Quick-Serve and Fast-Casual restaurants are facing incredibly steep competition. In the last twenty years, dozens of new brands and venues have popped up offering a wide variety of new quick meal options. Whether you offer the traditional burgers and fries or cater to the Millennial desire for quick food variety like gyros or sushi, being able to streamline your business is key.
Between the competition and the droves of customers that move through your doors each day, balancing costs and revenue has always been the key to success.
While your menu and customer base may be taking care of the revenue half of this equation, it's always useful to find new ways to reduce your costs without cutting corners. For any quick-serve restaurant looking for a few efficiency tips, we've put together five key ways to lower your expenses by boosting daily efficiency.
1) Manage Crowds for Cashiers
One of the biggest risks in a quick-serve restaurant is rushed cashiering. Cashiers often get distracted and stressed out enough to make mistakes during your rush periods when your little restaurant fills to the brim with hunger diners seeking a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Instead of relying on your cashiers to manage the lines from behind their counter, keep your waiting customers calm and orderly (and your cashiers clear-headed) by assigning a team member to manage the crowd. You may want some cordon ropes, tape on the floor, or other indications to help customers stand back from cashiers and the person they are currently working with.
2) Clear Excess Cash Regularly
It's a sad truth that popular quick-serve locations are much more likely to become targets for theft or attempted theft. Just seeing those stacks of tens and twenties in the cash drawer is enough to send some people over the edge or someone in a desperate situation will decide that menacing your cashiers is worth whatever they can get.
The best way to reduce theft risk other than a good security system is to keep your cash drawers less than overflowing. Clear excess cash several times during a busy day to reduce the temptation (both internal and external) to steal.
3) Install LED Lights
Whether your business is located in a regulated or unregulated energy state, the power bill can often be one of the heftiest regular costs for a quick-serve venue, especially if you're subject to variable energy prices that can change week by week.
While you can't change the fact that your kitchen needs a lot of power, you can significantly reduce the energy consumption of your ample lighting by switching to LED fixtures instead of fluorescents or incandescents. LEDs have crisper (and more variable) light hues while burning with far less heat, also making them safer to work around.
4) Strategize Heating and Cooling
Another way to lower your power bill is to think more carefully about what you do with the thermostat. Most restaurants pick a temperature for the year-round indoor climate and leave it there but this may not be your most efficient or even your most comfortable option.
If you live in a region with notable temperature variation from season to season, consider working with the outside temperature instead of against it. You may not need AC during spring and fall, for instance, if the weather is sitting in a comfortable range of 55 to 70, and you may not need as much heat in the winter if you consider venting some of your kitchen heat (and tasty smells) out to the dining area.
5) Build a Staff Meal Policy
Let's face it: staff are going to eat some of what they produce and allowing them to do so is actually important for restaurant morale. It is nearly impossible to serve tasty food all day without wanting a few bites, especially since shifts invariably cross over staff meal times.
Unfortunately, this can also lead to an excess of "mistakes" that can be eaten and an unrecorded depletion of supplies. Instead, make your staff eating part of the company policies and either grant them a daily meal or build a policy that works for your menu and team to reduce unnecessary losses and keep inventory count accurate.
Managing a quick-serve restaurant is all about constantly stream-lining your process. From crowd management to the power bill, every little bit counts. For more information on how to save money for your high-turnover restaurant, contact us today!