The tops seven tips for getting you food cost under control are:
Portion control and plate cost- You must understand the portions you are giving your customers, what they expect for the price you are charging and HOW MUCH IT COSTS YOU to plate the food. Now what you charge is as much supply and demand as it is the taste and quality of the food. Have a standard ingredient list and portion per plate. Add the cost of each ingredient and divide that buy what you charge. This leaves your cost as a percent.
Waste recording- You simply can not control your food cost if you don't know what is being thrown in the trash. Also use the clear trash bags in your kitchen. This way you can see what is going out the back door.
Accurate Sales Mix- This comes from your POS system. If you system is not capable of recording each individual item you sell, GET ONE. The investment in one and its proper use will pay for itself in no time.
Based on Sales Mix design a Par Stock- A Par Stock is simply a list of each ingredient and how many it takes to hit a certain sales level. For example if your register shows you sold 300 pounds of ribs divide this into your sales. Let's say $27000. That leaves 90. What that means is for every $90 in sales you are selling 1 pound of ribs on average.
Have a sales projection based on reality- This number requires the most thought and must be based on real sales other wise you will have too much or too little food. You can build in buffers for coupons, sales, advertising or anything else you think will impact sales. Like wise think about negatives to sales such as weather, seasonal changes, events that pull people away from your restaurant location or anything else that impacts you. Now with that project divide it by the number you got in the par stock tip. If you plan on $32000 in sales and want to know how many ribs to order divide the projection by $90. That means you need to order 355.5 lbs. Of course order in whole cases and always round up.
Shop vendors, order and receive– Look for deals without compromising quality. Order what your build to requires, less anything on hand. Make sure you or a trusted employee checks in the order to make sure you get all on the invoice. Stop check cases for quality and weight.
Train and coach your entire staff- This is an ongoing effort in controlling food cost. Include your serving staff as well, they can impact your food cost and over all profitability. Teach your kitchen portion control, HACCP procedures and of course waste control. Teach your wait staff suggestive selling and what to add to certain meals to balance the guest experience as well as improve overall food cost.
Work every day at these tips and watch your costs steadily come down.