24 April 2017

Every month we take a look at five ways in which you can address issues and respond to changes in the sector to remain profitable by optimizing your menu and kitchen.  Our observations and recommendations are based on our experience of consumer trends and preferences, industry developments and the introduction of new technologies and equipment to help boost your bottom line.

1. Incorporating Clean Ingredients

More and more restaurants are positioning their ingredients as “natural” “free-from” or “clean” ingredients. Nation’s Restaurant News highlights a number of chains that are actively marketing clean ingredients such as Boston Market, Wendy’s, Burger King, Luna Grill, MOD Pizza, Chipotle, Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s, Panera Bread.  https://goo.gl/uUFEkc

DSL NorthWest Inc Observations:  Conduct a menu audit to analyze if there are opportunities to “clean up” your ingredients and menu items to meet this growing demand; they may be the same price and will meet the expectations and demands of your customer demographic. Some ingredients such as seasonal or locally sourced are often in plentiful supply and can be served as specials or as part of a separate chef’s menu.  Consider drafting in fresh eyes such as the DSL NorthWest team to help you conduct a menu audit and identify where a change in ingredients could drive profitability.


2. Fast Casual Makes its Dinner Push

Fast casual chains are going after the evening daypart with an arsenal of plated meals, craft beverages, and linger-worthy ambiance.  They are creating more imaginative dishes that work for a population on the move, and as this sector is still evolving and expanding, there is a huge opportunity for operators who are able to meet the challenge. https://goo.gl/e9gMvb

DSL NorthWest Inc Observations:

Creating menu offerings that go beyond the traditional daytime dishes outside of the business day requires thought and a thorough analysis of your customers and their needs.  We know that the millennial generation is looking for healthier, quality on-trend options with speed and convenience built into the menu.  In addition, kitchen and front-of-house efficiencies must be considered.  Talk to DSL NorthWest Inc about designing a menu that optimizes profit opportunities while improving operationail efficienices. This might include incorporating new technology-advanced equipment such as the 2-sided cooking systems from The Taylor Grill line that feature microprocessor controls able to be programmed for simplified cookline operation, reduced cooking times and improved quality end products. Broaster Pressure Fryers that use less oil, reduce ticket times and lower product waste while sealing in the natural juices to deliver tastier foods. Combination cooking systems that use convection and steam such as the LAINOX Combi Ovens that can utilize tablet like interfaces, pre-programmed cooking modes and HACCP controls.


3. Mobile; The New Secret Weapon

Around 80% of the US population use mobile devices to make everyday tasks easier. This includes dining out and the statistics reveal the popularity of mobile and apps:

– 63% of diners have at least one quick-service app on their phones.

– 73% of diners have used mobile within quick serves.

– 35% use mobile every time they visit a quick-service restaurant (or at least regularly).

There are strong results to prove that restaurant brands are embracing the opportunity rapidly such as Yum! Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut, announced in 2016 Q1 earnings that mobile ordering comprised nearly half of its total U.S. delivery and carryout sales. According to Business Insider, Taco Bell also saw a 30 percent higher average order via mobile than orders taken in-store, and Starbucks’ Mobile Order & Pay, which launched in late 2014 as a pilot, already accounts for 10 percent of total transactions at the stores that offer it.  Information featured in QSR Magazine https://goo.gl/iE04v6

DSL NorthWest Inc Observations:

Online interaction with the customer is more than just ordering.  It’s about brand engagement, building loyalty and reward, and some restaurant chains are already linking their online ordering with other social media channels to drive further engagement.  Where mobile ordering isn’t available, restaurants are partnering with groups such as Uber Eats or Yelp to fill that gap.  It is clear is that there are opportunities for all sizes and types operators to embrace online to their advantage.  Rejecting online engagement with customers, or considering it the domain of third parties such as Uber Eats or Yelp could be a mistake.  Create your own app that offers your menu online; the ability to order across both Apple and Android is a strong marketing and publicity tool as well as a functional benefit to the business.  Work with your website development company to plan to build these applications to enhance your businesses mobility.  Call us at 877-665-1125 to discuss your options during a free consultation by a DSL NorthWest expert.


4. Servicing: The Spring Priority

We are now into the second quarter and with Spring well underway, the peak Summer restaurant season is fast approaching.   With the increase in business comes a greater demand on the kitchen, the equipment and your teams.  Regular equipment servicing is often low on the list of priorities when the season kicks in, but the impact of equipment downtime can be catastrophic; especially for smaller operators.  Unplanned maintenance and equipment break-downs can cause a myriad of problems; from ruined ingredients, not being able to fulfill large swathes of the menu, and to under-utilized staff.

DSL NorthWest Inc Observations:

Conduct an audit of your equipment now.  If you’re unsure of any potential issues, or need to talk to someone about the status of your equipment, then book in a free consultation with a DSL NorthWest Inc team member.  They will be able to give you an honest answer about the status of your equipment, expected life and any changes you might need to make to maintain and improve your profit margin.


5. Save Time and Money

It’s easy to think of expenditure in the kitchen as a piece of equipment, member of staff or ingredient.  However, time is a major cost that often is ignored when it comes to improving the bottom line.  For example, how long the front-of-house team takes to communicate with the kitchen, distances walked, labor-intensive machinery or out-of-date technology.

DSL NorthWest Inc Observations:

– Workflow Lags and Errors – A simple analysis through fresh eyes can help to improve layouts and existing ordering and delivery systems. In addition, introducing technology can improve the time it takes to process orders in the kitchen; from ipad apps to the latest in kitchen display equipment.

– Labor-Saving Equipment – modern equipment is designed to significantly reduce labor, and they are affordable making them a ‘no-brainer’ when it comes to upgrades. For example, the MagnaBlend Revolutionary Blender features an integrated ice dispenser, blender & built-in rinse station for quick service; no more separate washing required. Signature recipes can be uploaded straight from a laptop, and portion control reduces product waste. The result is the delivery of consistent blended drinks every time and more efficient use of staff time.

– Logistics – from your point-of-sale equipment through to administrative and inventory controls, incorporating new technologies and systems can significantly reduce time; especially at a more senior level. To discover how much time is wasted doing inefficient tasks that could be performed more efficiently by introducing new technologies, call the DSL NorthWest Inc team for a free consultation.  You might be surprised how much time will be freed up to work on the more important tasks such as marketing and customer initiatives.


Call us at 877-665-1125 to discuss your options in a free consultation with a DSL NorthWest expert.