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There are a lot of factors to balance when running a restaurant, and it is easy to get caught up in it all. If you take a step back and evaluate the details, you may find that there are some areas in which you could be spending less without sacrificing quality. 

If you are just about to open a restaurant, make sure that you follow all the steps for opening a successful restaurant before diving in and incurring excess costs. A lot of financial hardship can be avoided with airtight planning and some hard work upfront. 

If you are already operating, there is always room for improvement. These tips will help you trim the fat and make the most out of the money you spend. Say hello to more profits and goodbye to excess waste. 

Cutting Food Costs

One of the easiest ways to reduce your restaurant’s costs is by reducing food costs. You can do this by working with your food suppliers and staying on top of calculating food costs regularly. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 30 to 40 percent of all food produced in the United States is wasted every year. 

Calculate Food Costs Regularly

Be diligent about calculating your food costs regularly. You can do this by regularly assessing your inventory, the cost of goods sold, and the food cost percentage.


Be sure to take food inventory at the same time daily–either at opening or closing. By being consistent with this process, you will be able to see the rate at which food is being used or wasted. From there, you can adjust your inventory orders accordingly. 

Food Suppliers 

Once you have a clear picture of how food is being used or wasted in your restaurant, you can adjust your order with your food supplier. We encourage you to also look around at other food suppliers to make sure you are getting the best price. You may be surprised to find that there is a lower price available for the same products. 

You can try talking to your supplier. Oftentimes they will be willing to match a competitor’s price to keep your business. If your food supplier won’t match the lower price points you have discovered, maybe it is time to consider changing food suppliers. Don’t be afraid to take charge of your business. 

Another way to minimize your food supply cost is by adjusting the number of food suppliers you use. If you use multiple, you are likely to pay multiple delivery costs. By consolidating all your food purchases to one supplier, you will save money. 

Only Buy In Bulk When It Makes Sense

Another way to reduce costs is ordering in bulk depending on the items. Although this works great for non-perishable items, it can be tricky for fresh ingredients. If a restaurant orders too many fresh ingredients in bulk, they might have to deal with spoilage, which defeats the purpose of bulk ordering as a cost-effective measure in the first place. Try checking in with your food provider. Some providers are willing to let you receive bulk orders in multiple shipments. This way, you’ll always have the freshest ingredients and can minimize waste. 

Limited Seasonal Menu

Using local, seasonal ingredients is a great way to minimize costs and support your local farmers. Local ingredients paired with limited-edition menu items will allow you to adjust your menu based on what is affordable, available, and in season. 

High-quality fruits and vegetables that are in season often taste better and are of higher quality. When food is purchased through local farms, your food doesn’t have to travel as far. It will arrive in better shape and have more flavor because it was harvested at peak ripeness, thus improving the dining experience. 

By limiting your menu, you can reduce food waste. If something isn’t selling well, simply remove it from your menu and replace it with a new offering. This is a great way for creative restaurant owners to experiment.

Portion Control

If you notice that a lot of your guests aren’t able to finish a certain meal, then you should likely reduce the portion size. Use serving tools and scales to properly portion each serving, whether it’s an entree or an appetizer. Whether the food is paid for or not, food in the trash is money in the trash and can seriously hurt your profitability. 

Get Rid Of Kitchen Trash Cans

If you have large trash cans in your kitchen, usable ingredients are likely getting tossed as a result of human error. Instead, try using a clear plastic food waste bin for each employee who preps ingredients. Have a manager monitor the amount of food waste each employee is contributing and point out when usable ingredients are being tossed so that they can improve. 

Energy Costs

Make sure you are using energy wisely. You can implement energy-saving measures by turning off burners when they aren’t in use and by using energy-efficient restaurant equipment and light bulbs. When using energy-efficient equipment, you could save up to 40 percent on your electricity bill through several state and federal programs.

You may also want to look into renting your roof space to solar providers. They will install their solar panels on your roof space, and you will reap the benefits–this is called a power purchasing agreement. Cutting back on energy costs is a great way for a restaurant manager or small business to reduce costs without losing any quality. As a bonus, you will not only save money, but you will also be reducing your impact on the environment.  

Smart Technology

There are several ways to use smart technology to reduce costs. By using a POS system or point-of-sale system, you will be able to see live feedback on what is selling the most and what is selling the least. It also reduces the amount of time it takes to put in orders and send them to the kitchen.


Make sure to maximize your labor costs by adjusting your schedule according to how busy you are at any given time. Avoid overstaffing on off-hours. 

Another great way to maximize your staff members’ time (and your labor costs) is by opening a ghost kitchen operation. If your restaurant is having a slow day, you can turn on your delivery apps and have your kitchen staff fill takeout orders during down-time. For great ghost kitchen concepts to add to your restaurant, check out Nextbite. They can provide you with everything you need to add a ghost kitchen to your existing restaurant. 

In Conclusion

The bottom line is that cutting restaurant costs is easier than it seems. With these helpful cost-saving tips, you can begin to maximize the money you are spending and patch up any holes where money may be leaking out. 


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