Back in May of this year I posted this video talking about controlling food cost. Yesterday, my friend Chef Tim Kitching commented on it. Tim and I worked together opening a restaurant in Melbourne back in 1997 (I can’t believe it’s been that long.) Anyway, Tim mentioned that he had shown it to a group of students he is teaching on stock control. It got my brain working and so I thought I’d share some more on the subject.
You ultimately need a tool that will give you reliable food usage comparisons. In order to accomplish this, data that normally accumulates in different programs needs to come together for comparison. The inventory usage data in the accounting software needs to come together with the item sales data collecting in the POS system. I posted a link to a spreadsheet I created here at www.box.net. It is useful but it still requires manually entering the data. Most POS systems offer this functionality but here’s the problem. The thing that people soon discover when attempting the configuration is it becomes very entwined and hard to manage. It is great in theory but unless you own a hotel with an accounting staff it just isn’t a likely priority. It is extremely time consuming to set up an entire menu to return a theoretical food cost in order to compare it to your actual usage. This is where I think my idea could be useful. When setting up the menu item recipes it isn’t necessary to add every ingredient. Try configuring the items with only the high dollar velocity inventory items I mentioned in the video and disregard the others. This means each item will only have one or two ingredients. That is much less time consuming to set up and change when the time comes. This will give you access to the theoretical to actual reports that will help you focus in on the most meaningful items.
I offer an online course on implementing this at
Please come take a look.
I have noticed a spillover effect when you work like this. The impression this method creates with the staff is you are watching everything like a hawk. They won’t know you are only focused on 12 items unless you tell them. Besides, your staff couldn’t and probably wouldn’t steal or waste enough salt and cinnamon to matter. So watch the video again, get focused and good luck.