Staying Profitable with Food Inflation: Tips for Restaurant Owners

 A collage of newspaper clippings, the main focus on one that says Food Inflation with coins scattered around it

As a restaurant owner, you have a lot to deal with - because, let’s face it, running a restaurant isn’t always easy. From being in charge of your staff, making sure your customers are happy, and running day-to-day operations, you have a lot on your plate. So when news of food inflation starts popping up in the media, it’s understandable that restaurant owners start to feel some weight building on their shoulders.


But what if we told you there are ways that restaurant owners can help combat the effects of inflation on their business? It’s true; here are some tips to help you stay profitable during times of food inflation.

Review Your Menu

First thing’s first; it’s time to review your menu. Taking a good, long look at your menu offerings is a great way to try to reduce costs for your restaurant. Ask yourself these questions:

•What dishes sell the most, and which sell the least?

•Are there any dishes that take too long to prepare?

•Are there any dishes that customers don’t seem to eat all of or take home their leftovers?

•What menu items do you think you can get rid of, and which must you keep?

Once you’ve taken notes about each of your menu items, adjust your menu to remove dishes that will give you low-profit margins and aren’t popular with your customers. Also, consider changing the design of your menu to better market items to your customers that will make you more money.

Consider Ingredient Substitutions 

After evaluating your menu, try to think about ingredients that you could substitute for more affordable options throughout your dishes. Or, instead of swapping out ingredients, you could opt to change menu items. For example, if your restaurant serves chicken wings, but the price is too high to keep on your menu, try swapping out chicken wings for boneless chicken tenders and make them a special on your menu to promote them as a new menu item. Restaurant owners may  also make slight changes, such as opting for frozen options instead of fresh options to save money on food costs. 

Raise Prices

While this isn’t the first choice for many restaurant owners, sometimes it’s the best or only choice to deal with rising food costs. Raising the price of menu items to reflect food inflation is one way to stay profitable. Of course, since most consumers are aware of inflation, many customers will understand the reasoning for your price changes. The important thing is to crunch the numbers to make sure you’re raising prices enough to increase your profit margins.

Adjust Portions

An additional way to fight inflation is to adjust your portion sizes. While it’s desirable to give your customers the best experience and the most bang for their buck, cutting back portions may be a simple solution to saving on food costs while not having to resort to raising prices. 

Online Ordering

Providing online ordering from your website is a great way to bring more business to your restaurant. That’s because more and more people are opting for online food delivery these days. By offering the option to order directly from your website, you can avoid fees from third party delivery companies. This allows you to market your restaurant to consumers who like to visit in-person, as well as those who like to have their food delivered to their home or office. While you will need to have someone on staff to make deliveries, it may be worth the investment for your business.


At Carolina Food Service, it’s our mission to provide our customers with the best products at affordable prices. Contact us here to learn how we can help your restaurant business thrive during these inflationary times. 

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