How to Control Food Cost in a Restaurant During a Pandemic: 3 Essential Tips

How to control food costs during a pandemic, tips for restaurants featured by SynergySuite

Restaurants have always operated on thin margins. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made those margins thinner. As the cost of food can be the biggest operating expense, restaurants must gain better control over their food costs in order to remain afloat as they work through the pandemic. Food cost control is key to running a sustained and profitable restaurant. Below are three tips on how to control food cost in a restaurant during a pandemic.

How to Control Food Cost in a Restaurant

  1. Control food costs with technology
  2. Get your inventory management under control
  3. Track supplier contracts
  4. Remain adaptable when considering restaurant food cost control

Controlling Food Costs With Technology

Inventory Management

Loose and inaccurate inventory systems cost restaurants money. When every penny and every sale counts, it’s crucial to know your inventory situation. Digital inventory systems like the one available through SynergySuite make this task easier by streamlining the process and requiring nothing more than a quick check via smartphone or tablet to see what inventory is in stock as opposed to running to a back room or even visiting a restaurant in person. Integration with a POS system makes inventory counts even more accurate, providing real-time numbers and low-stock alerts so you’re never over- or under-stocked, helping you better manage cash flow.

Supplier Contract Pricing

Some restaurants have reported price gouging during the pandemic. In some situations, there was a real increase in supplier costs, but in others there was not. Even with established contract pricing, many suppliers were charging far above contracted pricing and restaurants didn’t realize until it was too late. If you do not have alerts about variances to contract pricing with your suppliers, make it #1 on your to-do list for the rest of 2021 so you can avoid purchases that kill your food costs for the week. This will help you better manage costs both during the pandemic and long after, then use line cost approval in your SynergySuite purchasing module to check that the prices you’re paying are consistent with what was agreed on.


The restaurants and chains that are weathering the pandemic the best are the ones that were willing and able to pivot quickly. Many that were able to do so quickly credit their investment in technology. They were able to quickly move to wellness checks, online ordering, and touchless payments which made them more accessible early on in the pandemic. This helped them generate income and kept them at the forefront of diners’ minds as a “still open” and reliable option as the pandemic dragged on.

Talk to SynergySuite For More Ideas on How to Control Restaurant Food Costs 

There are several ideas around how to control food cost most effectively, but the best solution depends on the restaurant’s current processes. If you’ve struggled with this in the past or during the pandemic, contact SynergySuite to learn more about how our digital solutions can help your business thrive now and for years to come. Whether you’re looking for better ways to track progress and performance goals, want to make it easier to train employees or monitor expenses, or if you just want some menu engineering tips, we’re here to help.

Leveraging Technology to Manage Restaurant Labor Costs Whitepaper cover image

Leverage Technology to Manage Restaurant Labor Costs

Between increased costs, labor shortages, and socio-economic complexities - staying on top of labor costs is more important than ever for franchise owners.

Download the Whitepaper

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