Now, more than ever, food and beverage costs are under a microscope. Due to COVID-19, restaurant, hotel and club operators must make important decisions regarding their expenses and minimize food and beverage losses during these difficult times.
Deploying careful, smart and sensible food and beverage purchasing decisions will enable operators to reallocate those savings to other areas to help attract more guests and members, as well as support other priorities. Most importantly, these cost management techniques ensure you won’t have to compromise on the quality of products coming out of the kitchen.
Below are the top three areas to evaluate for better cost control:
Reduce Menu Offerings – There is a delicate balance between guest and member satisfaction and menu items that are adversely impacting costs. Menu analytics help determine what dishes are popular and which should be removed. Carrying a more extensive inventory in the kitchen can also lead to more waste, additional labor and may impact service times.
Evaluate Portion Sizes – Today, many people are more mindful of the foods they are putting in their bodies and eating healthier portion sizes. The Plate Forward trend continues to take shape, emphasizing protein portion size reduction while increasing vegetable portions on the plate.
Are you monitoring your guests and members closely to understand what they are ordering? How much food is leftover on a plate when servers clear the table? Are they ordering just an entrée, or do most place orders for appetizers and desserts? Keying in on these precise details will help hotels and private clubs determine suitable portion sizes, particularly for costly center-of-the-plate creations. Now is a great time to educate guests and members, offer healthier options and reduce costs simultaneously.
Strengthen Purchasing Protocols – Limit and hold teams accountable for purchasing products. Here are several approaches to consider:
- Remove the convenience behavior of purchasing. Commodity and grocery type goods are best ordered through a Master Food Distributor, not specialty suppliers. Educate your team on avoiding the temptation to tack-on commodity goods to specialty orders (i.e., french fries through a regional produce vendor).
- Maximize price, service and risk aversion through contracted and leveraged programs. The scale that a Procurement Services Provider (PSP) or Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) has on the preponderance of your goods purchased will result in optimized costs. For instance, as a PSP, Avendra helps our customers make informed purchasing decisions by regularly providing valuable commodity information.
- Invest in eProcurement software that can effectively keep tabs on prices and purchasing history too. Many of these programs feature tools such as declining checkbooks that can precisely track weekly food costs versus finding revealing food costs at the end of the month during a P&L review.
- Setup a Request for Quote (RFQ) system so that purchasers can identify low-cost providers weekly for top high-spend, high-volume products. A PSP/GPO sometimes contracts with multiple providers offering different cost structures.
- Pay attention to carrying inventories and par levels specifically related to regional distributors and alcohol beverages. With a distributor’s ability to deliver goods as frequently as you need, consider letting them manage inventories in their warehouses.