Phone: (413) 727-8897 email:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reader Question About Beverages

Is it a standard practice to include non-alcoholic beverages into food cost? Is that something I should ask my GM to have included in my food cost to help lower the percentage?

I am working in an American Grill/Irish Pub. I am currently running around a 30% food cost and am under pressure to have my food cost dropped down to 25%. Does this seem reasonable in our current economic condition? We are producing a rather large menu for a small kitchen with a walk-in that is shared with the bar and lots of kegs. We do have higher end entrees such as duck and a flat iron entree on the menu.

You have addressed several issues: Consistency; Profit Pressure; and, Shared Storage. Regarding the pressure to lower your food cost from 30% to 25%, you would need to look at this issue separately.

Above all other issues, it is imperative to keep a consistent approach. If you have never included non-alcoholic beverages in your food cost % calculation, any change in % due to the change would be meaningless. You would see a one-time shift in the cost curve and monthly comparisons would look better for a year.

To lower the food cost, I would focus on the duck and flat iron entrees. Is it possible to modestly raise the selling price, reduce the portion size and increase the quality on these menu items? It would be best to do all 3 actions simultaneously.

Eliminate unpopular menu items. A reduction in the number of protein options will lower your spoilage cost. Most spoilage occurs in unpopular protein items. You can also reduce waste and spoilage by avoiding large protein orders. I work with many different food service operations. Usage variances tend to be lower for frozen and shelf stable items. Fresh meat, fish and dairy products need to be ordered carefully.

With regard to the layout issue, it is always better to have clear separation between departments. Your bar operation could be using coffee, carbonated beverages, lemons, limes, olives and other food items. Your chef may use wine, beer and sherry for cooking purposes. Run some numbers to determine the proper allocations and get past this issue. You do not have a lime usage problem.

No comments:

Restaurant Data Pros

web counter