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Reduce Operation Costs: Part 2

In a recent article from QSR Magazine, originally written by Blair Chancey, a list was compiled of realistic ways to save thousands of dollars as a food service operator. In part two, we’ll explore the second set of five easy ways for you to reduce costs.

6. Labor

The old (and costly) way to create a schedule was for a manager to sit down with a pen and paper, maybe an Excel spread sheet, and labor for hours developing a plan for the week. Online scheduling programs can put an end to that and save operators about four hours a day in labor costs. Online products like Schedulefly allow employees to submit time-off requests online so that when the manager creates the schedule only available employees are able to be selected. Because the system is completely automated online, employees can access their schedules and time changes through e-mail, text message, and Facebook.

In addition to speeding up the schedule process, Schedulefly’s technology also tallies labor costs as operators assign employees, which enables them to better manage labor costs.

7. Cleaners

Keeping a store clean is essential to keeping repeat business. But how operators achieve that cleanliness may be costing them big bucks. Purchasing ready-to-use cleaning supplies like Windex, Mop n Glo, and Clorox is considerably more expensive than using products that can be diluted. For example, Cintas’ dilution rate is 1:256, which saves on average $13.55 each time new cleaning supplies have to be purchased. In addition, JohnsonDiversey, a chemical solutions company, found that on average employees use three times the suggested amount of soap and detergent when washing dishes. Using a dosing or dispensing system can cut down on overuse and save operators up to 80 percent in freight costs.

8. Tax Credits

On May 25, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007, which gives tax credits to employers who hire specific groups of people. The quick-serve industry has a 23 percent employee eligibility rate, higher than any other restaurant or retail segment, but operators rarely take advantage of it.

The employees who enable operators to collect tax credits include crew members on federal welfare (or member of a family receiving welfare), those belonging to a tribe, and disabled veterans. Work Opportunity Tax Credits can even be used to offset the Alternative Minimum Tax, contrary to what most companies think. In addition, JobApp CEO Blake Helppie says operators often don’t know about tax credits associated with hiring individuals living in counties affected by Hurricane Katrina.

9. Sourcing

Some cost-saving tips save operators time, others save them money. KlickKitchen, however, allows operators to save both. The food sourcing Web site not only streamlines the food-ordering process, it also pits vendors against each other—bidding for operators’ business.

The technology works like this: Each online user is given a virtual clipboard that is populated by the available inventory of more than 23,000 items or manual entry. At that point, operators can either send out their food requests and let the bidding begin or instantly contact vendors to get a price quote. And because there is a paper trail on the Web site, confusion and inaccuracies are avoided.

The Web site has a $300 initial setup fee and a $1-a-day membership fee. KlickKitchen CEO Jordan Glaser estimates ROI is about 2–3 weeks.

10. Injuries

It’s good for operators to know about ways to reduce workman’s comp insurance, but what might be even better is cutting out the claim altogether. When an employee is injured at a restaurant, 40.7 percent of the time he or she can return to work without seeking off-site care, according to Medcor, an outsourced health service.

Medcor provides a 24/7 toll-free injury triage service so the employee can speak one-on-one with a nurse. If the injury is minor, the nurse will guide the employee through first aid steps. If the employee needs additional care, the nurse will provide him or her with employer-specific information about how to receive the appropriate level of care—avoiding unnecessary ER visits or out-of-network treatment. Additional savings include reduced legal fees, improved staff productivity, and discounted fees from preferred clinics.

Let us know if these tips helped you save money and share any additional advice you may have for fellow food service operators on our Facebook page.

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