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Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Profitable Butcher - Part 2

Tracking butcher yields is essential if you decide to trim your meat and fish rather than buying portion cuts.  Too often, managers treat the process with a lackadaisical attitude.

"We use the trim in ravioli.  They're free."  "This week's meat was fatty."  "Our butcher doesn't slice the steaks evenly."  "We only pay $6 per pound and the portion control cuts would cost $7."  "Nothing is wasted.  We make all of our stocks from scratch."

The common theme is a lack of clarity.  You can't afford to butcher meat in your operation if you do not closely track the process.  Butcher yields can fluctuate widely.  The differences in yields need to be monitored closely.

I know an operator who carefully tracks each batch.  The starting weight and number of pieces of meat are recorded.  The log contains the cost per pound paid to the meat supplier.  After trimming the meat and slicing the steaks, the butcher records the number of steaks, usable trim and waste.  All costs flow from the starting weight and cost per pound.

This person has a well documented 3-ring binder with each butcher batch sorted by date.  I went through the history and found the overall yield was very close to the restaurant's standard.  More importantly, the yield from batch to batch varied by plus or minus 5%.  This is a 10% spread.

Most operators do not keep these records.  The time to record the batch is minimal and the gain in information is tremendous.  Understanding your standard yield is key to tracking usage and gross profit.

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