1. Cut stock levels

Choose several products that are being over-bought ‘just in case’. In the kitchen, check expensive protein items including steak and bacon — think of it as cash on your shelf and you’ll cut even harder. Three day’s stock is usually enough.

  1. Do detailed costing on a ‘suspicious’ recipe or beverage

Expensive seafood, fine chocolate or a sauce that takes hours to prepare. What about that magnificent cocktail loaded with expensive spirits and fruit? They may stay on the menu, but is the price realistic?

  1. Delete menu items

Their popularity has waned and they need special ingredients and setup. Chances are there’s more waste if they don’t sell in volume. Your POS figures should identify these losers — will customers really notice?

  1. Check chemical usage from automatic dispensers

Use the last invoice to work out how much you are paying per day for that coloured liquid. With many drums costing more than $100, there can be serious money going down the drain.

  1. Put up the gas and electricity bills for staff to see

Work the totals out at a cost per day. Now, ask everyone to nominate something that could make a difference to consumption. Sometimes the boss needs to spend a little on maintenance to get the savings, e.g. new door seals on fridges, plastic flaps on cool rooms and motion-activated lights.

  1. Ring your phone company when you don’t need them

It’s the perfect time to ask about better plans and deals. Hospitality operators are huge consumers of these services — how can they help you save?

  1. Set up a meeting with your weakest employee

Keep it focused on their physical performance, speed, accuracy and teamwork. Set up a two-week deadline for measurable improvement and make sure their supervisor is part of the plan. They will either become more productive or take another step towards goodbye.

  1. Check portion sizes

The slice of cake, scoop of ice cream, portion of fish or nip of spirits. Is it time for new accurate scoops, ladles and scales? In the cellar, find your best numbers person and task them to measure wastage figures and compare to industry averages.

  1. Add $20 to the till and see if it’s ‘over’ when the balance is done

This is the year to be tighter and stricter with money handling. Watch out for people who groom the till and are always dead accurate.

  1. Tighten up start and finish times

Even finger-scanners can be manipulated and late sign-offs are common when controls are weak. Start online rostering so you can see how much the payroll is costing day by day — you’ll be pleased at the extra control you have.


Article by Ken Burgin, Silver Chef