It is no secret to New Jersey restaurant owners and customers alike that inflation significantly impacts the dining industry. With raw goods prices increasing exponentially, restaurateurs have little choice but to raise menu prices, even knowing it may cost them business and create hardship for their loyal customers. While the reality of the situation is harsh, there are some steps restaurant owners can take to soften the impact of this economy on their restaurants and customers.
Cutting Costs to Fight Inflation
Start at the heart of your restaurant—the food. First, look at your menu and determine whether some items are not profitable for you. Sometimes these dishes are not the most popular with customers anyway and will not be missed if removed from the menu. But what about those beloved items whose ingredients break the bank? Consider making these dishes a once-weekly or once-monthly special so you are not regularly procuring those high-cost ingredients. When determining a dish's profitability, include both ingredient costs and the time involved in preparing it as you complete your analysis.
The Cost of Ingredients
When it comes to ingredient costs, leave no stone unturned. Now is the time to reevaluate your vendors to see if more competitive prices are available. Another way to limit ingredient costs is to creatively substitute lower-cost items in ways that enhance a dish's flavor and allure. And, of course, anything you can do to limit food waste will limit the impact of inflated ingredient costs. Ensure your inventory management system is working effectively, and think expansively about nontraditional ways to repurpose ingredients close to expiration through specials and other promotions.
Staffing & Hours
Of course, ingredient costs are not the only place your restaurant is feeling the sting of inflation. Staffing may be even more vexing right now. Not only has wage inflation created stiff competition in hiring chefs, servers, and other personnel, but more and more people are leaving the restaurant industry in favor of work-from-home opportunities. Sometimes, it may make sense to limit your hours and seating to only those most profitable for your business. Fewer hours and reduced capacity mean lower staffing costs. Just be careful not to sacrifice customer service and quality in the pursuit of reduced operating expenses. With increased prices, a less-than-satisfactory experience is more likely than ever to drive customers away, often for good.
Stay Up-To-Date On NJ Business Law
In this economy, restaurant owners need to be able to focus every ounce of their time and energy on their dining establishment. Leave any legal needs to a partner you can trust. The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC is well-versed in the restaurant industry's legal and regulatory issues. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your operation in these trying times.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
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