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7 Tips for restaurant operators to manage supply chain shortages

By :Helen Rose 0 comments
7 Tips for restaurant operators to manage supply chain shortages

Following are seven ways for business owners to keep customers happy and continue to operate their business amid this uncertain time. 

1. Restaurants - Streamline your menu

With their inventories in flux, many restaurants are offering smaller menus to simplify kitchen operations and better manage guest expectations. Are there dishes on your menu that require a long list of ingredients, or use items from certain suppliers that you haven't been able to count on lately? Do you offer seven sandwich options when most customers order the same three?

2. Make a Specials Menu Based on What you Have In Stock

Having a menu board with features and a streamlined menu enables you to adjust to changes in the supply chain.   

3.  Simplify Your Inventory

Offering multiple menu items with the same ingredients can maximize efficiencies with both inventory management and labor costs.

4. Overcommunicate to customers (FOR ALL NATURAL FOOD BUS.)

As much as you can, proactively communicate to customers when you know that certain menu items won't be available. Add a banner to your website, place signage in-store, and post on social media to let guests know about your current menu situation. Importantly, be sure to keep your dine-in and online menus (on your own website and your third-party delivery platforms) up-to-date so customers don't place orders for items that are no longer available.  Finally, ask your customers for their patience and let them know you're doing the best you can with limited staff and unpredictable supplies.

Unfortunately, not all customers will be understanding, so if someone leaves a negative review or social media post, respond as soon as possible to show other customers how you're on top of the situation.

5. Focus on profitability (FOR ALL NATURAL FOOD BUS.)

Now is a great time to conduct a menu engineering analysis to help you identify your most popular and profitable items. Understanding which dishes drive the most sales — and which are dragging down your profit margins — will help you make data-driven decisions about whether to raise menu prices based on supply chain shortages.

6. Supplier communication and diversify your suppliers

Develop strong communication with your suppliers to stay informed about possible supply issues and incoming back-in-stock items.  See if they have other products that you typically buy elsewhere to be aware of the products and resources available.  You can even try developing direct relationships with local farms — and then highlight those ingredients on your menu to reach eco-conscious customers.

7. Rely more on dry goods (FOR ALL NATURAL FOOD BUS.)

While chefs agree that fresh ingredients are ideal, take advantage of dry goods such that store longer.  This enables you to stock up when supplies are available and store if there are additional supply issues. 

Optimize your storage space and clean out those long-forgotten shelves to make room for more inventory when you can't rely on getting fresh produce and other perishable items delivered every day. 

In supply chain shortages, focus on what you can control

The best thing that you can do as a restaurant operator is to focus on what's under your control. That means creating a flexible menu that can easily scale up or down, brainstorming ingredient or dish substitutions in advance, and maintaining ongoing communication with your staff, suppliers, and customers. 

Do you need help optimizing your operations, launching a new business or product, or gaining more customers?

Natural Zing's owners now offer business coaching and consulting.  To schedule a free discover session click this calendar link to select a time that works for you.

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