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November 15, 2022
The Board: October
Look who rolled up this month with a shiny new look! (It’s us, we did.)
Welcome to our brand new newsletter giving you not only the numbers you've come to know and love, but also a lot of valuable industry insights and data (because who doesn't love a glow up?).
The Board is meant to assemble relevant, timely and important insights into a central spot — much like the white board you probably have in your kitchen. Same goal, same name.
We’re firm believers in keeping communication open with our community (because what’s the point of having a newsletter if no one reads it!), so please reply and let me know what you’d like to see each month. I promise, I really do read all my emails!
- Tracy & the MarginEdge team
October National Restaurant Sales & Price Movers
Surprising to no one, summer's end was marked with a spike in fresh produce costs. Food and beverage costs were slightly up from the end of last quarter, with the food category reaching 35% of sales and liquor at 16%.
Sales broken down by segment show Full Service at 11% higher than October 2021, and Fast Casual at 8%. Overall, national restaurants ended the month at 10% higher sales than last year.
We See You, Potato
Never thought the humble spud would make news, did you? Prices recently spiked so much they made headlines in local newspapers and NPR. Luckily they took a nosedive and are back to more normal levels in time for Thanksgiving.
Order Inflation Up
We know you might not have time to dive into Thursday’s data from the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Prices are going up (and you may be hesitant to raise menu prices). It’s interesting to see the imbalance between grocery price increases (12.4%) and restaurant menu prices (8.6%). This is one of the largest gaps between the two since the 1950s. The media jumped on this statistic and a few even proclaimed it was cheaper to eat out. Not sure our industry agrees, but driving more foot traffic isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Menu analysis is far from simple and even further from easily done. Many restaurants don’t have the extra time it takes to drill down into the numbers. Our fourth quarter focus conveniently features recipe costing and menu analysis to help you find the sweet spot.
ASK [me] ANYTHING
Do you have any tips to reduce food waste?
Take a good look around to see if you have anything considered too good to waste. What may be fresh and tasty but fall into the not-so-attractive category? At Wasabi (a sushi joint), Alex the GM was frustrated by the small cuts of fish that were being thrown away because they were not “pretty” enough for the sushi - despite being just as fresh. Thinking outside the roll, Alex tried something new. By mixing up the scraps, adding spicy sauce and serving in a bowl as spicy sashimi, a whole new menu item was born. Cutting the fish formerly known as waste into bite-size pieces and mixing them in a sauce meant visible imperfections disappeared and food waste was reduced.
Guess what else disappeared? More than a full point off food costs.
In a typical $15,000 day this place ran a 25% food cost, $3,750. But the food cost on spicy sashimi was essentially zero because the fish was headed to the trash. It’s now one of the most popular dishes and easily sells $500 - $1,000 per day. $16,000 divided by that same $3,750 in food costs is … 23.4%, 1.6% straight to the bottom line.
Ask [me] anything!
Really. Each month we’ll take a look at the questions we get and answer one here. Have a question about our product, accounting or restaurant operations in general? Email me or message us on our social media channels.
Chef Geoff's, Washington, DC
'TIS THE SEASON
The holiday season is only a couple weeks away, are you ready? For the restaurant industry, it can be challenging with some pretty big swings, both high and low. You've got more guests (and ideally profits) and also those things out of your control like unpredictable foot traffic, staff calling out sick or depending on your location, weather.
Thankfully, you still have time to strategize for the holiday season so your restaurant runs smoothly, and your guests and employees are happy, all while boosting profits. Here’s a 9-step checklist to help you get your restaurant ready for a financially rewarding holiday season.
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