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Doing More With Less

Published: November 2020

Small Spaces, Small Menus Do More With Less 

Want to know the secret to running an effortlessly efficient restaurant while cutting costs AND satisfying guests with every visit, all during an incredibly difficult time for the foodservice industry?  

Though there’s no magic solution to all of these problems, there are ways to create more with less, as many operators are doing these days. From scaling back your menu, to maximizing a scaled-back space, “thinking small” can help you make up for lost revenues and focus on what’s most important to your business. 

 

Optimize Your Offerings 

Reducing the number of items on your menu or limiting it to offer only your best-selling items is a no-brainer when it comes to reducing costs. Fewer ingredients and food waste, fewer employees and less specialized equipment all add up to almost instant savings for your restaurant. Efficiency is also improved as staff focuses on a simpler array of offerings.  

If you do decide to revise your menu (and many restaurants have had no choice due to the pandemic) it’s also a good idea to reassess your stock of dinnerware so you can be more mindful of inventory control. 

A component that is only used for a single dish is a waste of money and storage space. Think about how dishes can be used for multiple entrees, and how the dishes you already have can be repurposed throughout the day.  

Using coupe-style plates or using bowls for more than just soups and salads, for example, has been a trend on the rise for several years. Small platters and trays can replace multiple pieces that only hold one menu item.  

Specialized glassware is a beautiful touch, but unless you are a high-end restaurant, a single type of glassware  such as versatile stemless wine glasses – can easily be repurposed for water, wine, cocktails, soda and spirits. Creative use of your glassware and dinnerware items (like using a martini glass for desserts) can mean the difference between those itemsbeing an expense or an investment. 

Optimize Your Space 

Of course, smaller menus and smaller kitchens go hand in hand when it comes to efficiency and cost. Whether you’ve always been working in cramped quarters or pandemic-related restrictions have left you with less room to move, finding space-saving solutions is another way to make things run more smoothly in the kitchen. 

Start by optimizing your equipment. This should be easy if you’ve recently slimmed down your menuDecide which appliances and stations you actually needsell or donate what you don’t and consider smaller sizes wherever you can to salvage floor space. 

If you’ve reconfigured and STILL need more space, the only way to go is up! Maximize storage space by thinking vertically with shelving as well as stackable glassware and dinnerware. But before you buy, remember that not all glassware and dinnerware was meant to be stacked, and improper use can actually cost you more in breakage. 

Today’s innovative designs marry form and function for beautiful pieces that minimize storage impact behind the bar or in the kitchen. Low-profile dinnerware is another option that allows you to stack up to 30 percent more in the same space as standard profile patterns.  

 

With fewer customers dining in than ever before, the focus will be less on the dining room experience and more on the overall efficiency of the restaurant. By making these “small” changes now, you’ll be far better poised for success in the future. 

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