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Restaurant Management: How to Survive the Low Season – Part 1

Usually, each restaurant has different ways of selling its food, facing different consumer’s behaviors. Have you ever considered that there must be a way, a technique, in managing your restaurant to always make a profit despite of the changing of seasons, which usually decreases the sales?

Any restaurant that has to face the changes of seasons, especially the one in tourist attractions, tends to have its high and low season. Restaurants that have been opened for a long time might already know its cycle well. However, newly opened restaurants might have no idea how cruel the changing of the seasons can be, and what influences it can have on the restaurant itself, or even how to handle with it. In this blog, we’re giving some easy-to-understand and useful tips about how to manage your restaurants in the times when sales decreased.

If your restaurant is located in a tourist destination city, I’m sure you’re fully aware that in the high season, you will be able to make high profits no matter what. On the other hand, when the holiday season ends, the number of customers could go down as much as half what you used to have. Besides, there are still going to be expenses and bills to pay, mainly, it’s your crew’s wages. The thing is, you can’t stop hiring them, can you? Let’s see how we can divide the proportions of the crew’s monthly salary and the ingredient costs, or food costs.

The key of managing a restaurant to always earn profits is your dishes. What you have to do is balancing the prime cost effectively.

High season > High sales

  • 50% prime cost = ingredient cost + labor cost
  • 30% = ingredient cost
  • 20% = labor cost

Low season > Low sales

  • 50% prime cost = ingredient cost + labor cost
  • 25% = ingredient cost
  • 25% = labor cost

This way, you can adjust the dishes shown on your menu, by creating a new dish, or putting special dishes up to promote them to your customers. Let me make this clear, the decreasing of ingredient cost’s percentage here doesn’t mean that you lower the quality of the ingredients. You shouldn’t ever lower the ingredient quality.

You can reduce the ingredient cost by:

  1. Reducing the short-lived food inventory, such as seafood

  2. Using ingredients that are easy to find in the locals, but using a sophisticated or complex cookery method. In the low season, you’re not going to be very busy anyway. You’ll have more time for your cuisine.

  3. Creating special dishes limited for the low season only, and promoting those dishes by putting them in the recommended list on the menu.

By looking at the said examples, you’ll see that you can effectively manage your restaurant in the low season by lower the cost of the ingredients up to 5%, which will decrease the proportion of the monthly ingredient cost. Also, it’s a good thing that your restaurant will have a seasonal menu. You can certainly adapt this technique and use it with your restaurant if you sell a various kinds of dishes, or if your restaurant is the fine dining type. Although, it might not be even possible at all if you sell limited or only one type of food.

Read more about making a profit “How to Generate Most Income for End-Of-Year Period”

Click here to read more about “Prime Cost

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