When evaluating the food cost of any given menu, waste creates a major impact and hurts profit margins, especially during typically slow late winter months. Besides ordering less product, menu streamlining options can help reduce waste and leave more money in your budget. This week, we’ll offer some tips on menu streamlining menu that can prevent excess waste and improve profits.
Reducing Waste By Streamlining Your Menu
Most chefs and food managers resist the urge to trim their menu during lean months, but we feel the benefits outweigh giving your customers a wide range of choices. When evaluating your menu during traditionally slow periods, look for a few of the following options to menu streamlining :
- Remove Rarely Ordered Items
- Alter Dishes to Share Ingredients
- Find Substitutes for Expensive Ingredients
- Consider Special Menus Early in the Week
If you keep sales reports, take a look at which items are most frequently ordered and which are rarely ordered. If you have a low percentage of any menu item, consider removing it during slow times. Even at a low order rate, you may sell enough to keep ingredients on hand during peak months, but that low order rate will turn into waste when business drops off.
Side dishes can often be a source of waste. Consider using more cost effective ingredients and rewriting your menu so that more than one dish shares a side. While providing a unique ingredients and side dishes for every item gives customers options, it also increases waste. Temporarily finding ways to include the same ingredient in more than one menu item will reduce waste and lower food cost.
Some restaurants offer a special menu on slower days, typically early in the week. Weekend business usually stays steady, so running a typical menu works for busy days, but offering a more cost effective or “weekday menu” is a common solution to waste reduction.
As a food manager, do you feel altering your menu to reduce waste during the off-season is a solution for controlling food cost?