, not too little, not too early, not too late.

 

And then there's the purveyors.....

 

My personal preference is to only use the "big boys" for standard stuff like fryer oil, fries, brand name condiments, and some drygoods.  I will always use small indie produce merchants for 90% of my produce--thier prices are waaaay better than the big boys, quality is the same, and they don't give me no attitude.

 

Dairy--milk, especially cream, butter, eggs, and cheeses are almost always cheaper at Costco or supermarkets than from purveyors.  Once a week I'll do a "costco run" and pick up a week's worth of dairy, canned pop, and some drygoods.  While this may take up two hours of my time, the savings--almost a dollar cheaper per gallon of milk or quart of cream--can not be ignored.

 

Beef from a beef supplier, chicken and poultry from a poultry supplier, prices are better than the big boys, and quality is just as good if not better.

 

I've got an Italian wholesaler very close by, I get my olive oil, pasta, tomato product, and "italian stuff" from him.  And every time I visit him, I see the big boy purveyor's trucks loading  in his parking lot--not unloading.

 

I'm not sure now it is where you are in Canada, but Costco here in PA is an incredible source for beef. The quality is fantastic and the margins for ribeye's and NY strip cannot be beaten....unless you can get cheaper from a butcher shop. Some of the best steaks you can buy.

 

This post is gold, buy the basic stuff from the big name and others from local purveyors. 

post #16 of 22

Good advice all, but you also need to look at FOH.  What kind of POS system do you use?  Are servers ringing in everything?  Are they standing there eating soup and bread all day?  When they sub something are they charging for it?  When they write extra sauce, extra cheese, etc is there a charge for it?  If they get comp'd/reduced meals during shift are they loading up to-gos and taking extra home?  If they're eating staff meals are they requesting a go-go container?  Those things aren't free!  If everything gets put in a disposable it adds up. 

 

The bar is another area where money evaporates.  Are bartenders ringing everything up or is every 3rd or 4th sale going in there pocket?  There is "theft" by lazy employee (eg throwing out flatware, breaking plates) and outright theft where liquor or strip loins walk out the back door.

 

Do you regularly check your prices and cost things out?  You may have out of date prices without noticing it.  As others have mentioned scratch is great but you have to balance food cost with labor cost.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #17 of 22
LABOUR LABOUR LABOUR. Nobody wants to be that guy but chances are you have some redundant staff/shifts. All establishments do. Really well run ops are exceedingly lean, as lean as can be without affecting the quality of service. Unless you are into premium high-end fine dining where you can charge crazy premiums the biggest and most immediate reduction comes from trimming the fat from you labour. In my experience anyway. Decently run restaurants should have very little waste. Can you find out how many bottles of wine were thrownout due to oxidation or how many crusts fell and were binned? If not you need to be implementing the procedures that will generate this kind of information for you. It helps alot and will even keep lower level staff mindful of how wasteful they can be.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kuan View Post

I disagree on the soup.  You need to treat soup like every other item on the menu.  Give it at least part of a d**n man.  Now if I had misunderstood you I apologize but please don't wait until stuff is starting to stink before you make something out of it.
No but stock can be a great way to justify bringing in whole chickens (typically this is more cost effective than IQF breasts or pre butchered pieces in particular if we're talking sarnies and pizza), and a great use for the ends of various veg. Stock can be used in all kinds of recipes and a housemade stock is a hallmark of at least halfway decent cookery. I think (hope) he wasn't advocating using old produce or protein for stock/soups...
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 

This is all amazing, thanks guys and keep it coming!

post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

I am playing my suppliers against eachother with pricing and the prices are plummeting!

post #20 of 22

You're bidding.  If you want to do that properly you keep a bidsheet.

post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 

Define bid sheet.

 

I have an order sheet in excel that I have them fill out weekly with prices applicable for that week.

post #22 of 22
That's pretty much it.
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