When You Need to Do More than Keep Within the Budget

 In 3. Linda Peters-Getchell, Operations, The Numbers

Authored by Linda Peters-Getchell

One dollar times 30, times your number of employees (say 30) equals $900. Now let’s multiply that monthly amount times 12 months and what do we get? Before you get out the calculator I’ll tell you: $10,800 over one year. Not bad for a dollar a day savings, now is it? You’d take it, wouldn’t you?

When times are tougher than usual, or you have exceeded the allotted budget, what can you do?

One idea that worked quite well for me when I needed to pull some funds out of the hat was asking my employees for help.

No, I didn’t take up a collection. I had a contest. I asked each employee to come up with a very doable way to save $1 per day. We posted all the suggestions on the employee bulletin board and we implemented as many as were actually doable, which was the majority of them. We gave prizes to the top three who offered suggestions that saved more than a dollar a day.

We utilized our pre-shift to show costs of items such as silverware, glassware, paper napkins, linen napkins, etc., and show that they were the same as cash. Broken glasses were cash in the trash. Forks slipping off the plate into the garbage were cash in the trash.

How many times have you seen a server grab a pile of paper napkins to wipe up a spill instead of a wipe cloth? Takeout and fast food give cash away every day. Have you driven through a drive thru and asked for say, ketchup, and when you got home you found you had 12 ketchup packets for your French fries? Just this past week I went through a drive-thru and asked for an extra napkin. Without any exaggeration, I was handed a stack of napkins that had to be one inch thick.

Those 12 ketchup packets and my stack of napkins were cash in the trash. Multiply their cost per day over a month and then a year it amounts to a sum that would be better included in your profits rather than your losses, wouldn’t you agree?

As my employees became more aware of ways they were giving cash away and ways to save, it was amazing the ideas they came up with that worked. By the way, at the time we had about 125 employees, that amounted to roughly $45,000 for a year.

Give it a try. Your employees just might save you some hard cold cash!

How much do you think they can save your restaurant?

Linda Peters-Getchell has 20 years in restaurant management and food and beverage customer service. She has owned her own restaurant and catering service, developed unique training programs and won two Key Player Awards for her customer service programs at Showboat Casino Hotel. She is currently a powerful creative force for restaurant expert David Scott Peters and his company, Smile Button Enterprises, serving as Fairy Godmother.

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