As restaurant owners, dealing with the costs of operation and supplies for your establishment is something you’re already much too familiar with. In an ideal world, your business would be run as cost-efficiently as possible, but there are many needed expenses that go into running a restaurant. From rent to electricity to salaries, there aren’t many places you can cut corners in your business plan. However, simplifying the ingredients used in your menu goes a long way in lowering food costs and can even speed up daily operations.

Simplifying your restaurant’s menu by repurposing the same ingredients throughout your prepared meals presents a multitude of benefits for your business. Customers already enjoy limited menus and reducing ingredient inventory streamlines food preparation in your kitchen. If you’re looking to reduce food waste and costs in your business, minimizing the number of ingredients purchased and using them in creative ways is exactly what your restaurant needs.

What Are The Benefits Of Simplifying Your Menu?

Overcomplicating your menu with too many options and promotions might be more detrimental to your business than beneficial. Typical consumers dislike being overwhelmed by a large menu that makes it difficult to decide what to order. By simplifying your menu strategy, your restaurant makes it easy for customers to make choices. However, this doesn’t mean your menu should be lacking in options either. Find a balance and come up with a couple of signature items or delicious meals that utilize a limited selection of ingredients.

Take a look at what your establishment’s menu currently offers. Many restaurant chains have found success in menus built around a central item and its variations, like sandwiches, burritos, or customizable bowls. The best way to simplify your menu is by creating several dishes that are made up of the same ingredients but presented in different ways. You’ll find that by doing so, your restaurant will reap the benefits of a limited menu in a variety of ways.

Speeds Up Food Preparation

By coming up with a menu that uses the same ingredients in each dish, your employees will be able to complete orders more efficiently. Preparing large quantities of a few ingredients on a daily basis is much faster than prepping a number of ingredients that go into specialized dishes throughout the day. A smaller amount of ingredients also results in a much tidier preparation area. When training employees, a smaller menu makes it easier for them to adapt and streamlines the training process so they can quickly get to work alongside your staff.

Reduces Food Waste

Lowering the number of ingredients in your menu drastically reduces food waste. One of the most costly expenses for foodservice establishments is the amount of food thrown out due to over-purchasing and spoiling. By limiting the number of ingredients used in your menu, your business does not need to purchase ingredients as frequently. If your menu includes non-perishable items like dried goods and canned foods, you automatically reduce the chances of ingredients spoiling too quickly. Even if your menu is made up of foods that tend to spoil quickly, limiting your menu also reduces the chances of your inventory spoiling too fast.

Allows For More Storage Space

Simplifying your ingredient inventory is one of the most cost-efficient business practices your restaurant can put into use. A smaller ingredient inventory removes slow-moving items out of your commercial kitchen’s pantry and replaces them with ingredients that are constantly used and replenished. Plus, reducing ingredients also leaves room for an increased amount of storage space, which is beneficial for your restaurant’s layout. It provides your food preparation areas with more space for your staff to comfortably work and creates an organized work environment that drives productivity and consistency.

How To Creatively Use Ingredients

Offering a simpler menu doesn’t mean your restaurant has to abandon all of its creativity. Using common ingredients in creative manners throughout your menu is a great way to encourage innovation in your restaurant. Encourage your staff to brainstorm and come up with their own dishes. Find what meals work best for your business model and incorporate them into your menu. Reducing the number of ingredients used in your establishment might seem like a daunting task for you and your staff, but you might find it to be much easier than you thought, as well as cost-efficient. Repurposing Ingredients Throughout Your Menu Revisit your menu to come up with fresh ideas and repurpose your ingredients. Many casual-dining chains find success in using a small list of the same ingredients in all of their menu items but made in different forms. This way, customers can still have options while your restaurant reaps the benefits of lower food costs. For example, the same kind of toppings that go into a salad can be put into a taco, burrito, or sandwich, with the addition of a few unique ingredients.

It’s important to keep in mind that limiting your ingredient inventory doesn’t mean your restaurant should get rid of uncommonly used ingredients either. Customers tend to enjoy being able to customize their meals with the addition of other food components not typically found in a dish.

Cross-Utilizing Ingredients

If your restaurant offers a specific menu for each part of the day, you might be struggling to understand how to incorporate a reduced ingredient list into your menus. Cross-utilizing the same ingredients throughout your breakfast, lunch, or dinner menus is the perfect solution to balancing several menus while lowering food costs and waste. If ingredients like eggs, bacon, or veggies are used in your morning menu, turn them into components in your lunch and dinner menus. For the most cost-efficient method, almost every ingredient in your limited inventory should be used in your dishes with the addition of some unique ingredients. Customers won’t necessarily notice the use of the same ingredients in different items, especially if they’re cross-utilized in several ways.

Lowering Food Costs Is Important For Your Business

Limiting ingredients doesn’t translate to a lack of creativity or options in your menu. Instead, it can boost creativity and upgrade your menu without increasing the cost of food or additional labor. Restaurateurs understand the importance of lowering costs wherever and how ever they can. Being able to expand your spending budget brings the possibilities of expanding your restaurant or the freedom to make upgrades in whichever way you want. Simplifying your menu to a simple selection of ingredients can immediately reduce food costs, the chances of food spoiling, and over-purchasing while speeding up daily kitchen operations.