How Restaurants Can Plan for a Future After COVID-19

Libby Peck More Posts
Libby Peck
4 weeks ago
How Restaurants Can Plan for a Future After COVID-19

If you have successfully been able to adapt your business to keep your doors open, or even were able to utilize small business assistance programs, it’s likely that you’ve already had your eye on coming out of the other side of the COVID-19 outbreak strong.

Whether you’ve been forced to close your doors or are keeping the kitchen open with take-out and delivery, now is a great time to take measures to optimize your standard operations and put your business in a position to succeed when the world returns to normal, or whatever the new normal might be.

Keep reading for tips from real xtraCHEF customers on how they are preparing for tomorrow today, as well as other ideas for optimizing your back of house processes before the world reopens.

employee of Mattengas Pizzeria

Get aggressive about food costs

Mattenga’s Pizzeria, a two-location concept located outside of San Antonio, Texas, knew that they needed to be laser-focused on two objectives during the COVID-19 outbreak: sustaining sales and “getting incredibly aggressive” about their food costs.

For a lot of restaurants, inventory is notoriously difficult to track. Inventory in the industry is subject to price fluctuations, spoilage, spills, and waste, and with the fast pace of any given day, reporting inaccuracies are often the norm.

However, solutions like xtraCHEF are designed with accuracy at top of mind. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, xtraCHEF applies correct inventory values and unit prices based on historical data from invoice uploads gathered from automated AP processes.

Mattenga’s Pizzeria now uses xtraCHEF to aggressively track and manage their food costs. With accurate data in their back pocket, the owners can dig into their food costs with simple dashboards that show them exactly where the bulk of their spending is going, helping them to make better purchase decisions to maintain profitability.

Take advantage of the rare commodity of time

Sidewall Pizza Company, a multi-unit operation out of South Carolina, is a group that seeks to find the silver lining in the face of adversity. Instead of focusing on the setbacks brought about by the public health crisis, they’re maintaining a positive outlook and taking advantage of a rare commodity for most restaurant operators: time.

The business has been using the time available to them to reevaluate their current processes and look for opportunities to optimize current locations, as well as prepare for future openings. Specifically, Sidewall is currently implementing xtraCHEF’s recipe management software to accurately cost out recipes and reconfigure their target profit margin for each menu item.

Recipe management can be a nightmare for restaurants because of how quickly and often data inputs change. xtraCHEF turns this nightmare into a dream. With values automatically updated based on most recent purchases, the software is able to report prime costs and margins in real time, making it easy to see where there’s opportunity for cost savings.

Until they’re back up and running at full capacity, Sidewall plans to manage all of their recipes through xtraCHEF to determine if they need to adjust their menu offerings or prices to maximize profits. Even better? Recipe management can be done from any of Sidewall’s locations or even the comfort of home thanks to xtraCHEF’s cloud-based platform. The recipes will be available at any time through any device with an internet connection.

photo of provisions at Tucker Silk Mill

Consider adapting short term solutions for good

Tucker Silk Mill, an Australian-inspired all-day cafe located in Easton, Pennsylvania, found early success during the outbreak by making a pivot to sell provisions to supplement their takeout menu. By offering items like eggs that their customers couldn’t find at local big box stores, Tucker Silk Mill fulfilled a need for their community.

As a result of the successful pivot, the owners of Tucker Silk Mill are already planning to reduce the number of seats in their cafe to make room for more grocery items. This is a smart move: by reducing seating, Tucker is better prepared for extensive social distancing measures that may be required in order for them to reopen for regular business, and that extra room will be utilized to stock more of the provisions that have been so wildly popular.

If something has worked for your business during the coronavirus outbreak, see what happens if you continue offering that in tandem with your usual operations. The world won’t go back to normal overnight, so don’t feel obligated to move full steam ahead with business as usual—both you and your customers will need time to reorient.

Plan for the future with xtraCHEF

If you’re still struggling to see how you can optimize your restaurant now for future success, fear not. xtraCHEF is committed to empowering the industry with the data they need in order to make smart operational decisions.

We got our start by providing AP management automation for restaurants who were struggling with paper problems. With our invoice capture system, restaurants are able to reduce the amount of labor used for time-consuming data entry tasks as well as the inaccuracies associated with that manual entry, painting a much clearer picture of their businesses’ success.

Recently, we introduced a new product called xtraCASH. By partnering with one of the largest Group Purchasing Organizations in the world, xtraCASH connects restaurant operators to manufacturer rebates that were previously out of reach. Participation in the program is totally free — all restaurants need to do is opt in and scan invoices to earn up to 1% cash back on food and disposable purchases. With xtraCASH, we’re making it easier than ever for restaurant operators to find extra savings at a time when every dollar counts.

Request a demo with us today to see how else our software can save you money, both today and in a post-coronavirus world.

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