Every restaurant is different. What you budget for food might be considerably different than what the restaurant down the street budgets, depending on a number of factors, but one thing remains constant, and that is the importance of having control and being aware of what is being spent on a regular basis. Thankfully there are tools out there to make this vital task easier than you think! If you have felt overwhelmed by the thought of keeping up with your food cost, today we will cover a few tips to help you stay on top of it.
Track Your Food Cost
This is something that you will need to pay attention to weekly, as well as your vendor pricing. Generally speaking, most restaurants keep their food cost between 25%-35%. Some may go a bit higher, but the important thing to know is what your restaurant is aiming for and tracking it weekly to ensure you are staying within your budget. It might seem like a tedious task, but thanks to technology, you can quickly retrieve this data. Regularly checking your vendor pricing will also help keep you in line. Even if it seems like something has only gone up a few cents, it can really impact your spending. Make sure you keep open communication with your vendors. This helps to build relationships and makes it easier when an issue arises. They can’t always meet you right where you want, but will be more willing to listen and try to accommodate when they can.
Know Your Recipe Costs
We have talked about controlling plate cost before and believe that this is an important part of your restaurant’s success. You want to price your plates strategically, so your menu is profitable. You should know exactly how many pickles go on a burger or how much shredded cheese should be on an order of nachos. Don’t forget those paper products! To-go bags, burger clam shells and even napkins can add up quick, so having these items included in your recipe can be a huge help. Again, there are so many seemingly small tasks that happen every day while prepping orders, that if not controlled, can add up to a lot at the end of a week. Don’t forget to be flexible and leave room for error. While you want to reduce waste, which we will talk about next, you also want to leave room for human error since that will inevitably happen from time to time.
Be Intentional About Less Waste
You obviously want to reduce waste in your restaurant, but in order to do that effectively, you must be intentional. Thankfully, most of this can be tracked with technology and you can easily pull reports with a few simple clicks. Get your ordering under control and stop over ordering for fear of running out. Look at past sales and have a better understanding of what you need each week. You can even look at past holidays or special occasions to see how your restaurant did during those times so you can make informed decisions when it is time to place an order. Look at your weekly inventory list and make note of what you continuously have left over at the end of each week and adjust accordingly.
The goal in controlling food cost is to always be aware of what you have, what things cost, and not be afraid to make changes when needed.