The two biggest costs on most restaurant budgets is food and staff.
Cutting either of these can be a little dicey. Cutting food costs many times results in either less options for your customers, smaller portion sizes, or lower quality. When the market is so competitive, any one of these could be the nail in the coffin for your business. If a customer starts to question the value of coming to your restaurant, they will start looking for where the value is better.
That leaves you with cutting staff. Again, not an easy decision, but one that may need to be made.
When times are good, and cash flow isn’t an issue, it is easy to justify staffing decisions. After all, you need to make sure you have enough people to cover the rush, and to keep the place clean. An extra cook or bus person on Friday and Saturday night is a small price to pay for keeping your guests happy. But now, cash flow is an issue. In fact, for some restaurants, it is a huge problem. Suddenly those extra people are a burden you can no longer afford.
Now is when you need to look at everyone’s jobs, to see where you can operate more efficiently with less. Can the servers side work be changed to cover the jobs that the bus person was doing? Can 3 cooks do the job that was done by 4 cooks? Can you still get enough coverage with some people working 1 less hour each day?
It’s unfortunate to have to let people go, but sometimes the survival of your restaurant requires hard choices.