Lighter silverware to make food seem heavier. Trimming the size of a 10 ounce filet to a mere 8 ounces. Adding more vegetables and subtracting protein portions. Using smaller plates to make portions seem larger. Substituting cheaper specie of fish for the one featured on the menu. Last but not least, changing the menu layout to direct diners to the more expensive items and steer them away from the cheaper items.
According to Good Morning America, the morning show that outed a few of the tricks that restaurant owners- or their managers- are using to make their numbers and stay afloat, one eatery is even promoting a flavored butter tasting and charging two-buck a spread for the herb infused dairy product.
Are we really stooping to these levels as an industry in order to keep the doors open? If we are, we need to take a closer look at what is happening to the industry. As a whole, I would imagine that most of us are just struggling a bit more to keep the ink on the balance sheet a pleasing color.
However, there have been tricksters in the business since the first campfire was lit and the caveman told his dinner guests that the rabbit was really chicken.
But lighter silverware- I always thought that the reason for the lightweight stuff was that it was cheaper to replace when the waiters decided to scrape everything off the plate on the way to the dish station.
It may be time to really look deeper into our culinary souls for a moment. I understand the illusion of a smaller plate, more vegetables, or a lighter serving of Angus. However, dishonesty in food is really crossing the line and just postponing the inevitable- that eventually your doors will close anyway.
Now that GMA has put the scams- without the names of the restaurants, unfortunately, you can bet that the local culinistas will be on the prowl, as they should be for catfish replacing grouper, smaller steak cuts and other tricks that chefs can think of will be creating.
Let’s look at some professional steps to take in order to trim costs and make profits seem reachable.
1). Keep your staff to a minimum on slow nights. Do not be afraid to cut staff – you’ll save a lot of money.
2). Make sure your food costs correlate with portions. Nothing hurts a restaurant’s revenue more than a heavy serving hand in the kitchen.
3). Due to the grain shortages, and deliver charges, the cost of bread has skyrocketed. Do not overfill the basket and make sure that you use the unused bread that never gets served. Make breadcrumbs, pudding, or croutons.
4). Linen costs are a secret profit enemy. Although everyone loves the feel of a linen napkin on heir lips at lunch possibly substitute a heavy paper napkin. Think about butcher paper covers on our table clothes. It cuts the linen bill down considerably.
5). Aprons and chef’s coats are another cost that spiral out of control. If you do not use you own aprons- assigning one or two to the staff and having them maintain them- consider it. I have watched staff go through two or even three aprons a night while I was paying for it.
6). Portions are something that may restaurants have let grow out of control. Stress quality in preparation and product rather than portion. Now that summer is here feature salads and other items that appear larger than they actually are.
7). Chilled soups are a great way to use product that may not otherwise reach the lips of customers. Plus, they are easy to make and are appealing on hot summer days.
8). Delivery surcharges. Every vendor is using this charge if they can. Make sure they are not charging you each time they delivery. If they are charging every account a delivery surcharge, everyday, they are making a fortune on the tragedy called gas prices.
9). Place some lower prices products on the menu. I know of a restaurateur who recently placed a half chicken on his steak house menu and he is not only selling a lot of the dinner items, he is making a larger percentage profit because of the cost of chicken.
10). Stay loyal o your customers and they will stay loyal to you. Don’t do anything to your menu that would prohibit you fro eating in your restaurant. If it’s Grouper on the menu, make sure it’s Grouper o the late. Catfish is Catfish s Catfish, but don’t bait your customers. It will only come back to bite you.