Is it expensive to work with a foodservice consultant?

Many operators large and small are sometimes concerned that the cost of working with a consultant will be expensive and not necessarily productive in improving the results necessary to justify that expense. A good consultant is an experienced outside set of eyes that can often see things that have become hidden to an operator. Many of these things are things that the operator might normally notice if they had the time to step back and take a disconnected look at their business. Let's face it, the day to day operation of a food service business can be totally consuming just dealing with the current shortage of employees alone.

Many consultants offer an introductory session at no charge. During this visit, the consultant should be listening to the concerns of the operator and then perhaps offering a general process plan of how to proceed with determining and activating solutions.

Some of the most important goals of a consulting relationship are increasing sales, lowering or better-controlling costs, and increasing profits. Showing progress in these areas is measurable.

After a meeting or two, and some sharing of information, a good consultant should be able to show value expressed in probable return on investment if the operator were to take certain actions that have been recommended by the consultant. A good consultant wants an owner/operator to experience better financial results and operational efficiencies sooner than later.

One of the values of working with a consultant is that the operator's exposure to an ongoing expense of the relationship may be limited to specific tasks for improvement in the operation. At the outset, both the operator and the consultant should agree on the metrics to be used in determining progress realized from the projects on which the consultant will be working. Specific outcomes can be tied to specific actions taken. Having metrics established in advance is not only an excellent way to monitor results as they are becoming a reality, but it also helps create trust and confidence in the relationship. 

Your consultant should help you develop a plan and schedule for results. If both parties follow through in good faith, the results should establish that the value of the relationship as projected, was correct and the expense by the operator well justified.