The journey of a thousand crêpes begins with the first pour. Our crêpe sale took place at the Silverton Tuesday Market at the Grange in early March. Before that we had practiced on ourselves, friends and neighbors.
The first month was so focused on organizing our recipes, menu, and processes that little thought was given to tracking volume. We were happy to sell 1 crêpe! At first the emphasis was on tracking revenues and costs with spreadsheets and QuickBooks. I created an item costing spreadsheet together which tracks ingredient, portion sizes and menu item costs in order to calculate food costs and thus menu pricing. By late April things settled down, and we needed to start tracking how what we were selling.
From work experience in my past life, I know the average order was important, because that helps plan how much to order. At first I thought we could track sales of each item on the menu. Then we would know what was hot and what was not. I even bought an iPAd so I could use the inventory version of Square’s credit card processing system to track item movement. HAH! We get soooo busy making crêpes there is barely time to make change and put the bills in the right slots. (BTW, aren’t cash boxes expensive? this one from Amazon is compact, works fine and is priced right.)
So now the iPAd is used to take credit cards, track expenses, update twitter and FB, and show slides of crêpes while on it’s stand in the tent. So there is no real POS system. But we still need to track item movement. A tip I learned from a movie theater operator is to count the serving containers (that is how he tracked popcorn sales). So now we take a sleeve of boats and separate them into stacks of 25 each. That way as things get busy we can just grab another stack, and at the end of the day count the number of stacks used and the number remaining.
That still does not solve the problem of what crêpes are selling the best, but the average ticket ($ / crêpes sold) and the amount of batter (sweet or savory) used tells us roughly whether we are selling more sweet than savory. This provides, at this time, enough guidance without spending precious crêpe making time on accounting.
This system is not perfect, but without investing in an expensive POS application or more staff, taking the time to track more details at the time of sale would reduce the amount of time we have to make crêpes. So the measures we have, plus tracking our purchases and daily inventory give us the information we need to a) make a profit, and b) rarely run out of the crêpes our customers want to eat.