Anyone who owns, operates or has simply worked in a restaurant knows profit margins are narrow, labor is stretched thin and budgets must be followed meticulously in order to stay business. Being scrappy and cost savvy are the name of the game in the restaurant industry. Chefs create specials to use up surplus ingredients; back-of-house staff multitask throughout their shifts to get everything done; and managers wear many hats, from greeting guests to taking inventory, signing for deliveries and making sure invoices are paid.
And while many restaurant operators are quite familiar with foodservice operations solutions—think inventory management software—that can help keep better track of their food, they often forget about the lost productivity related to the manual, menial tasks required to use those systems. Operators may not be aware of the hidden labor costs of old-fashioned processes, spreadsheets or legacy systems. The hours and the costs can add up quickly. Fortunately, there are a number of platforms that can help them automate even more, offering the same if not better visibility into inventory and food costs, while saving time and labor of their back of house teams.
Food cost management and automation
When chefs purchase new ingredients or create new dishes that become regular offerings, they subsequently need to update their product catalogues, revise recipes, re-calibrate food cost targets and build new budgets. Just thinking about all of that is enough to make some operators cringe or even abandon the effort altogether.
Luckily, sophisticated technology suites such as xtraCHEF have the capability to more easily manage these requirements, in one automated, easy-to-use platform. Purchased a new item? Simply scan and upload the invoice and xtraCHEF will add those new items to the product catalogue. Simply drag and drop new items into product groups or add to a count sheet, and plate costs, inventory and budgets will all be up-to-date.
Interactive dashboards for food cost management automatically crunch food cost numbers so staffers don’t have to sharpen their pencils or get lost in spreadsheets. Chefs and managers can spend more time on the floor managing their teams instead of stuck at a keyboard manually maintaining prices. Not only does this free them up to delight guests, but it removes the margin of error that’s possible when these calculations are done by hand.
Budgets and forecasting
Technology can also help with other tasks, such as inventory. By using declining budgeting technology, general managers and owners don’t have to wait and wonder if they’re on target for the month. Nor do they have to make time every night to manually enter data about what was ordered, what was earned, how much sold and what labor cost, among other things. With automation and the right integrations in place, restaurant staffers can instead focus their energy on driving revenue and guest satisfaction.
Without technology designed to automate these tasks, GMs and chefs end up spending a lot of time doing redundant tasks. For instance, the chef may be maintaining budgets and food cost targets in a spreadsheet based off of invoice data, but the accountant is maintaining that same information to manage accounts payable. This means that they’re BOTH wasting time and thus money doing the same manual work! When a restaurant automates the task of capturing the data, operators not only improve the productivity and saving on labor costs for one person, but for every person that relies on that same data.
A one-stop solution
Using a comprehensive technology solution designed specifically for restaurant management needs can have a big effect on how the back of house is run. Instead of piecemeal solutions, having a central dashboard such as xtraCHEF helps employees streamline their tasks, resulting in less labor spend.
To learn more about how xtraCHEF can help save on labor, visit xtrachef.com.
This post is sponsored by xtraCHEF