Making our own dough certainly helped with food cost. I think the major factor was that my husband started talking with other food vendors and found quality products at much cheaper prices than U.S. Foods. US Foods wanted us to purchase strictly from them to get better prices and even at that, they were still a lot higher.
The food cost was mainly my son-in-laws fault. He over purchased a lot and only wanted the best products. After he left and Bill took over, Bill figured out exactly what we needed, when we needed it. U.S. Foods only delivered twice a week - on Mondays and Wednesdays. We use Middendorf (PFG) and Farm Boy and can have deliveries almost every day of the week between the two of them.
We have been door tagging almost every day. We box top and I purchased magnets that we put on box tops of give to customers. I got the magnets really cheap from Vista Print. Not the very best quality, but good enough and they used our logo. We can’t afford to start up our direct mail again just yet. We’ve been making the most of our signs and talking with customers a lot - letting them know our specials coming up and talking to them about what they would like.
I’m getting really nervous about our Monday Night $3.99 buffet. It starts this Monday and you can’t believe the phone calls we have had from people asking when it starts and the details on it. We have door tagged it for 3 weeks now, had it on our sign, I even put it on the tables in the restaurant.
We’ve also been accomodating to our customers. We had a church youth group call yesterday late afternoon wanting to come in at 9:30 last night for buffet - about 25 people altogether. We close the buffet at 8:00 p.m. and we close our store at 10:00p.m. but my night shift manager told them “No Problem” and she didn’t get out of our store until after midnight last night. She made the decision and called us to let us know. She only had herself and one other closer. I can guarantee you the restaurant looks perfect this morning because that’s the way my two shift managers are.
We’re back to asking our customers when they come in if there is any kind of pizza they would like on the buffet. More often than not, they say a pepperoni or sausage pizza, which is already on there anyway. But, the customers love it.
It’s also getting around that we have new dough and that it’s good. We had a customer call last night for delivery that said they heard that our pizza was really good and that our dough was wonderful. They ordered a fairly large order for delivery. I plan to call them back today and ask if they liked our pizza and how the service was.
My day shift manager is really getting good with scheduling and scheduling herself for extra hours to keep labor down (she’s salaried at $300.00 a week). She knows that I want to keep labor under 30% and more around 25% and has done a great job the last 3 weeks. She’s working herself and my night shift manager and Bill and Me to death, but she’s all for making the restaurant work. Both my shift managers have no problem with sending people home and taking up the slack themselves. We already had labor down under 30% this week, but due to sales being slow Monday through Wednesday, they sent people home or didn’t even let them clock in and cut my labor even more.
Basically, Bill and I run day shift with one other person and my managers are running night shift (they are both salaried) with one to two hourlys. Weekends we have to have more staff, but we are able to keep labor really down.
By the way, the labor percentage includes hourly and salary.
My husband is probably going to cash a paycheck this week!!! That’s the big news. We need it too as our personal well has run dry.