food business fundamentals

Business Bites Resources: 4 Keys to Purchasing & Operational Success

Early this February, business experts gathered for the latest installment of our Business Bites series on Strategies for Purchasing and Operations. During this discussion, industry veterans Tracy Wilson—General Management Consultant, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge & Central Park + ICC Food Business Fundamentals Instructor; Bradford Thompson—Owner, Bellyfull Consulting + ICC Food Business Fundamentals Instructor; Daniel Soloway—Founder & President, Kitchen Options; and James Murphy—Director of Operations, Procurement & Facilities, Union Square Events broke down the ways that they’ve found success in the numbers while operating restaurant establishments.

Whether you’re building a new menu with cost efficiency in mind or navigating the bid process for food, equipment and service vendors, our panelists stressed how having processes in place help business owners to manage these challenges and unforeseen costs. Below, check out their 4 tips for purchasing & operational success!

Panelists
Our Business Bites Panelists & Moderator

Train Your Employees Right

All of the panelists agreed—training your employees the right way, from the start, creates a culture of success that allows employees to thrive. But, that’s not the only reason. Better trained staff means proper equipment handling, less ingredient waste, efficiency on the clock, and so much more. Investing in training can seem like an upfront cost, but giving your team the tools and knowledge to succeed will help you save in the long run!

Cost and Build Your Menu Properly

When panelist Bradford Thompson builds and costs a menu, he looks at three key elements:

  1. Is the menu artistic? Does it taste great?
  2. What tools can you use to produce your menu and are you using technology to your advantage?
  3. How much does your menu cost to produce? How can you track food costs and ingredients? How many people does it take to create the menu?

By designing and costing a menu with these questions in mind, he is able to create a menu that is profitable, optimized for your operation, and doesn’t sacrifice the chef’s intentions!

Review Your Contracts

Before purchasing equipment for your restaurant or food business, or when equipment needs servicing, it is important to get quotes from different vendors. This way, you can make sure that you are receiving the best price and that your contracts are “equivalent.” Make sure to confirm that the quotes you receive from different vendors are offering the same services. One contract could appear less expensive, but in the long run could turn out to be more money for your business without the property warranties.

Organize Your Facilities

Organization is essential to the efficiency of a business. According to James Murphy—Director of Operations, Procurement & Facilities for Union Square Events, it’s the reason that Union Square Events can produce wholesale meals for Delta, create concessions for Citi Field, and even cater for venues, cafés and businesses. As their production has grown, it was vital to create a purchasing order system that worked in tandem with technology and their employees. By creating an efficient organizational system, employees are able to produce at a higher level and increase the bottom line.

ABOUT BUSINESS BITES

BUSINESS BITES, brought to you by the Food Business Fundamentals program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels, networking events and resources designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Ready to get started on the business plan for your restaurant, food truck, food product or other dream culinary concept? Maybe you’re looking to grow the family business or scale an existing restaurant? Register for ICC’s Food Business Fundamentals course, and you’ll have a solid business plan & pitch ready in just 6 weeks! Click here to learn more.