Foodservice Updates is designed to help foodservice operators keep on top of all the industry news and provides tips for keeping business running smooth. We endeavor to provide the latest tips and solutions to keep you in the know.
The foodservice and accommodation industry is the fourth-most-automatable sector in the United States. That’s according to an article in The Atlantic that cites research by Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute. Chui’s research found that 54 percent of the tasks that workers perform in American restaurants and hotels could be automated using currently available technologies. Automating restaurant tasks or using robots to assemble the ingredients in a dish can save on labor costs and potentially save money, but many in the industry remain skeptical about the potential for restaurants to lose the human touch with increased automation. Not so, according to Michael Farid, cofounder and CEO of Spyce, a new restaurant in Boston with a robotic kitchen. In an interview with Toast, Farid dispelled some beliefs about robots in restaurants: For one, he said, they will not replace human employees in restaurants but will change (and likely improve) the kinds of roles they have. In fact, Farid believes robots can help enhance hospitality in a restaurant — and even help a restaurant’s turnover rate—because they allow employees to focus more on serving guests and less on mundane kitchen tasks. Second, robots can minimize a restaurant’s costs because they don’t waste food, and they assemble orders correctly and consistently. Finally, Farid says though the robots in Spyce’s kitchen are an interesting novelty for guests at the outset, they don’t dominate the experience. In the end, it’s about the food—and the robots are simply there behind the scenes to ensure the operation churning out the food is running as smoothly as it can.
The price is right
Menu items are moving targets. Especially now that point-of-sale systems can track the appeal and profitability of menu items, there is always a need and an opportunity to tweak or replace the choices in your lineup. So when you debut a new dish, how do you ensure you’re pricing it correctly from the start? According to an article in RunningRestaurants.com by restaurant veteran Warner Siebert, operators should first list every ingredient that goes into a new item and the amount of each ingredient. Next, price each ingredient starting with the bulk price of each item and calculate the fraction of the bulk item that was used in the dish. Then consider the overhead costs required to prepare and serve the item, from the cost of the wrap needed to cover it in the refrigerator to the amount of labor hours needed to prepare it. Your total food cost + your total equipment cost + your total labor cost = your total cost. From there, your total cost + your profit margin = the price you charge guests. Siebert suggests choosing a low, but reliable, profit margin so that every sale helps your bottom line. Finding the price that feels fair is an ever-changing process due to ingredient price fluctuations and other factors, of course, so leave room for adjustments that still keep you in the black. According to Toast, restaurant profit margins can vary widely, from 0 to 15 percent, with most falling within the 3 to 5 percent margin.
More News Stories...