Buying ingredients for menus is a delicate balancing act. Your customers want good-quality dishes, but if prices are too high, then they may be less likely to return. Getting the best ingredients without having to pay a lot for them is tricky for food procurers. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can keep costs low without compromising on quality.
Monitor your menus
Check your menus closely to find items that do not sell well. You can remove these from your offerings without disappointing customers. Buying ingredients for dishes that do not sell will inevitably result in the wastage of both food and money. Concentrate on the dishes that customers prefer, although even for these, it is important not to over-buy perishable ingredients. Using a popular ingredient across several dishes can help reduce waste. By monitoring your menus, you can make a realistic estimate of how much of each ingredient that you need and buy accordingly.
Changing your menus also allows you to adapt them to reflect seasonal produce. Expensive foods can drop in price when they are readily available and taste better. Incorporate these into your dishes so that your customers can enjoy higher-end produce, and you can make a profit from prices that they are happy to pay.
Remember when planning menus to label allergens clearly and cater for special diets. If you are finding this challenging, then PSL’s service “What’s in My Dish?” can help you in creating allergen-compliant menus.
Choose your suppliers
You will want to shop around to make sure that you are not paying too much for ingredients, and PSL can help you find suppliers of quality produce at the best possible prices. However, buying from many different suppliers is not always cost-effective even if they are the cheapest. Some suppliers offer better rates if you buy a large proportion of your ingredients solely from them.
Check the portions
Over-filling plates leads to food wastage and may leave your customers too full to order dessert, so ensure that the amounts that you are serving are realistic. If customers can have unlimited portions of some items, such as bread, then encourage them to ask rather than just giving them too much and having to throw most of it away.
Mixing expensive ingredients with cheaper ones provides a full plate at a lower cost. For example, combine one expensive vegetable with a variety of equally delicious cheaper ones. Meat is a costly ingredient. but cheaper cuts such as chicken thighs and beef brisket are often the most flavourful. Create dishes around these, and your customers will not even notice the cost savings.
You may wish to consider not automatically offering water to your customers, as it is better if they order alcoholic or soft drinks to go with their meals. If you make enough profit on drinks, then this creates less pressure to make a large profit on food.
When using these tips to decrease waste and get the best prices for your ingredients, you can create enticing dishes for your customers without production becoming too expensive.
Streamline your systems
PSL’s online systems save valuable time when it comes to pricing, budgeting, ordering, payments and reports – with everything accessible in one easy to use online portal. Find out more about Dashboards here.