Every day Americans spend over $2 billion in restaurants; yet, every day, restaurant and bar owners and managers see profits narrowed from spillage, food waste and bad hires.
Since restaurant sales will reach $799 billion in the US this year according to the National Restaurant Association, restaurants that manage their inventory and costs, train their staff well and build a loyal customer-base will be able to collect their pieces of the industry’s pie.
Here are four tips to maximize your restaurant profits:
- Manage Your Operational, Food and Alcohol Costs
Owners and managers have to know where they’re making money and where they’re losing it. Inventory may not be the most exciting part of owning or managing restaurants, but it’s the best place to see if you are losing your profits. Be sure to review your budget and compare it to every item in your inventory; note how much of your budget and inventory is being wasted and make adjustments accordingly. Also, be sure to review your Profit & Loss Statement (P&L) to see where you can cut additional expenses. Work with your vendors to make sure you’re not over-buying or over-paying.
- Empower Your People
Your staff is as important to your restaurant or bar as the food and drinks you’re serving. Make good hiring decisions and take the time to train them properly. Your servers and bartenders should know your food and drink menus inside out.. Make sure they know which wine or beer to recommend to your customers. For instance, if you’re expanding your craft beer selection, it’s not a good idea to have a server tell an inquiring customer, “I don’t know, I don’t drink beer.” Another way to maximize profit is letting your servers know which items are the most profitable for your bar or restaurant, so they can upsell those menu items to your customers.
Additionally, taking the time to train your staff not only makes them a better employee, but it also shows them you’re investing time into their development. Don’t forget to let your staff know you value and appreciate their hard work; it could help you retain a good server.
- Offer Guests a Full Dining Experience
A complete experience involves dining options as well as the opportunity to maximize your profits. Equip your menu with various choices and promote them accordingly:
- Soups and Salads
- Side Items
Table tents, menu inserts, signage and recommendations for your wait staff can help drive sales of particular drink and food options.
Don’t forget to equip your restaurant bar or lounge area with menus, silverware, condiments and food special promotions to maximize your food profits. Guests who just came in to drink may decide to purchase an appetizer or a meal.
Tip: organize pre-shift staff meetings to remind and inform servers of the daily specials and promotions.
- Give a Little, Get a Lot
If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk; If you give a moose a muffin, he’ll want some jam to go with it; and if you give your customer a free drink, that customer will likely pay for another.
While you may be skeptical to give away free drinks, bars and restaurants actually benefit from this practice. Free drinks help:
- Create a buzz
- Give customers an opportunity to try something they wouldn’t have otherwise
- Get customers in the door
- Create buying habits
Tip: offer daily/nightly specials and promote them accordingly. If you don’t give them a free drink, give them a deal (such as, buy one, get one ½ off).