Several factors influence the way a restaurant administrator conducts their business’ ordering and evaluates food cost. It’s easy to feel loyalty to a certain supplier for reasons either sentimental or professional. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of ordering all of your supplies from a certain supplier because they carry one item exclusive of all other suppliers, and it is simply easier to order everything with them. However, in both cases, the motivations for supplier choice are made with no respect for the restaurant’s profit margins and bottom line, this is simply unacceptable.
It is vital that owners and administrators be capable of making ordering decisions that are entirely based on food cost and profit management, regardless of possible existing allegiances. The bottom line is that, if one supplier can offer something at half the price of another, and that supplier is still making enough profit to stay in business, then the second supplier is engaged in a bit of price gouging.
In this article, we’re going to address three ways that owners, managers, and administrators can effectively manage their ordering practices so that a much higher consideration for food costs occurs. Taking into consideration food costs has the potential to boost profits and also potentially save a business that is on the verge of failing or otherwise hurting. Pay attention to even just one of the tips we’re going to present and worry will be a thing of the past. With that being said, let’s get into the three tips!
This should be the most obvious tip for food cost efficiency, but it still warrants a bit of discussion. Taking the time to shop around for the best possible price for a given item or ingredient is something that is considered to be unnecessarily time-consuming by administrators and those in charge of ordering. However, with inventory tracker software, like Zip Inventory, you can monitor any changes in the prices of the items you and your business orders quickly and easily.
Look around, too; don’t just do a cursory search to check off the box saying you compared prices. You will almost definitely find that each supplier has different items that they possess the best food cost on. It is up to you to compile a list of which suppliers have the best price on which items. Once you do, make sure you keep your food cost list accessible, you’re going to need it to follow through with this next tip.
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Something you want to consider when you’re working towards a more food cost-effective method of ordering is whether certain suppliers will match the pricing of other suppliers to earn your business. This can be tricky, no doubt, but it is still worth considering. Your odds are certainly better if you pursue this kind of inquiry with a supplier who already offers the best price on a majority of your food ordering needs, as they may be more willing to work with you on the one or two items different for the sake of guaranteeing that they have your business in the future.
You will have to be careful, though, as coming on too strong could lead to an unwanted confrontation with a supplier that has the potential to ruin your relationship with them entirely. If you have a supplier with whom you already have a relationship, then it might be worth it to inquire with them first about any price matching that they might be willing to do. Even if they don't match the lower price exactly, they may be willing to lower their food cost prices some, which might just make the difference when it comes to your bottom line.
You can find an absurdly low price on a certain ingredient or item, but if the quality isn’t there, then it isn’t cost-efficient at the end of the day. Your food cost is a primarily monetary concern, yes, but it also assumes a certain level of quality maintenance. When we say, “look for the best price,” we mean something along the lines of “look for the supplier who offers the most for your money.” You need to be able to evaluate the quality of the ingredients as much as the price of them. If you can’t, then you’ll see a drop in overall food quality and, potentially, a higher loss in business than the new, lower food cost can make up for.
To wrap things up, remember that food cost is a term that describes both the monetary value of ingredients and also how much they offer you for the price you’re paying. You want to ensure that you don’t start cutting corners for the sake of cutting costs. If you do, it will reflect on the experience your customers have, and then in turn on their desire to return to your restaurant in the future. Keep these three tips in mind, though, and you will be well on your way to not only a more cost-effective restaurant but also a more respectable one.
If you’re looking to learn more about inventory management technology that can help you gain a competitive advantage in today’s market, take a look at our guide on “How to Choose the Best Inventory Control Software for Small Businesses” also on the Hubworks Blog!