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Friday, February 20, 2009

Number Crunching For Non-Accountants

I joined your site because I need help on self training in figuring out how to successfully manage my kitchen. I've been in this Industry for a while now, I know a lot about cooking and procedures, however, I'm in a position right now that requires me to manage all aspects of running a profitable kitchen. I can cook a steak to perfection and build complex recipes, supervise, hire and fire.....but number crunching and being responsible for food cost control and budgeting, well, looking over things, its a little more complex and overwhelming than I figured?? Would you be able to give me some pointers on simplifying the process.

A black and white of this business in one simple word is "pub" its clientele is regulars that have been swinging through the same doors for years now, however, the new owners have renovated it into a new "restaurant/bar" and are marketing it towards that atmosphere with a capacity of exactly 135 people.

Now, the menu is appetizers, two salads and a few entrees. I'd say 25 menu items tops.

I've shown the owners that I'm up for the challenge but proving that I can do this means I need a crash course in Business Mathematics, and I failed math twice during school. I really don't know where to start but I know it has something to do with inventory, food cost and budgeting.

Please help.


I would start with a simple approach. Take your steaks and create a simple control sheet. Everyday you can write down the number of steaks at opening, purchased, butchered, sold and the number at the end of the day:

Steak Control Sheet


Beginning Count(+)________________




Ending Count(-)___________________


When you add the purchased and butchered to your beginning and subtract the sold and ending counts, you should get a result of zero. Do this everyday! You will know where every steak went and why.

Keep your menu focused and build slowly on popular items. Make up sheets for all your popular center of the plate items. Call 2 or 3 companies who can supply these key items and give the business to the supplier with the best service, quality and prices.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Chef, I to found myself with a very similar situation about a year ago. My suggestion is to read all Joe Dunbars past blogs, they have helped me move forward, very quickly. And I to suck in math. Cost all your plates and find out where your prices are at. I also project (guess) all my sales for the month, key noting any special events, I try to be very accurate but conservative. From those numbers I calculate or budget what I am going to spend for that week, if the sales are off projection up or down, I adjust my purchases.I operate at a 33% food cost (when I started it was at 40%), so if I earn $1,000 over projection it means I can add $333 to my purchase budget. And if I'm down $1,000 I take $333 off the next pruchase, but you can change you multiplier to whatever percentage you need. Using Joe's web site and force yourself to spend time in the office understanding this side will come quicker then you think, I just wish Joe had a labor cost blog. Mark

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