6 Effective Ways To Cut Restaurant Costs Immediately

As a restaurant owner, you are always looking for ways to reduce costs without compromising quality or customer service.

These 8 suggestions will give you a quick start on your cost-saving quest:  

#1: Streamline Your Menu

A optimized menu reduces unnecessary inventory and makes for a better customer experience. Use these tips to whip your menu into shape:

Assess. Track what is selling and what isn’t. Keep the winners, lose the lower-selling items.

Optimize. Cross-utilize ingredients to make the most out of inventory

Seasonalize. Incorporate seasonal ingredients whenever possible to save money and keep food fresh.

#2: Control Portions

An extra ladle here and an ounce more there adds up. Use these tips to reduce costs and meet customers’ expectations.

Quick reference guides. A chart listing ingredients and portion sizes will help your staff keep portions consistent.

Pre-portioning. Speed things up in the kitchen while controlling costs with scales and other measuring devices to pre-portion ingredients.


#3: Add Touchscreen Menus

Tableside digital menus are appealing to diners of all ages. 46% of consumers say they would order on a touch-screen terminal if they could.

Lower Labor Costs. Diners can browse menus, order, and pay on their own, freeing up wait staff to cover more tables.

Increase Profits. Additional items that coincide with customers’ orders can be digitally promoted.


#4: Purchase Wisely

Raw materials and kitchen equipment are your biggest expenses. Here are two ways to make smart purchases while saving money on the items you need:

Join a Food Cooperative. Food-purchasing cooperatives allow you to increase your buying power and get the best prices—sometimes equal to that of national corporate restaurant chains.

Buy Pre-owned. Instead of over-paying for brand new equipment, get the same nearly-new models (or better) with drastic price reductions.

#5: Kill Energy Vampires

Short of investing in energy-efficient ovens, fryers and refrigerators, there are a few easy and inexpensive ways to conserve energy and cut costs throughout your restaurant:

Lighting. Lighting costs equal, on average, 24% of a restaurant’s total energy bill. LED light bulbs are 75-80% more energy-efficient than standard bulbs, and each one can save almost $400 over 5 years.

Dishwashers. Soak dishes in a tub of warm water to soften food before loading them into the dishwasher. Also, never run a half-empty dishwasher—that wastes energy, water and soap

Restrooms: Install low-flow faucets and toilets and cut down on paper with hand dryers.


#6: Trash Wasteful Trash Habits

Here are tips to make sure staff is saving usable food prep byproducts for use elsewhere:

Train. Replace trash cans with plastic food containers for a while. Inspect these containers to see what is left over after slicing, trimming and prepping. Train staff on what is usable.

Recycle. Create sauces, soups, garnishes, sides and more that re-purpose these byproducts that would have otherwise gone to waste.


With these easy steps to assess, innovate and modernize, you will be well on your way to cutting costs and increasing your bottom line.

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Images from Flickr