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Smart Ways To Control Your Cost

Controlling and preventing losses presents a unique challenge in the restaurant environment. Losses occur from many sources, including neglected policies and procedures, lack of training, unsafe work habits and conditions, undisciplined supervision and theft. The biggest expense on the P&L of a restaurant is food cost. Addressing profit leaks in this key component of the restaurant business requires a comprehensive approach in coaching, training and discipline.

Let’s start by answering this question.

The main items negatively affecting food cost in your restaurant are:


  1. Boneless Chicken Wings

  2. Chicken Tenders

  3. Beef Bacon

  4. Onion Rings

  5. Hamburger Buns

  6. Hamburger Patties

  7. Cheese (American, Cheddar, Swiss, Jack)


  1. Soda Pet Bottles / Cans

  2. Bottled Water


  1. Shopping Bags with Handle

  2. 20LB. Bags

  3. Salad Bowls

  4. Napkins


  1. Grease Cutter

  2. Sanitizer

  3. Face Masks

  4. Latex Gloves

  5. Hair Nets

The answer: The fact that you know what items most affects your cost is the right answer and the first step in addressing the shortage issue. If you don’t know what items are negatively affecting your cost, we’ll outline some ideas and resources to help you. One of the most often overlooked and potentially highest drain on profitability is the cost related to the improper ordering, storing, inventory, preparing, cooking and selling of your menu items. If uncontrolled, each can be responsible for a serious drain on profits. When several of these areas are not controlled, the resulting losses can be devastating to the health of the business. A comprehensive loss control program can sort it all out and address the issues that put team and profits at risk.

Sound restaurant loss prevention programs place an emphasis on controlling the issues that may negatively affect food cost. Establishing and improving routines in these key areas will improve restaurant profit margins.

As a team, to identify and resolve the areas that drain your profit you need to reinforce a habitual approach by explaining to your team the outcome that reflects on the P&L, and how it affects profitability & bottomline.

So basically, reinforcing habitual change will provide your team with easy & comfortable directions on handling & completing tasks.

Now, the most important factor in controlling your cost may be easy in saying but requires ongoing commitment and an ownership approach, here’s how you can start your control journey:

  1. Conduct daily hot inventory on select items

  2. Don’t over stock supplies

  3. Perform daily line check per shift

  4. Update your production sheet

  5. Order supplies according to business demand and consider a small buffer stock

  6. Receive supplies properly by counting items and weighing produce

  7. Store properly and apply FIFO procedures to avoid expiry dates

  8. On regular shifts reinforce portioning of French fries, onion rings etc.

  9. When preparing delivery orders, ensure you follow packaging guidelines

  10. Frequently conduct left / right hand grab test to improve your BOH team skills

  11. Have your kitchen staff follow the proper cooking procedures to avoid wastage throughout the shift

  12. End of month inventory count should be handled with care, always double check before posting to MC

Those are some easy guidelines that can help controlling your cost and restoring profit. In your opinion, how can we control our COST? Share your comments below.

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