Less food for thought

 In 4. Jenny Brooks, Operations

By Jenny Brooks

I’ve pointed out Nation’s Restaurant News’ Independent Thinking before, not only because they’re addressing the needs of the independent restaurant owner, but also because they interviewed David Scott Peters, your favorite restaurant expert, for some hot tips to control food costs. I just read another good item on the blog that reminded of the things that David teaches independent restaurant owners.

The blog post addresses portion sizes. I definitely recommend reading through it to see if the information can help you.

One of the tips David offers to his members and those who use his systems is to audit your garbage can. What’s in it or not in it can tell you a lot. It might not be your job to cut portion sizes to control the weight of your patrons, but if they’re throwing it in the garbage, it’s your job to cut portions to curb your own food costs. If they’re not eating it, chances are, they won’t miss it if you trim down those servings.

Since I’m the communicator on this blog, I do want to point out that it’s a great opportunity to open communication with your patrons and let them know about any changes in portion sizes and reasons for it. It’s a great opportunity to get feedback from them, gain their trust and loyalty, and make them aware of your business messages and values. Make it clear that the change in portion sizes is purely due to the fact that no one was eating it all anyway and waste is not good use of anyone’s resources. You can post a little message on your menu that tears off later, have your servers communicate it, address it at the register, whatever works for your format. Just make sure to address changes like that so that your patrons don’t think you’re pulling a fast one on them.

Jenny Brooks is a public relations professional providing expert and strategic tactics for businesses trying to increase awareness about themselves and their products. She is also the editor of SMART Systems Insider, a monthly newsletter from Restaurant Expert David Scott Peters. Questions about PR and how she can help your restaurant? Email her.

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