Fifty Points of Profit

Blind Merchants 50 points of profit

The “Fifty Points of Profit” curriculum as taught by nationally regarded trainer & lecturer, Ron Yudd, is the focus of this feature.  Mr. Yudd travels widely speaking to trade groups and others in the retail and restaurant industries.  


Point of Profit 1 - Walking the Store
This point of profit involves you as the operator walking the store pretending that you are the customer. From front door to counter/table you take the path that the customers follow as they proceed through your operation. The most important part of this point of profit is putting yourself in the shoes of your customer. What do they encounter, how clean are the displays, are the marketing materials easy to understand, what obstacles are in the way of an easy purchase? Ask others in your organization to “take the walk” and have them report in about how it felt to do “business” in your store.

Point of Profit  2 - Using Standardized Recipes
This point calls for a review of how you go about preparing your menu items. Is there a written recipe for each item you produce in your store? Is there a designated portion size for each item that makes up the recipe? Is there a process of constructing the item that is followed each time the item is ordered by a guest?
Standardized recipes help to control cost, create consistency and help in ordering of needed raw products. Customers appreciate getting the same quality each time they come to you operation. Following standardized recipes keeps are guests happy and coming back.

Point of Profit  3 - Clear Expectations for Your Team
Employees want to know what you expect from them each day they come to work for you. When they know your expectations they have something to work towards. If expectations are unclear, frustration and confusion begin to take hold and productivity goes out the window.
Lay out what you expect employees to do during their shift. What should they accomplish before close of business? How should they conduct themselves? The more an employee understands exactly what you want the better chance they have of meeting those expectations.

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Point of Profit  4 - Back of the House Statement
This point involves the construction of a back of the house statement that is developed by the owner and employees together that sets down very specific standards that all agree to adhere to. Many back of the house statements involve standards on cleanliness, quality, how everyone will treat their fellow worker, on time performance and sharing of knowledge.

Point of Profit  5 - Clear Expectations
This is a profit point for the manager and supervisors. It involves making sure that all associates know exactly what is expected from them as part of their daily shift. The more specific the expectation and the more clearly it is communicated the better the opportunity you will have for exceptional performance in your business.

Point of Profit  6 - Don't Process Your Customer
Serve Your Customer-Often times we look upon a customer as a number or someone that we have to process through the cafeteria line or the dining room. We should train our staff to treat our customers as individuals and people. We should teach staff to serve their needs rather than process their needs.

Point of Profit  7 - Coaching Your Staff
This point involves working with your staff as a coach. An effective coach teaches fundamentals, reminds staff of their commitment, focuses energies and then celebrates when the team is victorious.

Point of Profit  8 - Celebrating With Staff
This point involves letting staff know exactly what the goal of the operation is and then celebrating when goals are reached.

Point of Profit  9 - Weekly Goals
This point involves selecting several goals to be accomplished each week by yourself and individual members of your team. At the beginning of the week they are assigned and at the end of the week they are reviewed. It often turns into a little friendly competition between staff members and this is good for team building and actually getting things done!

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Point of Profit  10 - Cost of Handling vs. Cost of Producing
This point involves taking a look at items that you currently produce from scratch and asking if it would be more effective if you purchased the finished item and simply handled it versus produced it. Areas to look here include dessert, some produce items and ready to cook meat and poultry items.

Point of Profit 11 - Free Tomato Soup
This one came from our good friend Don Hudson. By saving up all the ends of his tomatoes during the week by the week's end he has enough of the major ingredients for a delicious and fresh home made tomato soup. Challenge yourself to look for other opportunities for free items by checking your daily production.

Point of Profit 12 - Receiving Tools
This point involves making sure that we save money starting right at the back door during deliveries. Make sure that all those receiving goods have the tools to be successful. Thermometers, scales, the copy of what was ordered and the knowledge of what to look for when receiving products are the things you should equip your receivers with. Pick a delivery each day and walk through the process with one of your key players to teach them how to properly receive merchandise.

Point of Profit 13 - Detailed Specifications
This point reminds us to make sure that we are super specific when ordering from our purveyors. It is critical that the more information we give the purveyors about the products we want the better the opportunity will be that we will actually receive what we really want. Be a good consumer and give your purveyors detailed information about the products you want to purchase.

Point of Profit 14 - Weekly Bids
Ask your purveyors where applicable to submit weekly bids on the items you will be buying from them. Produce, seafood, poultry and dairy products would be a good place to start a program like this. The bid would be good for that week and would also help you be a better menu planner because you would have a better handle on prices of the raw ingredients.

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Point of Profit 15 - Marry Task to an Employee
This point suggests that as you construct a things-to-do list you assign specific work to a person rather than a group of employees. For example, instead of making assignments to a group of line workers in the cafeteria you would assign specific jobs by person. This helps in the area of individual accountability and responsibility.

Point of Profit 16 - Cross Training
This point involves creating a plan that promotes the cross training of key employees. It is much more cost effective to pay fewer employees a higher wage for more skills than to pay more employees that have fewer skills. Employees also appreciate the opportunity to learn more, especially if their wage will be tied to how many skills they accumulate. A smaller well-trained and flexible staff is always more profitable for the operation. 

Point of Profit 17 - Setting Standards
This is critical for the success of any business. Uniforms, cleanliness, and service standards, plate presentation standards-These are all examples of areas where standards must be developed and then practiced. Standards also help to develop consistency and this is what customers really want from a business. They want the same good experience each time they come in! 

Point of Profit 18 - Tools for Portion and Service
Conduct a weekly audit of the tools that are being used in food production and then in service. Often time we find that the wrong scoop or the wrong ladle has found it's way to the production area or the service line and we are giving away over portioned food to our customers. Using the Right Tools = Controlled Cost.

Point of Profit 19 - Monthly Audit of Food Cost
Each month all center-of- the- plate items should be costed out to ensure that you remain on top of the food cost. Often times an item is placed on the menu and over time it becomes popular. The cost of the raw ingredients go up over time and adjustments in the menu prices are not made. By auditing on a monthly basis-we keep an eye on the cost of menu items. 

Point of Profit  20 - Public Praise
Private Counseling-This is not only good management but good for profitability because employees respect managers and supervisors that praise them publicly and counsel theme privately.

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Point of Profit  21 - Upscale Your Serviceware
Take a look at how you serve your food. There have been many changes recently in the selection and type of serviceware available for cafeterias and snack bars. New colorful hotel pans, crocks for salad bars, service tools and serviceware can really spruce up the look of the operation.

Point of Profit 22 - Merchandising
Take a look at all your displays to ensure that they are in tip-top shape. If a merchandise display is not in tip-top order it actually works to reject the customers instead of attracting them.

Point of Profit 23 - Tastings
This point involves the idea of inviting your customers to participate whenever you are trying out a new item. Invite them to your operation one afternoon to try sample size portions of some items you are thinking about putting on your menu. They love free items and they love to give their opinion even more! It's great for public relations and when they see that you respect their opinion they become even more loyal to your business.

Point of Profit 24 - Organizing Your Cleaning and Sanitation Schedules
This point involves the construction of daily, weekly and monthly cleaning schedules. Walk the operation to see what should be done and when. Set up a detailed description of exactly what should be cleaned, how it is to be cleaned and who should do it. The more detailed you are the more effective the cleaning and sanitation schedule will be. 

Point of Profit 25 - Employee Meal Policies
Do you have a very specific policy outlining how employee meals are handled? Whatever you decide on in this area make sure everyone understands the policy and make sure it is fairly enforced. Keep in mind that employees will find a way to eat-so go ahead and simply formalize your policy and then everyone will understand expectations and parameters.

Point of Profit 26 - Communicating With Your Guests
Review the way you communicate with your guests/customers. Consider some of the new technologies and some of the old ways to provide information they really need. A taped menu recording of your daily offerings, a one-page email of important info or even a weekly/monthly newsletter that includes recipes and fun information can be something to add to your list of ways to communicate with your guests. Don't forget to check the ways you are currently communicating with your guests. Menu boards, menus, signage, postings etc. should be reviewed as part of your walk through.

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Point of Profit 27 - Winners and Losers
Take a close look at the prices for your raw products each week to determine which items are the winners and which ones are the losers. An example of this is when an operation uses fresh raspberries as part of their garniture and falls asleep. The item just becomes part of the daily routine. When a flat of raspberries gets up to $54 per flat maybe we should consider using a different item as part of the garniture. If you are reviewing winners and losers each week and using this information to make sound menu decisions you won't be surprised at your food cost at the end of the week or month. Winners should be showcased and losers should be replaced or used sparingly.

Point of Profit 28 - Setting Up Your Storage Rooms/Coolers
Set up your storage facility to help you not only be organized for inventory and easy ordering but also for security. Large items like 100lb. bags of rice should be near the door and the more expensive items should be placed in the rear or interior of the room. Use the set up of the room or cooler to deter anything from growing legs and walking out the house.

Point of Profit 29 - Clear Plastic Tubs
Remove from all food prep areas your large black trash cans and liners. In their place put small clear tubs on the work surface as the receptacles for food waste and trimmings. This is not designed to spy on your staff but to simply let them see what is being wasted. If they see the waste they may be more apt a controlling or reducing it.

Point of Profit 30 - Showtime
Take a look at what is going on during "Showtime" or prime time in your operation. All hands should be guest focused during you rush hour. This is not the time to be taking inventory or checking in the produce. Arrange your schedule and your staff's schedule to be fully focused on the guest and the mission of service during your "Showtime".

Point of Profit 31 - First ½ Hour and Last ½ Hour
As part of controlling your labor cost review what is actually being done the first half hour and the last half hour of each tour worked by your staff. You may learn some interesting things. 

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Point of Profit 32 - Staff Evaluations
Incorporate into part of how you do business each week to evaluate the performances of the different work groups that make up your staff. Each week evaluate as a group the performance of the back of the house and the front of the house. This should not be done to point blame, but rather to see where you may need some training or it may help you to identify hot spots in the day today operation. It should be done with staff in an open and safe forum. 

Point of Profit 33 - Departments Inspect One Another
An effective tool as it relates to cleaning, sanitation and food safety is to have departments inspect one another. This, if done in a constructive manner can lead to some friendly competition and camaraderie. Start with the head person in each area of the operation and have them do a "20 Point" inspection each week.

Point of Profit 34 - Setting Up True Accountability
One of the most effective cost control tools is to hold someone accountable for the item of food or other product as it flows through the house. We use the flow of food model to teach this. From back door to guests table someone should be designated responsible as the item passes through their area. It should be noted that it is often when no one is responsible that something happens to the item. Walk the food as it flows through the operation and ask yourself who is responsible at each stop along the way.

Point of Profit 35 - Daily Inventory and Reconciliation
Each day you should be tracking the most expensive items you offer to guests. The quantity sold figures should be reconciled to the quantity consumed figure. If they don't balance you should take a look at your production and finishing of the items and also how things are getting rung up or processed through the POS. 

Point of Profit 36 - Less is Best
Often the less the number of items offered in the different menu categories the better control we can have. Check to see how your menu has grown over time and check your quantity sold figures to see if some of the items can be retired. The less you offer the more you can control and ensure that they are cost effective. 

Point of Profit 37 - Posting of Portion Sizes
You should have an up to date list of portion sizes posted for the production staff. It is recommended that periodically you pull out the portion scale and test several selected items.

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Point of Profit 38 - Front of the House Statement
Just like the back of the house statement this is a statement developed by staff and manager that clearly sets down specific standards as it relates to the front of the house operation. Many of these type of statements involve standards on guest service, quality of presentation and how each member of the team will be expected to treat the guest and each other.

Point of Profit 39 - Do it Right or Don't Do it
This point of profit seems pretty simple. Often operators will embark on a new item because the competition is featuring it. We actually discover that we do the operation a disservice when we do this because we don't really do it right. Stick to what you do well and better than anyone else and don't fall into the "keep up with the guy next door syndrome".

Point of Profit 40 - Picture of Items
One of the ways to build consistency into your presentations is to have photos or drawings of the finished presentation for your staff to use a guide for set up and to ensure that nothing leaves the kitchen until it matches the presentation as it appears in the photo. Guests come to expect some consistency in plate presentation and this will help deliver on that expectation. 

Point of Profit 41 - What Gets measured Gets Done
Review what you currently measure on a daily basis. If you are tracking and measuring something-it brings attention to it. The staff sees that you are concerned about something and they begin to focus in on that item or area also.

Point of Profit 42 - Power With Parameters
Decide what to let employees do without you getting involved or require you to approve. The more power you give your people the more ownership they will take in their job and your business. 

Point of Profit 43 - Your Hiring Process
Retention, guest service, productivity and all the other areas of employee relations really begin at the hiring part of the relationship. Don't look for people to cover a position, select people that reflect your philosophy of guest service, work ethic etc. Invest more time in the interview process in order to have less hassles down the road.

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Point of Profit 44 - Leftover and Waste Records
Make sure that you are recording all waste items and any other unusable leftovers (more waste) as part of the way you close every shift. These become areas of discussion and follow up to ensure that we don't repeat the same mistakes during the next shift. It is recommended that this be implemented in each operation and department.

Point of Profit 45 - Dating Products for Proper Control
As items are prepared in bulk or for finishing at a later time they should be marked with the date and time. This helps a to ensure proper rotation, quality control and food safety.

Point of Profit 46 - Dishroom Audit
Periodically check the bus pans and plate/platters that are coming back to the dish room. You may learn a lot about what the guests like or dislike by observing a little. Often times an untouched condiment or side item indicates that the guest really doesn't want or need that particular thing with their meal. Keep an eye open for items coming back. It may lead you to change a menu item or a plate presentation. 

Point of Profit 47 - Testing Yields
It is recommended that periodically the yield of an item should be fully tested. Do your yield expectations match the real yield that is going on during the day to day production? This should be another area for periodic focus for you and your key staff members.

Point of Profit 48 - Community Involvement
Don't forget this point of profit as a way to help your local community and market your services to those that are closest to your shop. The investment of helping others in the community never fails to deliver a huge return. Take a look at what you are doing now and see how you can increase your neighborhood involvement.

Point of Profit 49 - Quality Checks
Throughout the shift or service period decide what areas and when to perform quality checks. Walking the operation, tasting the items, checking presentation, talking with guests and employees should be part of an organized and very regular process. Decide your quality checkpoints and then organize them to ensure they are performed on a regular basis-day in and day out.

Point of Profit 50 - Daily Action Plan
Commit to create a daily action plan of five items on this list and all the related areas under each of these items. Then begin to make this part of your daily function as the manager and leader. You may then decide to begin to create daily action plans for your key staff members and your effectiveness as it relates to the 50 Points of Profit will grow exponentially.

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