It’s inconceivable why people choose the food industry as a career. If you run a restaurant, it’s because you’re addicted. Like many addicts, it’s easy to let the habit burn holes in your wallet. Even seeing a financial doctor about symptoms of money loss costs money. Consider the cost-free remedies to monetary savings below a gift from one addict to another.
1. Keep the Customer
No matter how incredible the chef is, the waiters are the face of your business. If guests don’t like the service, they’re not coming back for the food no matter how good it is. Nobody will see the sequel if the first movie was terrible; so too goes the service : food relationship.
The waitstaff must be two things: Skilled and Reasonably Content. Waiting jobs come and go; servers know that. Servers are crazy and when they are discontent they will burn your customers with ambiguous comments and lukewarm food. They become ushers, hurrying money out the door. Keeping them in check with floor managers who lead by example is both an effective and cheap solution. A manager who gets involved with the work of his waiters is like Julius Caesar sleeping on the ground with his soldiers.
Managers need to be on the floor in addition to performing their administrative duties. That’s why they’re paid more, right?
2. Shave an Hour or Two
Your hours are too optimistic. Unless God is the chef of your 24-hour discount fine cuisine restaurant, you are open at least one unnecessary hour daily.
It is said that when Bloomingdale’s decided to extend their hours on 59th and Lexington, their profits were relatively static storewide, restaurants included. Customer flow increased along with wages, electricity, employee turnover, etc. Why sacrifice efficiency for static profits and poor morale? If you look at your slowest hour of the day, you will find that even in the best of times it does not cover the overhead spent in that hour. Guests will either come earlier or wait for you to open. After all, you’ve got a great staff and an almost-deity in the kitchen.
3. Heed the Help
There are certain employees who know exactly how and where money is being wasted. They are the bussers and runners.
The secret to winning a war is knowing the enemy’s maneuvers and you’ve already hired the perfect reconnaissance team. Rather than paying an outsider for an efficiency assessment, ask the “peons.” Since bussers and runners are the real eyes and ears of the restaurant, ask them what’s happening. They know the customer and staff conversations. They know which lights, AC units and ice machines should be turned off. They’ve even solved the mystery of the disappearing Johnny Walker. They’re not, however, going to run this information to you.
You need to get them on your side; e.g., personally offer them a drink for the end of their shift and make sure the bartender gets the message. Buying drinks to make allies is very effective.
4. Build that Pool You’ve Always Wanted
If you are not up to snuff on this one, then it’s about time you got with it. Pool the tips! A pooled house makes the burden of a clinically disturbed waitstaff a little lighter. Pooling forces the service staff to work together and weed out lazy employees without management getting too involved. No lazy employees means efficiency. Efficiency means happiness. Happiness means customers, etc. Pooling doesn’t make you a Communist, it makes you successful.
Use free advice as prescribed. Begin saving money immediately; make sure instructions are followed daily. Call me in the morning.