Why Your Food Cost Is So High

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Food Costs

If I were to ask you why you think your food cost is so high, what do you think you would answer? I bet you would tell me it’s the cost of your products. While rising prices can and will ultimately reduce your profits, they won’t as much as you might think. Instead, the real reason your food cost is so high is the lack of systems in your restaurant!

Specifically, the lack of systems used to run your kitchen is why your food cost is so high.

In a restaurant that has the right systems in place, there are recipe costing cards completed for every item on the menu. This means there is a standard portion for every ingredient put on a plate. Part of the chef or kitchen manager’s job is to control the food costs, train the kitchen crew to execute the menu as written and ensure guests get the same dish every time they order it. The result should be controlled costs and increased consistency, which both improve your bottom line and increase your sales because the result is happy customers.

Let’s say your chef or kitchen manager is NOT doing these three things. Let’s say as a result of not doing those three things, your cooks are over portioning each dish that goes out by as little as 10 percent. You might think, “It’s only 10 percent, so what?” You’re right, it doesn’t sound like much, really, but most kitchens are over portioning by much more. Think about it, can your eye see when a cook has over-portioned rice by 10 percent? Can you easily see 10 percent more shredded cheese, lettuce, gravy, sauce, etc.? The answer is “NO!” When you see there is too much food on a plate, you are probably seeing 25 percent or even more extra on the plate.

So here’s why 10 percent over portioning is a problem. If your ideal cost is 30 percent based on your recipe costing cards and menu mix report, and you over portion each dish by only 10 percent, you change your ideal food cost by 3 percent. That means instead of running a 30 percent food cost, you are running a 33 percent food cost. If you were to have $100,000 in food sales per month, you just robbed yourself of $3,000 a month or $36,000 a year in bottom-line profitability!

While it’s important to get good pricing for the products you purchase, if you keep up to date, accurate recipe costing cards, you will have the ability to make small changes to your menu that counteract the potential negative impact on your business. If you don’t follow those recipe costing cards, you can quickly give away any potential profits right back to your guests.

To make the money you deserve in this small-margin industry, it requires your kitchen management to ensure your team is trained on the recipes and executes the recipes — period.

Restaurant Systems Pro makes creating and maintaining systems, including recipe costing cards easy.

Use systems to reduce and control your food cost!

To learn more about the systems that control your food cost, download our free reportBreaking Away from the Insanity: How to easily take control of your restaurant and make more money.

To see how Restaurant Systems Pro can help you in your restaurant, schedule a free consultation or demo of the software.

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