Oath Pizza exec: ‘4 ways to protect your supply chain’ | A view from the top

Oath Pizza’s Director of Supply Chain, Pam McMorrow, reveals how restaurants can mitigate the worst effects of inflation, product shortages and COVID-19.

Oath Pizza Supply Chain Director Pam McMorrow. Provided

By Pam McMorrow, Supply Chain Manager, Oath Pizza

It’s safe to say that 2022 hasn’t brought restaurateurs the relief we’ve been desperately seeking after two years of pandemic closures. Across the United States, restaurants have reopened and consumers are more comfortable dining, but a new set of challenges have emerged to replace social distancing and the forced pivot to offsite service.

Chief among these challenges is a global supply chain disrupted by rapidly rising inflation, product shortages and the looming threat of an economic downturn, but restaurants are not totally at a loss to meet these challenges. In fact, the worst effects of the current supply chain crisis can be mitigated by doubling down on restaurant operations fundamentals.

1. Rethink your menu

This is a good time to tighten up your menu, making sure to cross-use ingredients and promote products that are easier or cheaper to find. Is the cost of chicken wings killing your margins? See what your chef can do with chicken thighs. Having trouble finding quality olive oil? Experiment with seed oil to create menu items that are not only easier to find, but also offer a lower marketable calorie count.

By carefully designing your menu to make the most of today’s supply chain, you can also streamline your kitchen operations, making food prep easier and less labor intensive (another lingering thorn in the feet of restaurateurs this year).

2. Use sustainable products

Going green is no longer just a social responsibility; it is also a financial responsibility. Recyclable and multi-use products in your kitchen can significantly reduce your non-food costs, and locally sourced products can ensure your supply chain is not subject to the vagaries of the global economy.

3. Develop better relationships with suppliers

Cultivating strong relationships with your suppliers is essential. These partners can make or break you in the face of difficult situations and circumstances. Despite all the innovation and cutting-edge technology our industry has taken advantage of to grow in recent years, your success as a restaurant owner will always come down to old-school fundamentals. You have to trust your partners and earn their trust in return. Your suppliers, if treated as true partners, can open up a whole new network of suppliers to you so that you are not stuck with the biggest national and international behemoths. It can also provide backup channels if your main supplier is experiencing shipping delays.

4. Reduce waste

You pay for every item that goes into your kitchen, so every item thrown away is wasted money. There are several ways to reduce waste in your restaurant, and it’s essential to use them all.

Each week, forecast your sales for the following week and analyze the accuracy of those of the previous week. Have you overestimated your need for a product? Determine why and adjust your predictions accordingly. It also goes back to menu engineering. Are there any products that are consistently difficult to predict accurately? Find out how to replace them. Do any of your menu items necessarily create waste? Get creative with using excess ingredients in other menu items (at Oath Pizza, we use our excess pizza dough to make croutons for salads).

By adjusting your restaurant operations to meet the challenges of today’s global supply chain, you’ll create a leaner, more efficient restaurant. A company that can thrive now and be better positioned for the future than its competitors.

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