Managing Your Budget: 15 Ways to Cut Restaurant Costs While Still Delivering a Stellar Customer Experience

Every business owner would want to reduce on the business expenses at the same time delivering quality services to their customers. And there’s no doubt this is what you’d want to achieve in your restaurant business too, right? While there are dozens of ways which you can implement to cut restaurant costs, it can be very challenging when you don’t know where to start. Perhaps a few tips are all you need. Please read on.

1.    Auction Idle Equipment

Are you having equipment that you’re no longer using in your restaurant? Maybe you upgraded to the latest technology or expanded your business. Whatever the reason, selling equipment you’re no longer using can be effective in reducing the costs on storage and maintenance of the equipment and at the same time keeping extra money flowing in the business. You can use the finance to enhance exceptional customer experience and to cater for other expenses. There are several platforms dealing with used commercial equipment auction that you can consider when selling equipment.

2.    Retain Some Staff as Part-Time Workers

Perhaps you can relate to having peak periods at your restaurant that require maximum staffing and periods where demand wanes and would only need a few of the workers. Retail businesses, more so restaurants, rely on the availability of part-time employees to ensure smooth operations in such peak periods. Ensure to have at least a third to one-half of the staff as part-time workers. These will help you avoid excessive overtime and can be helpful when some of the full-time employees are absent. Think of it as a way of ensuring comfortable yet affordable staffing.

3.    Inform Your Employees of Your Plans

Yes, you want to cut down on your expenses. But you can hardly achieve this goal if you’ll decide to do things by yourself. This can be best achieved if the whole team will participate to effect the changes. Therefore, ensure to share the facts with your team and explain to them in detail how to best implement each of them in order to achieve your goals. They need to be aware of the changes and how each will save the business. This will motivate them to work towards the goals by taking proactive steps like decreasing food wastes by all means possible and turning off unused equipment.

4.    Perform a Daily Inventory on Key Items

Perhaps there are top products that make up the bulk of the services offered at your restaurant each day. A daily inventory will enable you to track the usage of different products. You need to record the opening quantity for each product and include any purchases made during the day. At the end of every shift, ensure to also record the ending inventory to determine the usage. You’ll then compare this value with the point-of-sale report product usage report for each product. Should there be any cause for concern, ensure to investigate properly and apply a proper solution.

5.    Train Your Staff

Once you’ve identified different ways that you can use to minimize expenses and increase profits, you should train your employees about the same. Train them on the commercial themed ideas which can help reduce expenses and they’ll work to improve the customer services as much as possible. Let them know when to switch the lights on and off if you want to separate the recyclables, when to give water to customers, and when to throw something as a waste. For instance, if the natural light is sufficient to light up the room, there’s no need to turn the lights on until when necessary.

6.    Cross-Train Different Staff

In most restaurants, it’s very common to find a certain skilled employee being the only one who can perform a particular task. This means that if they’ll be unreliable in one way or another, the task can hardly be performed. Also, you’ll be forced to hire several different staff members to perform different jobs and you’ll have to spend a lot on them. However, you can cut on these costs by cross-training some of your employees to be able to perform multiple tasks. This will reduce the number of staff scheduled and lets you supplement the hours of each employee when they work where needed instead.

7.    Minimize Free Offerings

The main purpose of being in the restaurant business – and any other business – is to maximize profits. This means minimizing your expenses while providing quality services to your customers. Normally, you might think that by bringing water to your customers, you’ll be exercising good customer relations. However, you can first ask them if they’d be interested in beverages like wine or soda that would bring in sales. You can also reduce the number of chips or bread if your servers automatically bring chips or bread to the table.

8.    Maximize the Usage of Your Products

How do you normally handle your usable byproducts and trim in your restaurant? Do they go to the trash bin or they find a way somewhere else on the menu? Such products like sauces, garnishes, and soups can be prime candidates for inventive dishes that could become a source of money to be channeled towards paying for some expenses instead of disposing them of.

9.    Minimize the Deliveries

How often are your delivery windows? Is there a way that you can minimize this number? For you to cut on your costs at your restaurant, you need to streamline your delivery system. The delivery windows should be as minimum as possible – probably once or twice every week. This will help you save on the associated costs which you’d pay for in each delivery. If you can find one supplier to do all the supplies, you can use the chance to your advantage.

10. Buy Only What You Need

While bulk purchasing could mean enjoying discounts and related benefits, this could turn out to be the most expensive practice to take in a restaurant business. Want to know why? Well, over-purchasing could easily lead to over-portioning, more spoilage, and waste. Plus, you’ll be forced to spend a lot for the storage and proper maintenance of the products – which can include refrigeration services. And this could only mean more losses and expenses. To cut on the cost, ensure to only buy what you need for a particular period of time.

11. Trim Down Your Menu

It won’t be a surprise to find some products selling better than others, yet in the same restaurant. Your POS should help you track the sale of menu products to find out the worst sellers. You’ll then cut down your menu to remain with those that sell more so if the poor-selling food requires very expensive ingredients that can hardly be cross-utilized with other menu products. You can remove them completely or replace with a dish that’ll attract good sales.

12. Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

How much do you spend on electricity bills every month? Are you comfortable giving out this amount? Well, you need to consider your lighting system. Using energy-efficient light bulbs can be the most effective way you can cut down expenses in the name of energy bills. It’s a way of being eco-conscious. Plus, these light bulbs have been proven to last longer than the regular bulbs, with each saving you at least $22 a year.

13. Ensure to Always Run a Full Dishwasher

Often times, you might be running a half-empty dishwater a couple of times in a single day. Perhaps you may be thinking that this works to save time. On the contrary, you’ll be wasting soap, water, and energy. This adds to the expenses that cause a huge dent on your finance. This means that you’ll be able to save a good amount of money when you only run the dishwater machine when it’s full. You can then channel the money towards improving your services to enhance customer satisfaction.

14. Maximize on Washable Glassware

It costs more to use disposable utensils, cups, and tableware. You’ll be buying these items every now and then only to dispose of them soon after they’re used. On the other hand, one-time investment in washable glasses, plates, and silverware, you’ll not be stressed with budgeting for the disposable items every now and then. Rather, you’ll concentrate on the ways to improve customer services and in the process maximizing your sales. Glassware will also save you on the manpower expenses for stocking of the disposable replenishments.

15. Utilize Good Weather

How often do you switch on your air conditioners, and under what circumstances? Air conditioning can be costly and can be challenging especially when you’re on the budget. Therefore, ensure to always take advantage of good weather. If it allows, open the windows and reduce your air flow. You’ll only turn your AC on and high whenever necessary. You should ensure to choose the right thermostat that’ll be efficient to give you ideal temperature range to make everyone – staff and clients – comfortable and at the same time lowering your monthly expenditure on energy. The size of the space will determine the perfect temperatures in that space.


There is an astounding number of ways you can lose money in your restaurant business. Yet, again, there is an astounding number of ways you can save money in the same business. By now, you’re in a better position to stem losses hence cutting costs. These are some of the most effective ways you can use to cut costs and at the same time enhancing your customer experience regardless of the size of your restaurant. You can also look out for other relevant blogs to learn more about the restaurant business and different ways to save money. Good luck!