Controlling Skyrocketing Costs in Food and Beverage Operations
The untimely combination of supply chain shortages, escalating wage demands from labor, and surging prices for purchasing goods is creating a challenging environment for food and beverage (F&B) operations. This was the subject of the EDUSession, “Successful Food and Beverage Operations in the Current Landscape of Rising Costs” at IAAPA Expo 2022.
Tracy Bareno is director of retail operations at the San Diego Zoo. She says, “The good news is that guests came back to attractions in enormous numbers and were willing to spend money. But many people have chosen not to return to the workforce yet, which is creating many problems.” She also noted that increases in costs are compounding these problems.
Walter Teem, senior director of revenue operations for Pyek Group, says it costs an average of $5,800 to replace an F&B team member, so reducing turnover is crucial. He observed that the quality of available workers seems to have decreased the past two years, while wages have soared. “So, you must do more with less,” he says.
Specifically, Teem suggested redesigning front-of-house F&B operations to use less labor and/or increase labor efficiency. He says it may prove beneficial to convert to self-serve operations where it makes sense. In the back-of-house areas, move equipment to combine jobs or reduce effort in getting food to the serving areas. Also, scale down or modify menus to reduce labor. He also suggests using 14 and 15-year-old workers where allowed, as they can help operations tremendously.
To help control supply chain issues, Bareno suggests changing products, placing orders earlier, being prepared to use back-up vendors, and borrowing products from other parks and attractions. She also recommends comparing prices with competing attractions, enforcing strong inventory control, and engaging in active oversight of free employee meals when provided.