Fall is upon us and, as we make our way through the late stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, many foodservice businesses are starting to consider how to increase profit margins before heading into an uncertain winter season. It all starts with reducing expenses wherever possible and taking advantage of all that autumn has to offer.
Keep these tips close as you look ahead to the closing months of 2021, so you can maximize your profits and foster a sustainable foundation for your business.
Skip the experimentation.
While it’s always fun to add new dishes to the mix, experimenting with flavors and ingredients usually doesn’t come cheap. Instead, jot down those innovative ideas and save them for next year. This fall, focus on your crowd favorites that are known to be cost-effective. Since your team has plenty of experience whipping up these dishes, you already have a good idea of the associated costs and you may know how to trim down expenses even more.
Now, that doesn’t mean your menus need to be boring and stuffy. A few simple ingredient swaps can offer your clients a larger selection to choose from, while adding in some seasonal touches to spice up the menu. For example, a simple substitution of blueberries with cranberries can turn a summer salad into a fall delicacy without taking on additional costs.
Cut down on your menu options.
The more dishes you offer, the more ingredients you have to purchase—and the greater chance of food waste. When you curate a smaller menu collection, you can effectively keep clients happy while streamlining the food buying and preparation processes. Plan your client menus together so you can purchase ingredients in bulk and batch cook, saving you valuable time and money.
As temperatures dip, batch cooking becomes an easy solution as rich, hearty meals like stews and chilis do well prepared in advance. You could make a week’s worth of food at once, saving only smaller fresh plates—like salads, desserts, and sauces—for the event day itself.
Keep your selections seasonal.
Embracing the flavors of the season isn’t just a good match for guests’ palates—it’s also a great way to save on hefty transportation and storage fees for out-of-season ingredients. Since you can typically source seasonal ingredients locally, you may also be able to take advantage of cost savings by establishing relationships with local farms and butchers.
One pro tip: There’s no need to get too specific about ingredients on your menus. Instead of listing a selection of vegetables used in a dish, simply note it as “seasonal vegetables.” That way, you can feel free to mix up the ingredients based on local availability—and you don’t have to worry about a client being upset that their meal is missing beets or chicory.
Transitioning to a fall menu doesn’t have to feel like a major overhaul in your company—especially as you navigate uncertain times. Keep your procedures simple and streamlined so you can maintain your profit margins through the rest of the year.