The Next-Day Financial Scorecard

QUESTION:

Why does it take 45 to 60 days after the month’s end to receive my financials?

ANSWER:

It doesn’t—or, at least, it shouldn’t! Today, more and more accountants have the ability to generate a “next-day financial scorecard.” They can develop tools to provide plate costing, labor costing and overhead metrics to evaluate the restaurant’s performance on a daily basis. Most national chains already have these systems in place and recognize their value.

So how do you get started? Gather your key advisers—such as your accountant, attorney, bookkeeper and insurance agent—for lunch in your restaurant and present the following scenario: “I’m on a mission to interview and eventually retain a team that can provide me with my operational results—from plate costing to labor costing—on a next-day basis. I want to receive this financial scorecard no later than 6 a.m. on my mobile phone.”

Once you’ve outlined your goals, get back to work and let your advisers sit there and brainstorm for you. Once they’ve finished lunch and your schedule slows down, rejoin the group and listen to their ideas. You’ll notice that a “quarterback,” a key player who led the group in the brainstorming exercise, will emerge. That person could be your accountant or insurance adviser, but at least one individual will have a sincere interest in your restaurant and do anything he can to help you. It may be more than one person, which is even better. Once you’ve identified that person (or persons), arrange a follow-up meeting to discuss the ideas, select the best ones and develop a game plan to start receiving your data. You will ruffle some feathers, but the sincere advisers with your best interests at heart will surface.

QUESTION:

I need to start making money now! Where should I start?

ANSWER:

Do you take a weekly inventory with physical counts? Do you have a system in place to ensure the accuracy of deliveries so that you need only one or two per week? Can you review each day’s sales and identify your top 10 most profitable menu items with precision? If not, you need a new approach.

Without the right inventory system, money goes to waste every day through excess ordering, theft and overportioning. In some cases, a supplier may be neglecting to source the perfect products for your operation. Round up your key advisers and charge them with solving these problems. These may include your foodservice provider, accountant, point-of-sale provider and/or beverage rep. Present a challenge to the group: “I want to decrease my plate-cost percentage by five points in the next 30 days. How can you help?” Again, an informal board of advisers will emerge to support your restaurant, and you will quickly learn who’s really on your team and genuinely interested in your success!