Michael J. Rasmussen is the owner of Rasmussen Tax Group in Conway,
Arkansas. Visit rasmussentaxgroup.com for additional insight into
restaurant-specific tax strategies and technology programs.
Build a team of advisers to help you develop
tools for daily plate costing, inventory control
and other key metrics.
By Michael J. Rasmussen
ACCOUNTING FOR YOUR MONEY MICHAEL J. RASMUSSEN, CPA
Have a question for Mike? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why does it take 45 to 60 days after the month’s end to receive
It doesn’t—or, at least, it shouldn’t! Today, more and more
accountants have the ability to generate a “next-day financial
scorecard.” They can develop tools to provide plate costing,
labor costing and overhead metrics to evaluate the restaurant’s
performance on a daily basis. Most national chains already have
these systems in place and recognize their value.
So how do you get started? Gather your key advisers—such as
your accountant, attorney, bookkeeper and insurance agent—
for lunch in your restaurant and present the following scenario:
“I’m on a mission to interview and eventually retain a team that
can provide me with my operational results—from plate costing
to labor costing—on a next-day basis. I want to receive this
financial scorecard no later than 6 a.m. on my mobile phone.”
Once you’ve outlined your goals, get back to work and let
your advisers sit there and brainstorm for you. Once they’ve
finished lunch and your schedule slows down, rejoin the group
and listen to their ideas. You’ll notice that a “quarterback,” a
key player who led the group in the brainstorming exercise,
will emerge. That person could be your accountant or insurance
adviser, but at least one individual will have a sincere interest in
your restaurant and do anything he can to help you. It may be
more than one person, which is even better. Once you’ve identified that person (or persons), arrange a follow-up meeting to
discuss the ideas, select the best ones and develop a game plan
to start receiving your data. You will ruffle some feathers, but
the sincere advisers with your best interests at heart will surface.
I need to start making money now! Where should I start?
Do you take a weekly inventory with physical counts? Do you
have a system in place to ensure the accuracy of deliveries so
that you need only one or two per week? Can you review each
day’s sales and identify your top 10 most profitable menu items
with precision? If not, you need a new approach.
Without the right inventory system, money goes to waste
every day through excess ordering, theft and overportioning. In
some cases, a supplier may be neglecting to source the perfect
products for your operation. Round up your key advisers and
charge them with solving these problems. These may include
your foodservice provider, accountant, point-of-sale provider
and/or beverage rep. Present a challenge to the group: “I want to
decrease my plate-cost percentage by five points in the next 30
days. How can you help?” Again, an informal board of advisers
will emerge to support your restaurant, and you will quickly
learn who’s really on your team and genuinely interested in