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How data can help save your restaurant money

In order to run and grow a restaurant, you must exercise effective management over your labour costs and, in order to do so, you need to be armed with the relevant data. Data is an invaluable resource for your restaurant, providing you with the means to assess your business’s performance and identify any potential issues. As such, data is the linchpin that allows you to make fully-informed decisions regarding your restaurant’s performance and how to adjust to any given situation. So if you’re looking for ways to reduce your labour costs and raise your bottom line, here are just some of the many ways in which data can help.

Establish an accurate sales forecast

First off, you need to figure out how many staff members are required to successfully run your restaurant using an accurate Sales Forecast. Taking a look at your previous month’s sales, consider your trading levels on a day-to-day basis. How did it vary from one day to the next? If there’s a strong pattern emerging, could you use it to help decide how many staff members are needed to run your business each day? By adjusting each team member’s work schedule according to the amount of trade that’s performed each day, you can ensure that you’re not overstaffing or understaffing your restaurant, saving you money in the long run. Plus, you should also plan ahead. If there are events coming up such as bank holidays or Valentine’s Day, are you going to be more busy than usual?

Need help supporting your restaurant’s operating costs? Have a growth project you want to begin working on? Apply for Business Finance or learn more about how your restaurant could benefit.

Identify areas where you are losing money

In order to remain sustainable, you must always be on the lookout for ways in which your restaurant might be losing money. If you do find weak areas, you need to react quickly to resolve the issue. When discussing labour, the two most common culprits for money loss are disorganised shift changes and low trading periods in the middle of the day.

  • Disorganised shift changes: these could result in an overlap where you have more staff to hand than what you actually need. Rather than everyone change shift all at once, stagger the times in which shifts end to save yourself money.
  • Low trading periods in the middle of the day: this may mean that you do not need as many staff members active at these times. Although you could tackle this by offering shorter shifts, other options you may want to consider could include using the time to prepare the kitchen or tidy up customer-facing areas, or you could even offer mid-afternoon promotions in order to bring in more customers.

Ensure access to suitable types of staff

Although you want to get your staffing levels under control, it’s important that you also have access to the right staff at the right times. For example, have you got enough front and back house staff? This is a vital aspect to consider as different types of staff deal with specific areas of your restaurant. For example, if you don’t have enough waiters, there may be a backlog of meals waiting to be delivered. So in order to correctly predict what staff you’re going to need throughout the course of each day, carefully assess your data:

  • When reviewing your sales forecasts, take a closer look at each individual subcategory: drinks, coffee and food. How does the sale of these products vary at different times?    
  • Assess and map, according to time, your sales targets for individual food and drink categories, for example, will you need another bartender at hand to deal with more customers in the evening?
  • Will you need more senior staff members available during busy trading periods?

Provide effective training

Finally, you should also ensure that your staff have sufficient access to effective training opportunities that will help both enhance their career and improve your restaurant. This training should also be continuous, with assessments being randomly carried out. These assessments should also have an informal atmosphere about them in order to relieve anxiety and make them fun. So as well as providing your team with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills first hand, it’s also a great way for you to provide feedback and boost confidence. Plus, by providing effective training opportunities, you’ll help to increase customer satisfaction by reducing employee errors, drink spillages, overly generous pours, returned meals and so on. Ultimately, this will all mean an increase in your bottom line, which should be apparent in the data that you collect.

Need help supporting your restaurant’s operating costs?

As any restaurant owner will tell you, running a business in this industry can be very tough and demanding. But if you’re willing put the time and effort in, there’s no reason why you can’t succeed. One of the biggest challenges you’ll face is your operating costs. As well as keeping a tight lid on staff wages, you also need to factor in utility bills, tax, rent, equipment maintenance, inventory and any other financial obligations. Naturally, you might encounter periods where you feel like your being squeezed into a corner, making payments you can scarcely afford, especially during a slow trading period. But rather than sacrificing quality or dipping into your own funds, why not explore how the Alternative Finance Industry could help?

At Rangewell, we’re an Access to Finance specialist working with over 300 lenders to offer you an overview of more than 23,000 business finance products. Our services are free to use and we’ll also guide you through the application process. We’re with you every step of the way. So if you’re looking to support your restaurant’s bottom or boost efficiency, apply for Business Finance today or find out more with Rangewell.

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