The 7 Steps of Food Cost

Effectively Manage Your Food Cost

Improve Your Bottom Line by Improving Your Food Cost

1.  ORDERING  –  Having detailed recipes, designing purchasing specifications, doing comparative shopping based on those specifications, and comparing quality, price and service, are just the beginning.  Avoid spoilage by not ordering too early, and prevent premium costs and delivery charges by not ordering too late.

2.  RECEIVING – Receiving includes counting, weighing, and inspecting product for condition and quality. Verify against the purchase order, keep the receiving area clean and uncluttered, limit access to the receiving area, and get credit memos from the delivery driver. Doing a “night drop” will hurt your food cost tremendously; always have somebody trained and available to check in your deliveries.

3. STORING – Are items dated and priced? Are all items stored at a temperature appropriate for that product? Are items rotated properly to avoid spoilage? Is the method and place of storage for the various items appropriate for the item? Is it secure from cross-contamination? Do the shelves allow air circulation?

4. ISSUING – Who has access and or authority to issue or take things from the secured store rooms and walk-ins? Are issues being accounted for? Are issues being made in appropriate quantities and at appropriate times?  Do you use a sign out sheet for specific items?

5.  PREPARATION  – Are you scraping dressings from their containers? Are you trimming meat and produce properly and using trimmings for other recipes? Having the proper tools, sharp blades, and a clean and neat working area are also critical. Use a prep book with photos and measurements to ensure consistency.

6.  COOKING – Ensure proper temperatures and cooking times. Create a temperature log and have managers sign off on them. Use the correct size, material, and type of utensils and cookware. Use a clean work area. Having a recipe book with photos of finished products available will help keep costs under control.

7.  SERVING  – Proper serving utensils, proper holding/serving equipment, right presentation order, plate sizes, etc. Watch what comes out and correct any issues before it gets served to the guest. You can also make presentation placards to post around the kitchen and expo areas so that everybody is consistently on the same page. Observe what comes back from bused tables to see if portions are proper, and to see if specific items are not being consumed.

Above all, make sure everyone is properly trained and held accountable for not meeting your company’s standards.