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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Food Cost Control Software Question

Dear Joe,

I have finally decided to stop working so hard to breakeven and take the time and effort to properly cost out all of our recipes and then do it all over again for the catering division.

Years ago I looked into FoodTrak and ChefTek (?) and wonder what you would recommend for a small operation (less than 1.5 million in sales). I am also looking to take over another location and implement our menu and "brand" but surely don't want to do that until I have properly costed out and determined the best menu with the most effective profitability.

Please help!


I would choose Chef Tec if my annual sales were less than $1.5 Million. FoodTrak is a superior system but it is designed for complex operations with many simultaneous users (think of an active ski resort). Generally, single person food cost control operators use Excel as the default. Before you spend a dime, make sure you are going to continue to use the software beyond the initial recipe cost cards.

As FoodTrak moved from a budget level DOS solution to a pricier Windows solution, profit center level reporting was added in early 2000. The software became relatively high priced for low volume operations. Complex operations found a home and the new FoodTrak customer community expanded into sports venues, resorts, clubs and contract catering companies.

Although I have never used Chef Tec, my understanding is the software was designed specifically for operations with no standard recipe cards. Chefs and food and beverage controllers could purchase the software for a fair price and achieve their limited objectives. The popular price allowed the company to add features and they have become the logical choice for small restaurants.

As ReMACS and Foodtrak left the door open in the late 1990s, many POS systems and 3rd party developers stepped through and created a fragmented marketplace. Recently, some developers decided to study the actual system usage and found many companies only used the software to cost their current menu. They only use the software after this chore is completed when they look at future menu changes. EZChefSoftware (uses Excel macros) and MenuMax (web-based solution) come to mind when I think of menu pricing projects.


Paul Clarke said...

Try It's an online inventory management solution.

Kevin Walters said...

I am a caterer and find it easier to manage my recipe and inventory costing with Total Party Planner.It let's me track all the other costs (rentals, staff, etc.) associated with catering an event. This way I don't have to jump around to multiple applications that may or may not be compatible with each other. It's a real time saver

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