Reduce Business Expenses and Food Costs Without Sacrificing Morale
- Yolander Prinzel
- 2 Min Read
As you enter the new year, it’s perfectly understandable if you’ve got a bit of a hangover—a spending hangover, that is. For many companies, a new year means a new budget and an opportunity to reduce business expenses and start increasing return on investment (ROI).
When it’s time to tighten the reins on spending, T&E expenses are usually the first to undergo cuts, which isn’t surprising since Inc. reports that T&E expenses were named the second largest cost for companies during a J.P. Morgan survey. Food spending, which reaches far and wide through most companies—covering anything from a holiday party to a lunch and learn to sales calls—is an easy target to isolate, yet it’s also a very visible cost-cutting measure. Reducing food spending will be noticed, possibly by both employees and clients, which means you have to find ways to curb T&E expenses without losing employee and client enthusiasm.
First, Be a Stickler
According to Concur, about 20 percent of T&E expenses go against company policy, with problems including duplicate invoice payment, spending over the company-set budget per event, or using the wrong suppliers. By holding employees responsible for sticking to best practices, you can make sure the spending they do is not just on budget but is also far more efficient and compliant. To do so, make sure to monitor all employee spending and make compliance with best practices part of their performance expectations.
Next, Include Employees
Employees know that the better the business does, the better their bonuses, commissions, raises and potential promotions will be. Bring employees in on the decision to improve ROI and reduce business expenses and let them know why it’s being done. You can start by explaining how ROI impacts the business and profitability, and letting your employees know the specific numbers you’re dealing with. Not only will this help encourage them to enthusiastically comply with the changes, it will also ensure that morale isn’t undermined by rumors about a hidden reason for the cuts.
Another way to get employees on board is to offer incentives, such as gift cards or extra paid time off, to those who cut costs and increase ROI the most.
After That, Be Creative
If you significantly downgrade the offerings at your lunch and learns, employee appreciation dinners, client-catered lunches, and other events, employees and clients are going to notice—and they might take it personally. One way around this is to avoid scheduling meetings, training sessions, and other events during meal times. Instead, hold them during mid-morning or late afternoon. Then you can serve something more economical, like snacks, without them feeling like you had to raid the piggy bank to feed them. For example, if you normally have a catered lunch brought in for your lunch and learns, consider moving the time to 3 p.m. and catering coffee and snacks for a lesser cost.
Another way to use creativity to cut food spending and reduce business expenses is to focus on themes and reusable décor. Make-your-own tacos or salads can be very inexpensive meal options and when combined with eye-catching and reusable table décor, it won’t feel as though corners are being cut.
Finally, Coordinate Events
Whenever possible, condense multiple occasions of a single type of event into one, to help cut down on food costs. For example, if two departments are hiring, consider having a single recruiting event instead of two. While the cost per head may not change, delivery, tips, and planning expenses will be halved. You can also consolidate similar events, such as holiday parties and award ceremonies, or compliance trainings and new software rollouts. Doing so will ensure your food spending stretches twice as far.
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