With rising costs for everything, and consumer’s pulling back on spending, 2022 has been a challenging year for business owners. Even at Savannah Seafood Shack, a franchise that Fransmart CEO Dan Rowe says has the best unit economics for a restaurant that he’s seen in a decade, franchisor Christine Cutlip had to get creative to keep those stellar numbers. And she did.

Despite relatively flat sales, Cutlip increased profits at Savannah Seafood Shack’s flagship location in Savannah. We recently sat down with her to discuss what she did and how other franchisors and franchisees can use similar tactics to improve their bottom line.

Aggressively Look at Food Costs

With wholesale food costs 11% higher this September compared to last, it’s imperative that restaurant owners go over food costs with a fine tooth comb. You must know what each item on your menu is costing. Having a strong relationship with your vendors is also imperative. At Savannah Seafood Shack Cutlip has those ties in place and she leverages them to get the best possible pricing. Additionally, her vendors alert her when they expect price increases on ingredients and when there will be sales on items so she can plan accordingly.

Eliminate Food Waste

According to data from LeanPath, restaurants typically waste 4-10% of the food they purchase. With food costs so high, any restaurateur who wants to remain profitable must address this. Different technology programs, as well as appliances armed with IoT technology can help better manage inventory and eliminate literally throwing profits away.

Menu Engineering

At Savannah Seafood Shack menu engineering was probably the top thing Cutlip did to grow profits without growing sales. She eliminated the lunch menu and the “For 2” portion options because they were low margin items. She added bundles to add a large side or large drink resulting in high margins.

Service Charge

While many restaurants have increased prices, Savannah Seafood Shack offers a discount for paying with cash. Guests who pay with a card are charged the credit card processing fee for the transaction.

The key to a strong business is to be able to thrive in all conditions, and Savannah Seafood Shack has clearly proved it can. Want to join this lucrative franchise? Get in touch today.

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