Reducing your restaurant labor cost is no easy task, there’s no simple solution and rarely is there one change that can make the difference needed to grow your businesses to the level you want. It is small changes throughout your business that give you that extra 10-20% needed for growth. One area that is often overlooked for labor costs savings is the restaurant menu costs, so let’s take a look at what you can do.

Are The Dishes Causing Problems?

Always check how many dishes are returned after each service. Know the reasons why each was returned and how much it cost to comp or replace meals. More often than not, it is the same one or two dishes that are causing problems for your customers and obviously your chefs.

While the problem may lie with the chef, you may also reduce wasted labor and food costs by making some small changes to the dishes or removing them from the menu entirely.

Hidden Labor

Do you need to change the menu? Is it too labor intensive, or are there too many offerings? Always ask, are you selling enough of a specific item to warrant the labor required to prepare and serve it?

Also, beware of over-investing in the printing of your menus, particularly if you change it on a regular basis.

Self-Serve Options

Explore the labor saving ideas of self service restaurants – buffets, tea/coffee machines etc. Could you make this work for your business, perhaps with a unique twist?

Better Prep Work

Can you do more prep in advance and perhaps batch cook some dishes? This will allow the chef to serve and observe portion control. You may look at sous-vide cooking as a labor saving option for your food prep.