Marketing Restaurants Trends

5 Restaurant Tips to Reduce the Effects of Inflation

Restaurants that have survived the pandemic are now threatened by recent inflation. People are quickly feeling the price increases among everyday items affect their decisions. 

Now restaurant owners are faced with the effect inflation has on the industry. Inflation can cause an increase in costs in all aspects of the restaurant industry. That includes rent, food, labor, utilities, and insurance. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wholesale food costs were 17% higher in March than last year. Along with a rise in hourly earnings for employees than the prior year. 

Establishments deal with rising costs of goods while seeing fewer customers walk through the door. Some people are eating out less and finding it more affordable to cook at home. Cutting back is the first thing people begin to do when prices rise. Diners are more hesitant to dine out because their everyday expenses rapidly increase. With interest rates rising, people find it more challenging to borrow money or lines of credit as well. 

Here are 5 tips to help you fight inflation, save money and keep customers in the door. 

1. Find Ingredient substitutions 

Restaurant owners can agree that food costs are one of the biggest challenges, especially when it comes to inflation. Taking a closer look at your inventory costs can be beneficial by revisiting your cost analysis. Is there any ingredient that you use a lot of that’s seriously cutting into your budget? Or maybe a hot-selling dish brings significant revenue but includes pricey ingredients which impact your profit. 

By exploring ways you can swap ingredients for something less pricey, you will begin to see savings. 

2. Audit your menu 

To do a proper menu audit, take all the factors into account in your menu and the profits you make on each dish. Sort the menu items out from the most highly profitable to the least. When you’re finished, evaluate what you can cut off your menu and save for something more critical, or put the money elsewhere into another dish. 

To do this properly, you’ll have to take a good look at your menu and know the profit you make on each dish. Segment your items into four groups and make adjustments based on their performance. Take into account which dishes really work and which one’s dont. 

3. Consider Price Changes

Increasing your prices may actually prove to be more beneficial to your establishment. Consider adding ingredients to make the cost more valuable, or try including a premium side to bundle and spend more. 

4. Reduce food waste 

If you’re not on top of monitoring your inventory, you may risk a big part of your budget by not accounting for food costs. Don’t just count inventory; dig into your numbers and understand where exactly you are losing money due to waste and over portion sizes. If you notice that guests are finishing their plates, you may need to look into smaller portion sizes. Optimize your recipes and use the most out of all your ingredients. 

5. Try to Reduce Food Costs 

Profitable restaurants usually incur 27%-36% of their revenue on direct food costs. In the current inflationary environment, keeping a close track of our direct food costs is more important than before. Accurate and consistent ordering from reliable vendors should also help. Do not hesitate to ask for price break volumes and freeze food if it makes sense. We occasionally see local merchants and wholesale clubs like Restaurant Depot, Costco and Sam’s Club offering limited-time deals on quality food products. A lot of small independent restaurants we have talked to do not hesitate to buy through such retailers, especially the products which they have tried before.


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Iconic Restaurant Chains That May Close In 2020

Get To These Restaurants While You Can!

It’s the last call for several restaurant chains in 2020

When visiting another state or city have you immediately craved a particular restaurant chain for that one-of-a-kind dish like we have? You may like everything on the menu or just the complimentary bread rolls and nothing else. More than just food, some iconic restaurant chains can provide a familiar environment that is consistent across the map. The result can be a ‘home away from home’ type of comfort for some. Though these restaurant chains have multiple locations and seem like they’ll be around forever, time isn’t on their side. Millennials, Gen Z, and endless food options available at the fingertips have hit these restaurant chains hard. Continue reading to learn which major restaurant chains we may lose in 2020.

Steak ‘n Shake

Shaken up to see this prime steak burger and joint on the list? Forming from the depression era, Steak ‘n Shake lived up to it’s slogan, “Famous for Steakburgers.” The steakburgers were made up of T-bone, sirloin, and round steak parts. What attracted customers was founder Gus Belt’s campaign to prove the wholesomeness of his steakburgers. At the time, there was much skepticism regarding the purities of ground beef. To break this stigma, Gus Belt performed live meat grinding demonstrations within the vicinity, leaving no room for suspicion. This stunt was groundbreaking at the time, but Steak ‘n Shake neglected other aspects that would sustain them today. Steak ‘n Shake stated in a letter to shareholders that their outdated kitchen design was anchoring them down. High overhead costs and slow service lead to the decision to close 100 locations until a franchise partner is found.

Steak ‘n Shake newspaper campaign ensuring purity of meat

Golden Corral

Only a few restaurants can even come close to Golden Corral’s range of adaptability over the past few years. Formed in Fayetteville North Carolina in 1973, this classic all-you-can-eat buffet and grill has taken many punches and rolled with them. Salad bars were expanded after news of under cooked meat and renovations were made to appear more hip. Golden Corral also implemented a takeout component a few years ago and recently integrated delivery services like Grubhub and Ubereats. If anything, Golden Corral deserves acknowledgement for proactive adaptations. Despite this, incidents including salmonella outbreaks, norovirus epidemics, and improper food storage allegations hit the franchise hard.

Pizza Hut

Can you remember when Pizza Hut was a popular hub for birthday parties, teenage hangouts, and even dates? Pizza Hut’s prime days are like a distant memory. Pizza Hut is split into several different formats such as dine-in, carry-out, and bistro. There is talk of Pizza Hut moving in the direction of becoming a takeout establishment only. Pizza Hut Express, a fast-food version of the chain with a limited menu, has kept it relevant today. These days most customers are acquired through the express version of the restaurant. It is almost exclusively found in venues, college campuses, theme parks, and food courts. They are also often conjoined with sister brands like Wingstreet, Tacobell, or KFC. Pizza Hut announced its decision to close up approximately 500 dine-in locations within 2021. Go dine-in at the Pizza Hut around your corner while you can in 2020!


Would monthly $1 drink specials convince you to make Applebees your new pregame spot? Applebees’ $1 drink specials successfully rallied enough attention from millennials and helped make an astonishing comeback in 2018. Before the drink specials, the casual dine-in almost completely disconnected from their millennial audience upon introducing pricey $20 steak dinners. Millenials were likely to eat at home or spend that kind of money at a local novelty restaurant. Applebees, like other casual dine-in restaurants, are struggling to juggle their mixed-generation audience. With over 200 restaurant closes since 2016, Applebees needs to carefully plan their next strategy. The $1 specials proved to be a success but will it be enough to carry them through 2020?

TGI Fridays

TGI Fridays is planning to go back to its roots – a trendy gastropub for singles

Fridays was yet another classic American dine-in that filled a unique demand for the time period but it isn’t aging quite nicely. Founded in Newyork in 1965, Allan Stillman wanted to create a public space to meet single women. With interior designs like brass rails, Tiffany lamps, and stained glass windows by the bar, the perfect public “cocktail party” environment was created. TGI Fridays nowadays is going through the same types of problems that all casual dining restaurants are facing. One possible solution is breaking away from the casual-dining industry altogether. TGI Fridays is doing this in 2020 by rebranding themselves as a trendy gastropub and shifting their focus to the urban market. 

2020 – The End For Many Restaurant Chains

It might be unbelievable that 2020 may be the last year for these famous American restaurant chains. Millennials, food-delivery apps, health trends, and Gen-Z brought a whole new dynamic to the industry. Options are endless for today’s consumers and unless restaurants can learn to adapt to new demands, they will fade away. 

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