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[Rick Braa] Fundamental Routines

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Acclaimed restaurant consultant Rick Braa took the time to host a comprehensive webinar on financial strategies and tips to make use of during the coronavirus crisis. In part five, he went over the importance of sticking to your fundamental routines.  

Braa said that because of the pandemic, many have lost sight of some basic routines and now we have an opportunity to get back into them. This begins with ensuring you have timely, relevant and accurate data, from a point-of-sale system that gives you data on a daily and weekly period basis.  

“Make sure you get that data in your hand every day,” Braa said. 

Be aware of schedule changes, which happen every year in September. Though the exact timing of these changes can differ year to year, Braa said that you need to anticipate a sales drop in September, if for no other reason than the inclement weather. 

Make sure you use a daily checklist for your forecasting. 

Braa gave an example of forecasting with specific anticipated costs, based on scheduled sales for the whole week, divided by number of days open and based on a 30% food cost, divided evenly between food and beverage. This will help keep you from building up too much inventory. 

There may be times when you want to stockpile, Braa said, such as when a vendor says a shortage is coming. He stressed that you don’t want to get caught with products that are perishable.  

Before you run any shifts, Braa said, sit down with your schedule and cost it out. How much is your labor going to cost you every day? 

Keep the prime cost at 60% or less. If you’re at 65% then you’d better make sure the rest of your operating expenses are low and the rent is low. With the sales dipping, if rent is a percentage of sales, that’ll skyrocket.  

Do not let it seep into the 70% range at any cost. If you’re at that level, you’re going to lose money. Higher than that and you’ll really lose money.  

Review sales, expenses and the budget with your team each week. Make sure you’re doing periodic reviews. Make sure you’re still talking about financials with the team so that you can get great ideas from them. 

Have information on guest traffic, guest check average, efficiency opportunity information or all of the above.