4th of July is a National Holiday when residents across the USA celebrate freedom and independence of their country, but for you as a caterer it is another good opportunity for additional income and promotion of your restaurant.
Timely organization and restaurant promotions will be simplified if you did a budget plan for restaurant marketing for whole year. If you have some funds destined for this purpose that is great news, but even if you don’t have it you can still do a lot. Keep reading and you will find out how.
Timely Organization is Path to Success
Be prepared for crowd and high traffic. What you need to do in June to be ready for this holiday:
- Review your financial situation and determine the available money for celebration of this holiday.
- Plan your restaurant offer for 4th of July and stick to your financial plan. Create menu, special offer,promotions and entertainment.
- Do not let that your best waiter got sick this day or maybe that he or she took day off. Arrange working shifts earlier and let your reserve staff for assistance in the restaurant be ready. Do not leave anything to chance!
- Write down list of Items that needs to be purchased.
- Go to shopping. Get plenty of meat, chicken, hamburgers, beers and soda. Do not forget the holiday props.
- Decorate your restaurant for Independence Day.
- Promote your restaurant offer through all available promotional channels.
Restaurant Menu for Independence Day
The data show that 41 million of Americans spend Independence Day outside their homes. Then you can certainly make sure that your restaurant should be filled to capacity on this day.
What do your guests want? People are generally very simple creatures and all will agree that their desires are not too big. If you offer good atmosphere, give a little effort into decorations, give a decent salary to your waitera and they will serve their guests with a smile, do not serve old or burnt food to your guests, and they will surely be satisfied and will come back to your restaurant again.
You do not believe that it is so simple? Be free to try!
But what about Independence Day, that famous July 4th when in cities around the USA are organized various social events, parades and gatherings that attract crowds of people. What Americans like to eat this day? What to drink? Maybe the following statistics will help you to create restaurant offer:
- Every year for Independence Day in the USA has been eaten 150 million of hot dogs.
- 700 million pounds of chicken has been purchases in the week leading up to July 4th.
- 190 million pounds of red meat/ pork has been purchased in the week leading up to July 4th.
- 25 million pounds is the amount of fireworks that have been sold to cities for public celebrations.
Regarding these data, it is clear that the grilled meat is a favorite food consumed on Independence Day. Highlight the promotional prices of these dishes in the National Holiday offer! To increase sales of targeted products combine grilled meat with most common side dishes, desserts and drinks or create prix fixe menu for this holiday.
Ideas for Independence Day Brunch
Respect the wishes of your guests but keep your menu simple. These food should be gladly found on your 4th of July brunch menu: Juicy burgers, chicken wings and drumsticks, juicy steaks, cleaned crabs, various omelettes, oysters, shrimp, various pastes and biscuits, potato salad and fresh seasonal salad.
For refreshment offer to your guests a refreshing drink like fresh fruit juice, lemonade, iced tea and orange juice. Beer and soda are unavoidable so provide more beer than you can imagine that would be necessary.
Tip: Make your grill really hot, spice it with extra spice, make fireworks in your guests mouths! Of course, for those who love it! It is necessary to quench the thirst after all those burgers?
Lure guests with tempting summer desserts such as fruit cakes, waffles with cherry topping, pancakes, ice cream and fruit salad with extra whipped cream. With a little creativity your cakes will become a real cute little patriots as shown in pictures below.
Place Grill In Front of Your Restaurant
If your restaurant is located in a busy street where will be holiday parade organized it would be a good idea to set up a small mobile grill to attract passers. Install your grill even a week before the celebration. You can set up it on restaurant parking or in front of your restaurant. Make sure that you are not breaking the law, so check with your local authorities if you need a license to operate in this manner.
Be creative with your grill decorations, use colors of America’s flag, blue, red and white colors should dominate in all elements, paper saucer, drinking glasses, paper bags, flags on toothpicks, straws and napkins. Contact on time your local supplier of holiday props.
Do not forget the kids. Buy several balloons filled with helium that look like cartoon heroes. They are really tested lure for children, and irresistible smell of barbecue will take care of their parents.
Give to kids sweets and lollipops in the colors of the American flag for free. They can be bought at very low prices,or home made and will attract the attention of children. With a little luck their parents will become your guests. Share to passers flyers with information about your restaurant’s offer for Independence Day at stand.
Restaurant Decoration Ideas for Independence Day
Patriotic Flower Arrangement. Any occasion would be more festive with fresh flowers on your restaurant table. Use flowers in America’s colors – red and white, that could be hyacinths, tulips, or Canterbury bell and finish floral arrangement with a blue bow. Present the flowers in a pail filled with sand, that would help to hold the blooms in place and lends the table a casual, beachy feel.
Balloons are always a good choice, if not my favorite. There is something special in place decorated with balloons. Always remind me on my childhood. You can play with them on a million possible ways and put them where ever you want.
Flags should be everywhere, on the walls, flags on hot dogs, cookies or use the flag as curtain or tablecloths. Show your patriotic spirit!
Uniform for your staff should be in combination of colors: red, white and blue. T-shirts and shirts with American characteristics or decorated with flags that can be used as a scarf around the neck, tie or scarf for your hair.
Candles can be a very nice decoration for the table. You will need color for textiles or you may even use color for food and salt that you can paint in blue and red and put it in a transparent glass as the colors of the American flag. Place it in the glass with small scented candles and enjoy in the romantic National holiday atmosphere!
4th of July Restaurant Promotions Ideas
Choose some of these ideas for celebration of Independence Day in your restaurant:
Host popular musicians. With a good selection of music, good atmosphere will be guaranteed and higher turnover will provide additional money to cover the cost of the contractor.
Popular musicians will attract visitors and bring in new guests – their fans that may become your new regular customers.
Organize a charity dinner or lunch party. Fourth of July is the day when we celebrate freedom and equality for all of us and it makes it a perfect day to organize a charity dinner or lunch to help to vulnerable groups in our society like people and children with disabilities.
These parties always attract the local media, and every occurrence in them increases the popularity of your restaurant and attract new guests. This will strengthen the reputation of your restaurant in your community. It will also make you feel good because helping someone is the best thing that you can do after helping yourself.
Tip: Invite to charity party some of influential or popular personalities from political or cultural life to create a buzz about this event and maximize traffic in your restaurant.
Reward your loyal guests. Provide special discounts to your regular customers. Reward them on this day with free drink or dessert of their choice. Be grateful for their loyalty.
Make a partnership with owners of bookstores, beauty salons, cinemas, spas and similar services. Your partners could also be owners of clothes, shoes or jewelry stores. Surprise your guests with discounts for services in these facilities. In this way you create cross-promotion activities, they promote your restaurant and your restaurant promote their goods and services.
Hire professional photographer, or engage one of your personnel to take a photo camera and capture happy moments and send photos to your guests by email. Take advantage of this opportunity to build or refresh your customer database that can be later used for direct marketing campaigns.
Make a Fireworks for Your Guests
If you want to do something spectacular for this holiday then the idea to make a fireworks for your guests may sound interesting. In any case, do not play with rackets and follow the instructions that will ensure safety conditions during storage, warehousing and activation of fireworks.
If you want to do it by yourself follow these instruction to install and launch fireworks.
- Check what type of fireworks is legally (allowed) to launch in your city. Call the police or fire station, they will give you adequate and correct information.
- Find fireworks as desired. Order it at least two weeks in advance. Shipments are often delayed and in this way you’ll ensure getting the shipment on time.
- Make your show. Draw the schedule for activation of rockets on a bigger piece of paper. Remember that low-intensity firework rockets go closer to the audience and those with high intesity need to be further away from the observer. Make a few plans and choose the best.
- Wait for complete darkness for the best effects of your firework show. The audience should be at least 50 feet away from the place where you will launch the fireworks.
- Provide a personnel with a water on both sides of the audience.
- Make sure you have a lighter. Nothing can spoil a good fireworks as defective missiles that will not start.
- Enjoy the spectacle with your guests!
Remember: It is extremely important that you any time when working with a flammable substance to make sure you don’t put yourself, other people, your property and the nature at risk of getting burned or set on fire.
Promotion of Your Restaurant Offer for 4th of July
Do not forget to promote your restaurant offer through all available channels.
If you still don’t have profiles on social networks create them and go to action. Start with Facebook, Twitter, G+. Share interesting information, photos and videos that will attract your potential customers. Share content from your website if you have one.
Set billboard advertisement in front of your restaurant door or put jumbo poster on your restaurant windows about your Independence Day party and special offer. These posters need to be attractive and visible for passers, some of them may become your customer.
Let your restaurant shine as one of the stars on the American flag. Be proud on your restaurant, your offer and your team. Do your best and enjoy in the celebration.
See original article posted by the National Restaurant Association
When restaurant consultant Linda Lipsky came across a client with a whopping 50 percent food cost, the industry veteran set to work slashing expenses. The Broomall, Pennsylvania-based consultant helped the operation reduce its food costs to 34 percent, in line with industry standards. Here’s how:
- Shopping around. By bidding out its items, the restaurant secured better deals, says Lipsky. Be sure to negotiate with current vendors also, she advises. “There’s not just one set price from vendors,” says Lipsky, noting that some suppliers reward loyal customers who pay on time. With wholesale prices jumping 25 percent over the past five years, according to the NRA 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast, many operators are searching for better prices. Nearly nine out of 10 fine-dining operators shopped around for other suppliers in 2014, as did a majority of casual and family-dining operators.
- Brand management. Lipsky’s restaurant client selectively switched to less expensive brands without sacrificing quality. “Having a branded ketchup on your tables is a quality statement,” says Lipsky. “But does anybody really care if you use a no-name white vinegar in the back of the house?” Likewise, consider less expensive liquor brands for recipes. “In most cases, the alcohol cooks off anyway. Do you really need a name brand?”
- Proper portion sizes. The operation adjusted its portion sizes, cutting costs while better accommodating guest preferences. “The restaurant had been serving up way too much food—about a pound on a plate,” says Lipsky. “Many people are watching their weight today and are looking for smaller servings.” Simple steps like cutting a fillet from 8 to 7 ounces help control costs, while still leaving guests satisfied, says Lipsky.
- Product specifications. By specifying a slightly smaller shrimp, the restaurant reduced the cost of making its shrimp salad while maintaining an attractive salad with the same number of shrimp per serving.
- Meal composition. Lipsky reduced costs by adjusting the balance between main dishes and more affordable side dishes. “Beef up your meals with vegetables and grains,” she advises.
- Fitted dishware. Large plates led to excessively large servings of pasta, and large bowls prompted staff to serve twice as much of a heavy cream soup as needed. Select dishware that’s appropriate for serving sizes.
- Appropriate serving utensils. Make sure you’re using the proper serving pieces to ensure that you’re not dishing out more than what your recipes specify. For example, Lipsky’s client slashed its cost for vinaigrette dressing in half by switching from a two-ounce ladle to a more appropriate one-ounce ladle.
- Freebies. Giveaways like bread and butter can cut into profits. Lipsky advised her client to switch to smaller butter chips that reduced waste.
View original article from National Restaurant Association.
Reel in good talent from the labor pool with these steps:
1. Identify what’s a “good catch.” Start by determining what skills and traits are essential. If your restaurant has a set of core values or a mission statement, use that to guide you. For example, Great New Hampshire Restaurants looks to its “Table of Success,” which identifies the company’s six core values, including respect and executing greatness. “A few years back, we decided to define our culture and core values,” says co-owner and CEO Tom Boucher. “We stopped and asked ourselves: What makes us great? We then communicated and integrated these values into as many areas of our business as possible, including our hiring practices.”
Craft job descriptions that list what each job entails. Think about what makes your star employees stand out. “List out all the skills that your good employees have and frame your interview questions around them,” recommends T.J. Schier, president of the SMART Restaurant Group, a franchisee of Dallas-based Which Wich, a fast-casual sandwich chain, and co-author of SMART Restaurant Guide to Recruiting and Selecting.
Consider an initial assessment to screen out unqualified candidates. Schier uses an online questionnaire operated by Snagajob to assess candidates before deciding who to call in for an interview.
When it comes time for the interview, ask questions that help determine whether the applicant is a good match. “Don’t just throw softball questions because you like someone,” Schier says. Start with the basics, like availability, and move on to behavioral-based questions that identify whether the applicant has the skills needed for the specific position. He recommends a two-interview process, with a different interviewer each time.
2. Know where to look. One of the best sources is right under your nose. Ask team members for referrals; consider rewarding them with monetary incentives. “The real value is that they’re getting good people to work aside,” says Tom Tice, a recruiting manager for Seattle-based Starbucks.
Take that approach a step further with “second-interview referrals.” If you have a few open slots, encourage candidates to bring an interested friend to their second interview. Wanting to impress their potential employer, “they’re not going to bring along a slacker,” Schier says.
Tap labor pools that run deep with good candidates. About 250,000 military members exit the armed forces every year, many looking for civilian jobs. Last year, Starbucks pledged to hire 10,000 veterans and active military spouses by the end of 2018. They’re a reliable workforce instilled with values like honor, duty and commitment to a common cause.
“One thing we do really well in the military is take care of people, and that speaks well to Starbucks,” says Starbucks’ Tice, a veteran himself. The company works closely with the military’s Transition Assistance Program to recruit talent and has gained traction through referrals within the tight-knit military community.
Social media offers a great platform to reach potential candidates. “Social media links us to our candidates on a human level,” Tice says. He uses LinkedIn Recruiter to post job listings and find talent, Twitter to publicize recruiting events and encourage a dialogue, and Instagram to share event photos, putting a face on the recruiters and forging a connection with candidates.
3. Lure in the winners. When it comes to attracting and retaining good talent, your company culture makes all the difference. Starbucks fosters a “culture of warmth and belonging” and provides opportunities to connect with the community, Tice says. The coffeehouse chain cultivates a team environment, where everyone is a “partner” and has equity in the company. “It appeals to people who want to be part of something bigger than themselves,” he says.
Benefits and incentives also entice top talent. While medical coverage, tuition reimbursement and vacation can be a big draw, don’t forget to promote smaller perks. Starbucks touts that partners get a free pound of coffee each week; Which Wich, specializing in customizable sandwiches, gives team members customized Nikes.
Schier attracts go-getters to his Which Wich units by offering a commission for bringing in catering business. For snagging a large deal, he creates a photo op and awards the team member an oversized commission check. Elated team members often post the photos to Facebook, spreading the word about Which Wich careers. “When you create an environment that delivers the service you want, it becomes a lot easier to recruit the right people.”
View original article from the National Restaurant Association.
When Elana “Lani” Hobson was a part-time fry cook at Jack in the Box in 1977, she never dreamed of rising to senior vice president of operations. Through the years, Hobson climbed the ranks, first within a Northern California unit, then to district and area manager and regional and division vice president.
Inspirational stories such as Hobson’s abound throughout the restaurant industry. Tales of dishwashers, servers and line cooks who ascend to leadership positions are countless. About 90 percent of the industry’s salaried employees start as hourly workers in restaurants, according to NRA research. While that figure includes employees who move from restaurant to restaurant, many operators foster a culture that encourages employees to stay for advancement opportunities.
Movin’ on up
Promoting from within provides employees the opportunity for career growth. But employees aren’t the only ones to benefit. Restaurants gain the advantage of hiring a known entity.
“When you promote someone, you already know their work ethic, that they’re dependable, that they understand your culture, that they’re a good fit,” says Nancy Cross, chief people officer of Mexican Restaurants Inc. The Houston-based company owns 46 restaurant locations under four fullservice concepts and one fast-casual brand.
By promoting from within, restaurants can slash recruiting and training expenses. Managers hired from outside the company typically undergo a 10-week training program, while internal promotions require only five or six weeks, says Cross.
The possibility of an internal promotion offers employees incentives to stick around. “When you start at entry level and move up, you really develop a loyalty to the business,” says Hobson, whose Jack in the Box career spans nearly 40 years.
To help employees find a career path:
- Create a roadmap for success. Lay out potential career paths from the get-go, as early as the interview or orientation. “The pathways should be clearly defined to avoid any perception of favoritism,” advises Donna Herbel, director of training and development for Minneapolis-based Perkins & Marie Callender’s.
- Establish stepping stone positions to help employees gain confidence and gradually take on leadership. For example, top-notch servers at Perkins can become certified trainers who guide new hires. From there, they might get promoted to shift leader, then assistant manager, before being named a manager.
- Point good candidates in the right direction. When she was 18, Hobson’s manager pulled her aside and said she had an incredible career ahead of her — if she worked for it. “My manager saw something in me that I didn’t even know I had at the time,” Hobson recalls.
Today, Hobson encourages general managers to seek that spark in team members. “Look for people who lead naturally, even when they’re not in a leadership role,” says Hobson. “Look for people who show a passion for the business and for taking care of customers. They show pride in the food and in keeping the restaurant clean.”
Remember, management isn’t for everyone. Even team members who excel at their job, might not be management material. “Getting results from a team takes a different skillset than getting results from your own two hands,” says Perkins’ Herbel.
- Provide guidance to help train and develop promising candidates. Tell team members what you see in them, so they can retain and further develop those traits, Herbel says. Sometimes an employee gets promoted because he or she demonstrates great camaraderie, but they let go of those interpersonal skills when they get into management because they incorrectly think that’s not part of the job.
- Combine formal and informal training to prepare employees for their roles. Mangers might informally show a certified trainer how to close the restaurant and then provide a hands-on opportunity to practice the skill, Mexican Restaurants’ Cross says. The company also offers a formal two-day training to new assistant managers.
- Consider tuition-reimbursement to help managers gain a formal education. Jack in the Box footed the bill for Hobson’s undergraduate and graduate degrees in finance. In return, she became more valuable to the company and climbed the corporate ladder.
“Invest in your people,” Hobson says. “If you spend the time with them, they’ll feel cared for and will develop loyalty.”
Get more information about restaurant career paths at America Works Here, and download our latest research on Who Works in the U.S. Restaurant Industry.
Click here to see the original article from the National Restaurant Association.
About one-third of sales in a typical restaurant goes to food and beverage purchases, making cost management in the kitchen critically important to maintaining profitability.
During the last five years, average wholesale food prices rose roughly 25 percent. Operators can expect to get pricing relief on several of the major commodities in 2015, including dairy and pork.
Meanwhile, menu prices have not risen at the same pace, putting additional pressure on restaurants’ bottom lines. In fact, food costs are cited as the top challenge by about one-quarter of restaurant operators this year.
When operators were asked which actions they took to manage rising food costs in 2014, common answers included increasing tracking of food waste, cutting costs in other operational areas, raising menu prices and shopping around for other suppliers, according to the NRA’s 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast.
While restaurateurs can’t control the commodity market, they can control which ingredients to use and how to use them in their own kitchens. Some ways to alleviate food cost pressure are:
- Closely monitor what food is left on consumers’ plates. If your guests are consistently leaving the same items – like salad garnish, french fries or salsa – you can serve less of it or eliminate it altogether. Not only will this save on costs, but it also helps the environment by cutting back on waste.
- If you don’t want to change a core menu item completely, consider adjusting parts of it. For example, if one type of lettuce is becoming more expensive, substitute a different type. Or, if the price of milled rice is spiking, use other grains.
- Serve free items only upon request rather than having them on counters or automatically served by staff – for example, condiments, bread, crackers, chips and salsa.
- Wholesale beef prices climbed in 2014 and are projected to continue to rise in 2015. When planning new menu items, explore underused cuts like shoulder, cheeks and skirt steak, as these are often more inexpensive, but yet full of flavor.
- Use fresh produce that is in season, as supplies are more plentiful and prices typically lower. Consumers are also attracted to freshness of ingredients, so this can be a marketing opportunity as well.
Click here to see the original article from the National Restaurant Association.
Take notice of the next generation, and learn to “LIKE” them.
“Millennials present the greatest competitive advantage in our business,” says Kathleen Wood, founder of Suzy’s Swirl frozen desserts and Kathleen Wood Partners. Millennials, those born after 1980, represent a significant portion of the restaurant workforce. In an era of high-tech transactions and strong demand for customer service and convenience, millennials can help older peers navigate the new business landscape.
Wood, who recently spoke at the NRA’s Human Resources Executive Study Group, suggests leaders use her LIKE model – Listen, Include, get to Know, and Engage – to harness millennials’ best traits and leap ahead of competitors. They’re incredibly loyal to the companies they love, so you use these tips to tap their potential.
Listen. Learn their language, Wood says. “Millennials are the most socially connected people we’ve ever met.” They’re interested in social media and technology, and they love to share. “As we move forward, the language of business will be social connectivity. This is what they speak. We’ve got to take this opportunity as leaders of this amazing workforce and really leverage them as our competitive advantage to keep ourselves, our businesses, and our future way ahead of the game.”
Include millennials in business discussions. That allows them to see the big picture through the eyes of executives and leaders. Senior leaders need to be more involved, too. Employees of all ages should learn how to better connect with one another.
Get to know employees by learning more about millennials. They think globally and crave authenticity and transparency. If you understand what they want and expect, the whole team can benefit. “Schedule time to connect on a non-crisis manner,” she suggests. “Reach out, recognize, and acknowledge.”
Engage millennials in everything from problem solving, to product development, to customer service. “When you start to look at your new age resources, you really can start to look at your business in a profound way.”
Consider looking at business through the mobile lens millennials use. “How we train, how we connect, how we engage through the mobile lens — it really does make you think.”
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. “There are going to be times we have to be uncomfortable with not always knowing the answer … It opens you to possibilities.”
Embrace the power millennials bring to the workplace with social connectivity. Stop listening to the possible disasters of Facebook and Twitter, take social media for what it is, and unleash it for its possibilities.
“As leaders, we have so much to give, but we also have so much to get when we learn how to use all our powers together. We also have an inherent responsibility to teach, coach and lead the next generation of leaders, just as the generation before us did. Potentially, our greatest legacy is to pave that path.”
As Seattle began to phase in its $15-per-hour minimum wage this month, pay for hourly workers has been a top issue in other parts of the country, including California, New York and Massachusetts, according to a new article from NRN written by Lisa Jennings.
In Los Angeles, both city officials and the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors are studying a proposed plan by Mayor Eric Garcetti to boost wages to $13.25 per hour by 2017, and to $15.25 per hour by 2019.
Meanwhile, in Oakland, Calif., the minimum wage climbed from $9 per hour to $12.25 per hour on March 2.
New York to raise wages for tipped workers
Seattle’s $15 minimum wage phase-in begins April 1
More restaurant government news
San Francisco will join Oakland in May with a wage increase to $12.25 per hour, in the first phase of a gradual increase to $15 per hour by 2018.
Emeryville, Calif., is also considering a minimum wage increase to $14 per hour.
Some states are also weighing the inequities between tipped and non-tipped workers.
In California, which does not have a tip credit, a bill sponsored by the California Restaurant Association would invalidate local minimum wage laws for servers earning tips amounting to at least $15 per hour.
The state has already approved a minimum wage increase of $10 per hour by January 2016. Under proposed Assembly Bill 669, the wage for tipped employees would remain $9 per hour, as long as they earn at least $15 per hour including tips.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Massachusetts lawmakers are considering legislation that would eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers by 2022.
This year, the state’s wage began climbing from $8 to $11 per hour by 2017. Tipped workers will see the wage floor also gradually increase, from $2.63 to $3.75 per hour.
Under new legislation proposed as an addendum to the bill, the wage for tipped workers would continue to climb until the two-tiered system is abolished by 2022.
In New York, however, a proposal by Governor Andrew Cuomo to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.50 per hour, and $11.50 in New York City, is apparently a casualty of a budget agreement unveiled last week, which has disappointed wage-hike supporters there.
As of Feb. 24, 29 states and the District of Columbia have a minimum wage higher than the federal rate of $7.25.
Most independent restaurants calculate their food cost only once a month, but virtually all of the major chains calculate theirs each week.
According to industry averages, chain restaurants ‑ before corporate expenses ‑ are two to three times as profitable as independent restaurants. While weekly food costing isn’t the entire reason for that profitability, it’s part of it.
To accurately calculate your cost weekly, you’ll need to take inventory weekly as well. The only method for computing accurate cost of sales is to take physical inventories and then calculate the value of inventory on hand. Many operators erroneously believe that what they spend on food and beverage purchases is their cost of sales. While this may be true in the long run, for specific-period analysis it is inaccurate.
The correct formula for calculating cost of sales for each category is this: Beginning Inventory plus Purchases minus Ending Inventory equals Cost of Sales.
Taking weekly inventories doesn’t mean you have to spend half the night to do it. Here are a few tips to help you take inventory quickly. Properly applied, these principals will help you to be more accurate and should reduce the time spent counting your food inventory to under two hours.
Get organized. It is virtually impossible to take an accurate inventory when the stock room or walk-in is in disarray. Be sure all store rooms, shelves and refrigeration units are organized and clean. Product should be easy to see and count. Labels should be used for hard to identify product. Don’t put items in incorrectly marked boxes or containers.
Count it on Sunday. Most restaurants are open seven days a week. A natural tracking period is from Monday to Sunday. Also, inventory levels will be at their lowest on Sunday evening. If you are closed Sunday, then count it on Saturday evening or early Monday morning.
Separate your inventory into groups. Group your inventory into cost categories, such as meat, seafood, produce, dairy, grocery, etc. This will make it easy for cost calculations and help to organize your inventory. Grouping your inventory also makes it easier to zero in on cost control problems.
Arrange items in shelf order. Some managers advocate arranging items on the inventory sheets in the order they count the inventory. If you are using an order guide, arrange your spreadsheet to match that of the order guide. You can then record your counts on the order guide and transfer them to the spreadsheet for calculating the total value.
Use two people for taking inventory. One counts and the other records; the one recording is also an extra pair of eyes so nothing is overlooked. Also, be sure to use a pencil to encourage correcting mistakes.
‘Paint’ your restaurant. Always conduct inventories by starting at one end of the building and counting everything in a contiguous order. This practice will help ensure nothing gets skipped. Jumping from one area of the restaurant to another and back again will almost certainly cause you to miss something. It is much easier to flip to the proper page several times for a particular item rather than try to visit all of the places that item may be stored.
Keep counted areas off limits. Some kitchen managers like to get a head start on the inventory counting process. This approach is fine as long as counted product isn’t subsequently sold that same day. Once you have counted an area, make sure nobody removes or adds product to that area. For instance, maybe you have already counted the freezer, but later find out that the cooks need another case of frozen hamburger patties you have already counted. Be sure you adjust your count before putting them into production. That case will end up in an area you have not yet counted and thus will end up being double counted.particular item rather than try to visit all of the places that item may be stored.
This article is presented courtesy of RestaurantOwner.com, a source of operational and business resources for independent restaurant operators. For more information, visit www.RestaurantOwner.com.
Many restaurant owners want to recycle but don’t know how or where to begin. Follow these 7 steps from the National Restaurant Association to get started.
Starting with a big, complex recycling program can be difficult for a several reasons:
- Different cities and counties take different materials.
- Training staff can be time consuming.
- Establishing a front-of-house recycling bin system can take up considerable space.
Even if you can’t tackle everything at once, you can start by recycling the material that takes up about 25 percent of your dumpster. If you haven’t already guessed, it’s cardboard!
“Focusing on recycling your cardboard will help you get big bang for your buck by reducing the size of your waste stream and the need for a big dumpster to hold your ‘trash’,” says Jeff Clark, program director for the NRA’s Conserve program.
Waste material, such as cardboard shipping boxes, often has significant market value as useful new products. Boxes can be recycled and turned into paper cups or other items if the material isn’t contaminated.
Discover seven tips on how to begin:
Find out if you can recycle on premise. If you rent your space, check your lease to make sure you can place additional bins out back. If you can, make sure there’s enough room throughout the space and/or parking lot.
Train staff to safely cut up boxes and lay them flat in the cardboard bin. That will reduce empty space between loosely packed boxes so you can fit more in for each pick up. The result: You’lll save money and look more organized and clean to your customers and employees.
Put only cardboard in the cardboard recycling bin. Don’t contaminate the pile with other bags, bottles or cans, and keep it as dry as possible.
Ask your recycler whether he or she accepts waxed cardboard from foodstuff deliveries. Waxed cardboard must be separated from normal cardboard because the wax contaminates pulp during reprocessing.
Find out who will pick it up. Call local recycling centers and government agencies for information on finding the right hauler. Get references from neighboring business owners. And check out GridWaste.com, where haulers bid for your business.
Get baled out. If you have space constraints at your restaurant, ask the recycler about a cardboard baler to crush and bind the cardboard. Make sure you ask whether he or she can use the baled material as is. If not, ask what companies would accept it instead. Also, ask city or state environmental agencies about financial assistance to buy baling equipment.
Log your savings; revisit your efforts. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so track your cardboard recycling by weight, if possible, as well as monetary savings. Once you have a successful program in place, consider expanding to single-stream recycling.
Visit the NRA’s Conserve program for more information about sustainability tips and tools, and check out the NRA’s partnership with LeanPath to provide operators with food-waste tracking technology.