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Spring Is Sprung

Spring is upon us and new shoots are just emerging thoughts turn to how we in industry are going to fare in the coming financial year. Has the wind of change swept through your business or is it business as usual? As we face unprecedented economic horizons any business that does not examine its financial standing will be risking more than just a talking to from their bank manager. Having a solid foundation of financial controls throughout your business will ensure the warning light comes on well before you are in crisis.

So how do we look after the pennies to make the pounds? Basic stock control procedures throughout your business is a must whether you are a single unit or part of a chain. Making sure you have a firm grip on what you have, where and when, as well as why.

Often, we don’t consider why we have some stock items, we just do. Perhaps looking a streamlining your menu, doing less better will save you money in reduced stock holding and will keep your standards high. Offering a seasonal menu will allow you to take advantage of locally sourced seasonal ingredients with known provenance, reduced food miles and add variety to your limited staple offer. Look at the existing menu, which dishes are stars - they are top sellers and make a high profit, which dishes are dogs that neither sell well or make a high profit. This could be down to seasonality, let’s face it a hearty stew and dumplings won’t ever sell well in the middle of July in a heatwave! This make sense when money is tight and staffing costs need to be controlled. Having staff that can deliver well costed and controlled items with consistency of presentation and portion control that are on trend and in season will ensure guests know what to expect and costs can be kept within margins.

There are on-line tools for calculating your G.P. as well as VAT, or as a business you may take up the services of companies that can assist you in your control processes. Whatever route you choose it needs to fit your business style and reporting processes. Therefore, seeking the advice and expertise of an external company may well in the long run save you time, money and effort as well as taking the stress off the dreaded “returns”.

Having a clear and accessible control process will also reduce the risk of fraud, theft and lax accounting and control within your business. If all transactions must be clearly accounted for within the system then the ability to “hide” stock movements is virtually removed. At all points of a products life cycle within the business it will be recorded, from the initial ordering into the business, during its transformation from basic ingredients to a dish, to consumption and payment from the guest.

The end of a financial year focusses the mind on waste reduction, product maximisation and business diversification. Looking at labour costs alone will not fix your financial issues. In isolation labour will be up there in your highest costs list, but with better control of your products, reducing waste in every area of your business and creating customer centred provision of service will enable the business to generate a higher rate of return on investment and therefore reduce costs.

Training, training, training is as important as location, location, location to any business and equipping staff with knowledge as well as skills can only serve to profit the bottom line. Getting the entire workforce to understand what your budget is for each department, training staff to cross sell as well as up sell, increasing product training to create product awareness and rewarding excellent attitudes to work will also increase revenue, this way next year will take care of itself (well almost!)

Professional membership organisations that can offer support, advice and assistance.





Suzanne Weekes has over 30 years of industry experience in teaching and training. She is able to relate to employees at all levels. Since 2017 she has been an independent consultant, offering practical business solutions, hands on training and advice to get the best out of people in the work place.