We can all agree: Restaurant ordering is a hassle.
You place orders once or twice a week, or maybe even multiple times a day.
No matter how often it’s done, ordering is a massive chunk of any restaurant owner’s life.
And if you’re constantly knee-deep in messy spreadsheets, you could be getting taken advantage of over and over again.
That’s why you always need to be aware of the little things.
Not paying attention to your restaurant orders can cost you and your business more money than it needs to.
It can put your restaurant on the fast track to lost profits and – worst case scenario – shut doors.
But, re-stocking your kitchen the right way doesn’t have to be rocket science.
By simply paying attention, you can save thousands of dollars each time you make that phone call to your supplier.
That’s why we’ve compiled 5 ways you can start paying better attention to your restaurant orders.
If you follow these methods, you’ll find yourself ordering smarter.
And you’ll put more cash in your pocket.
1 — Avoid Over- or Under-Ordering at All Costs
Owning a restaurant is beyond time-consuming.
You’re being pulled in a dozen different directions at all times.
So, every week when you go to place your restaurant’s order for ground beef, it’s easy to just purchase the same amount as last week.
Time saved! Headaches dodged! Free time incoming!
That method is costing your business fistfuls of cash.
What if you used less ground beef this week? Tacos just haven’t been on peoples minds for some reason.
Now, you’re stuck with some leftover beef. And it’s going to go bad.
And that means wasted cash.
Or what if there’s a big game in town? If you’re not modifying your order, you won’t have nearly enough ground beef for all the fans coming through your doors.
Chances are, they won’t be too happy when they find out you ran out of your famous tacos.
Simply paying attention can make an enormous difference.
Is the lack of taco sales a one-week fluke, or is it a trend?
Is the big game going to turn into weeks of playoffs that constantly pack the house?
When you’re aware of how much is selling – and how much is left in your stockroom – you can adjust your orders accordingly.
2 — Make Sure the Price is Always Right
When you’re ordering hundreds of items each week, it can be difficult to pay attention to exactly what you’re spending on each one.
And, to be honest, it’s likely you’re overpaying on most of them.
Maybe you’ve been slowly paying more and more each week. We call that price creep.
Or perhaps you’re paying more than what the restaurant next door is paying.
You could even be paying different amounts for the same ingredient at two of your restaurants.
Whatever issue you’re running into, it’s costing you money.
Restaurant ordering is complex to begin with, which only adds to the challenge.
Different vendors negotiate prices differently. Some go line by line, others do it in bulk.
So, you have to stay organized at all times. That way, it’s always easy to see exactly what you paid for the same items in the past.
The absolute last thing you want is higher prices sneaking up on you.
If that sounds like a lot of work to add to your schedule, maybe it’s worth investing in restaurant tech that can do it for you.
Just, whatever you do, don’t keep ignoring it.
3 — Save Cash When you Order Against Your Budget
For any restaurant to thrive, a detailed weekly budget is an absolute must.
Why? It’ll help guide the way you order.
It gives you a target to stay within, so you can modify your orders to stay within your goals.
It means you’ll spend smart, not recklessly. And you’ll save money by never ordering more than you need.
No more blind orders where you just hope for the best… That just won’t cut it in this industry.
Because, like we said before, non-used, over-price ingredients that you toss in the trash will only spell doom for your restaurant’s profits.
When you’re ordering against a budget, you’re simply making smarter purchasing decisions.
You’re not going to buy that new cut of meat your supplier is trying to convince you is “better” if it doesn’t make sense for your business.
With a proper budget in hand, you’ll know with certainty if you can actually afford it.
4 — Hold Supplier Reviews
As we’ve pointed out, you shouldn’t blindly trust your suppliers.
You might have incredible relationships with them.
But, to be blunt, you could be getting taken advantage of.
It’s not necessarily done on purpose. But if you’re not paying attention, who are they to stop you?
Never go into a supplier meeting empty-handed (though we bet that’s what you’re doing now).
Be prepared and do your homework. Ask yourself the right questions:
- What’re the average market prices for the ingredients you need?
- What did you pay last time?
- How much will your budget allow you to pay this week?
By knowing your recent purchases and keeping detailed spreadsheets, you’ll have more productive chats with your suppliers – and you’ll be able to negotiate the prices you deserve.
And you’ll reap the boosted profits that come with them.
This will take some preparation time.
But we can guarantee you: It’s worth it.
5 — Adopt Restaurant Tech for a Much-Needed Edge
Everything presented so far will require some extra work, which most restaurant owners like yourself most likely do not have time for
But it doesn’t have to take that much of your attention.
This is the 21st century. Restaurant tech has come a long way.
In fact, these days the right software can do nearly all the heavy lifting for you.
Some tech is focused on building and tracking your budget, while other software is designed specifically to help you compare your ingredient prices with local and national averages.
The best ones? They’ll do it all for you.
It’s important to ensure the software you’re investing in works for your restaurant.
Do your research. Weigh your options. What works for your neighbors may not work for you.
But was does work can change the course of your restaurant forever.
Conclusion: Order Smarter, Save More Money
The steps you take when ordering for your restaurant can make a world of difference to your bottom line.
To ensure you’re making a proper order, it’s important to:
- Watch your stock
- Build a budget
- Monitor your prices
- Have productive conversations with your suppliers
But, that’s a lot to manage. It’s time-consuming, and it’s tedious.
That’s where Orderly can help.
It’ll add thousands of dollars to your bottom line, and save you hundreds of hours in lost sleep.
With the new Prepare an Order Tool, you can see your most recent prices before picking up the phone.
Plus, once you decide what you need to order, you can ensure that it fits right in with your budget, which Orderly can also help you build.
You can compare your prices to local and national prices using Orderly’s Restaurant Food Index, and then prepare yourself to have the right conversations with your vendors when you use the Supplier Review.
In this day and age, restaurant ordering doesn’t have to be an agonizing experience.
In fact, with Orderly, it’s never been easier.