Food costs are typically viewed as the restaurant’s worst enemy, but there are many simple ways to flip this popular narrative. The higher your food costs are, the lower your profit will be. Watch out for the following five pitfalls to make food costs work in your favor and avoid the items killing your food budget:

Untracked prices

More often than not, food prices change in the blink of an eye.

Make sure your profit margins track as you’ve planned, by knowing what your food costs should be and keeping an eye on them for changes. Always ask your suppliers if a staple item’s price has shifted. And if it has, make alterations to your menu to counterbalance that price increase. For example, if the price of avocados goes up suddenly, take them off your menu and provide them on request only until the price goes back down. The right wholesale pos system or grocery store pos system can help you keep track of all your margins.

You can also make adjustments in your menu presentation to ensure ingredient flexibility. By keeping menu listings very basic (showing only the main features of a dish) instead of listing all the added ingredients, you’ll be able to opt-out default ingredients whenever required.

Manage perishables well

Be wary of over-ordering foods items that are extremely perishable and require to be used immediately. This includes veggies and meat like shellfish and fresh fish.

One way to avoid wasting perishables and still benefit from bigger-quantity price breaks is to plan to deep freeze a majority of your purchases. Buy these items pre-portioned in air-sealed and freezer-safe packaging to maximize their shelf life.

Optimize your POS menu

Program your POS to account for customer preferences and tailored orders. A well-programmed menu will help you decrease order ambiguity, and ultimately, reduce your food costs.

By taking a few minutes out to optimize the restaurant menu on your point of sales system, you’ll see major pay-offs for your inventory management. Make sure all the items on your menu have the correct modifiers attached to them. Organize all of these menu items in an easily sortable way which makes the most sense for everyone. Align them clearly with their respective buttons in the POS software.

Set your PARs properly

PAR stands for Periodic Automatic Replenishment. This serves as a cushion for your inventory management solution. By setting PAR levels accurately, you’ll never run out of any item (even with delays in deliveries or spikes in demand). You also won’t be stuck with the inventory items you can’t sell.

Avoid miscounted inventory

This may seem like a no-brainer, but miscounted inventory can seriously affect your food costs. Your food costs are the derivative of your inventory numbers. If your inventory is only a fraction off, it could equate to the loss of thousands and thousands of dollars. Pay special attention to your inventory and make it a priority.