Restaurants: Ideas to save time and money during the pandemic

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Six months into the pandemic, and many restaurants around the country are slowly opening back up for takeout, delivery, outdoor and limited indoor dining. If you’ve been running on a skeleton crew for takeout, drive through and delivery only, or if you’ve been shuttered altogether, you’re likely calling your staff back to work now, even if it’s on a limited basis.

For most restaurateurs, this is a crucial period. It’s about getting customers back in the door (but not too many at once); calming their fears of what this “new normal” of mask wearing, social distancing and constant sanitizing means to dining out; reassuring employees they’ll still have jobs when the dust settles; and assuring everyone you’re doing everything possible to make sure both customers and employees are safe.

All of this in addition to the dollars and cents of it all. It’s make-or-break time for many hospitality businesses, restaurants especially. This industry runs on tight margins in the best of times. Now, every dollar is vital to your survival.

Money-saving tips

Here are some ways to save money, cut costs and ease back into profitability. It’s all about efficiency.

Scrutinize your operating costs. 

At this time, it’s more crucial than ever to get a firm handle on what’s coming in and what’s going out. Go through that P&L statement with a fine-tooth comb. It’ll give you a clear picture of where you are, and where you can start to trim. You may find, however, that just when you want to increase efficiencies, your employees are spending extra time doing pandemic-related tasks, like getting screened before shifts, and cleaning during them. You might consider adding a “safety fee” to each customer ticket to help defray those costs.

Go through your menu. 

You’re looking for the most popular dishes, obviously, but it’s also about how expensive those dishes are to create in both time and ingredients. Your go-to menu items and signature dishes are what bring customers back again and again. But it might be the time to limit your menu to dishes that don’t require a lot of prep, fuss or cooking time. The objective here is three-fold.

  • By limiting your menu to easy-to-prep, short-cooking-time dishes, you’re saving time and money.
  • You’ll also be able to turn that table quicker if those diners aren’t waiting 30 minutes for a complex chef’s creation.
  • Menu items that are quick and easy are optimal for delivery and takeout, which will continue to help buoy your business. You can get more orders on their way to your customers faster.

Reduce food waste. 

Foodprint estimates that up to 10% of the food inventory in restaurants is wasted before it even gets to your patrons. Now is the time to have a bulletproof food ordering system in place. With that handled, there are several other creative ways to use your food stock before it goes to waste.

  • For fresh fruit, veggies and meats that can’t be frozen and are in danger of spoiling, create special dishes that use these ingredients or cut the price on your popular dishes that use them.
  • Designate different days of the week to run discounts on dishes made with fresh ingredients. The idea is to move those dishes and use up that inventory.
  • Do you have a deli? If not, now might be the time to create one. Feature popular to-go items, frozen versions of customer favorites, homemade sauces and dressings you can brand and bottle, and any other dish that will make use of food inventory that might not move in the dining room or on the patio in time.
  • Trim down your inventory. In many restaurants, when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Use efficient safety procedures. 

It’s a bit of a paradox. Your cleaning and sanitization procedures need to ramp up at a time when you need to not only get your guests into their seats faster than ever, but be more efficient about your staff time. The solution? Innovative sprayer technology. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Get the job done faster. EnviroPro sprayers sanitize surfaces quickly, with 70% faster application rates.
  • Using less chemicals = money savings. The patented technology allows you to completely sanitize your restaurant using 65% fewer chemicals.
  • No-touch application. Your servers won’t have to wipe down surfaces. The technology bonds with surfaces to completely sanitize them with no wipe down.
  • Easy to use. Your cleaning staff will require virtually no training to use it.

EnviroPro Solutions’ easy-to-operate electrostatic sprayers can disinfect surfaces in a matter of minutes and sanitize up to 23,000 ft2 on a single tank of chemical solution. Contact us today to help us help you cut costs and get the job done more efficiently.