How can forecasting covers in your restaurant save you food cost?

forecasting covers

This post is part of the series on 31 days to better Food Cost in your Restaurant.

In this series, we will deep dive into the steps to ensure that we save food cost in your restaurant and improve profitability.

So you may be thinking, what has forecast got to do with your food cost. The answer is that it helps with planning your operation.

What is Forecasting Covers ?

Before we begin the actual process of forecasting let us look at what is forecasting and how it is beneficial to us.

Forecasting is the method of predicting future business behavior based on past data.

If you have worked in the restaurant for some time, you will know that certain days and certain time frames are busier than the others. If you have ever used that information or gut feel to predict the future, you have used forecasting.

However in the above example, you went by your gut feel.

When forecasting you will look at the hard data from your restaurant point of sales systems and make an educated guess.

A good restaurant POS will be able to help you get information such as sales by day of the week, sales by hour of the day in a report format and you should be able to use it in your operations.

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How does Forecast help your restaurant business?

Forecasting helps you to predict your business volumes . It will help you to prepare for the rush.

You can either order more ingredients or arrange casual labor to meet the needs for the volume.

If you have a holiday coming up, you can prepare appropriately and ensure that you do not over produce food leading to wastage or under produce leading to loss of business.

How to forecast your business volume?

Monthly forecast meeting

When forecasting business, start from a month out and work your way in. Plan for a monthly meeting with your chef and front of the house manager.

The monthly forecast meeting is a critical planning meeting that will help your restaurant look at key business metrics and plan operations.

In this meeting look at

  • Any festivals in the month that can impact business
  • Any special days that can impact business
  • Any food festivals or promotions being planned that can have an impact
  • Any long week ends that can impact business
  • Any bulk advance booking that may impact business
  • Any food promotions planned by deliver partners or online marketing companies

Based on this calculate your forecast for the revenue for the month

Use the revenue number to plan your monthly food cost target and labour cost target.

Fortnightly meeting

In this meeting, make sure you and managers and supervisors participate to discuss short term goals and action plans.

Involve the supervisors or senior team members as they can give critical information from the shop floor

Use this meeting to look at operational details:

  • Any issues in the past week and how to avoid a repeat of the same.
  • Pricing correction if required due to change in market pricing or competitor price action
  • Effectiveness of social media plan and next fortnight promotion plan
  • Any special training requirement for the team members
  • Any unusually high or low demand dates

Daily meeting

This meeting should not take more than 20 minutes and done on the shop floor to discuss the next day business preparedness

Check to see

  • Accuracy of yesterdays forecast.
  • Reservation for the next day.
  • Any bulk tables reservations
  • Menu change if required as per the market list availability
  • Any special requests that you need to place order for
  • Yesterdays major events and wins
  • Targets and goals for the team that they should achieve

By doing these meetings, and forecasting the covers you will be able to take the first step to manage your food cost.

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