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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Stay Focused

If you find your company distracted by minor issues, try to restore a focus. Focus on profitable activities, customers, menu items and the key ingredients used in their production. Distractions abound. It’s easy to get lost discussing certain items with no conclusion.

The top distractions I see all the time include employee meals, food used at the bar, wine and liquor used in the kitchen and management comps. While these issues should be discussed, they shouldn’t be the center of attention.

A common consensus figure for employee meals seems to average $3.00 per shift. If you let your employees consume more, you’re above par.

The cost of lemons, limes, Tabasco sauce, olives and cocktail onions often account for a fraction of a percent. Vodka, sherry, red and white wine tend to offset a good part of the expense. It’s a good idea to track these items. It’s a mistake to completely ignore these items. Put the issue in perspective.

Any food and beverage comps should be treated as a method of payment. Give the chef credit for the total “sold” and budget a specific number for promotions each month. Make sure there is a specific purpose for each comp.

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