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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Faster Turns Can Help

If you ever dig deep into your restaurant's information mine, you'll locate plenty of valuable ore. Since most money is made and most opportunities are lost on busy days, it's always wise to focus on high volume days.

Take the day of the week with the highest sales (week in and week out). For this busy day, enter the date and sales figures for an entire year in a spreadsheet. Chart the information using the Line method. Locate the high and low sales figures and note the dates. Pay specific attention to holidays, seasons and special events in your area. Go a step further and calculate the average, median and standard deviation.

Most days will fall within one standard deviation (plus or minus) of the average. In fact, it is rare to find days which do not fall within two standard deviations of the mean. Most likely, you will find specific events which caused the high or low figures. You can even rework the numbers excluding those data points.

If you have a line out the door during peak hours on these busy days, you can turn the dining room faster through intelligent prep. Know your menu well. Prep the popular items ahead of time for the average sales level. Don't produce less. We're going for a faster turn which will increase your volume.

It is especially critical to have appetizers and desserts ready to go fast. A quick response to the initial order for starters and the final order for dessert have a major impact.

By increasing focus on your busiest night, you can get a higher sales number when the opportunity is greatest. Make sure patrons do not feel rushed and prevent a long wait time for the check. Your faster turns will produce greater sales. The best route to a better food cost percentage is a bigger sales figure.

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