Controlling food costs is a very big part of being part of the food industry. It’s a difficult task, and is often time-consuming. However, controlling the cost of food can make or break a business, so it’s not a task which can be neglected. Optimally, food will make up for 28% or less of expenses. Here are some tips to help you bring your ingredient expenses to this level.
BE ON GOOD TERMS WITH YOUR SUPPLIER
This may seem obvious, but having a good relationship with your supplier is an important part of getting good deals and saving money. Your supplier is able to let you know about special deals, and they can also give you suggestions on how to save money and reduce expenses. Cultivate a relationship of trust so that they want to help you out.
BUY IN-SEASON PRODUCE
Although our modern technology gives us the ability to purchase almost any type of produce all year long, off-season produce generally costs quite a bit more than in-season items do. For this reason it’s helpful to adapt your menu to reflect the current seasonal availability of certain items. You can either raise the price of the dish to cover the additional costs, or simply replace it with a dish that features different ingredients.
KEEP TRACK OF WASTE
In a perfect world, it wouldn’t be necessary to throw out any bit of food and everything but the bones and stems would be consumed. However, there is generally quite a bit of food which has to be discarded for one reason or another. Keeping track of what is thrown away is an important part of figuring out how to minimize the waste.
ROTATION & LABELLING
Sometimes the cooks simply need to be more creative in how they utilize ingredients so that your waste level is lowered. Oftentimes, however, the problem is simply due to poor ingredient rotation.
When you purchase new ingredients, label them with the date and make sure older items are used first. Consider ordering your meat and other products with a short shelf life on a daily basis, and inventory what you already have in stock before purchasing more food.
COMMUNICATE WITH FRONT OF HOUSE
Good communication between those in the kitchen and those serving the customers is a vital part to any well-functioning restaurant. Serving staff can help note whether portion sizes are optimal, and can help you know what your customers think about certain dishes.
Kitchen staff can let the front of the house know when they need to use up certain ingredients, and the dishes which use these items can then be recommended by the servers.
BREAK DOWN YOUR RECIPE COST
At some point, it’s important to know how much exactly each recipe costs. This is vital to knowing which dishes need to be improved to give you a better profit, as well as to help you realize when high-cost produce is going to result in your losing money. Break down the recipes and calculate the prices of each ingredient so that you can better control your costs and income.