The key to using a recipe model to control usage is the link to the POS System. Menu item counts provide the volume information for calculating ideal usage and for menu analysis. Advanced menu engineering requires menu item counts to determine popularity.
POS Systems are designed to handle the revenue cycle including sales (by category, item, day-part, revenue center and server), cash, credit card charges, house account charges, gift card transactions, sales tax collected and server tips. A typical POS System will have many modifiers to handle customer preferences, extras, substitutes, add-ons, call liquor, take out orders, portion size and special requests.
Every PLU (Product Look Up) code in a POS System with a selling price is required in order to tie Z reading for actual sales to the calculated sales figure (sales price in the recipe model and imported menu item counts). In addition, there are many other PLU codes of interest.
Guest orders may include a double shot of liquor, extra cheese, the special of the day and other important information for inventory usage calculations.
Make sure the POS System is properly setup to track inventory. Many times the focus is on cash control. For example, a PLU code with a description DOUBLE and a selling price of $4 is a red flag item. Frequently, the POS System does not capture the counts by brand of liquor. The DOUBLE code may include shots of vodka, gin, tequila, etc. Many brands of liquor can be impossible to track due to the use of a generic DOUBLE key.
The special of the day may always be recorded using the same PLU code. This would eliminate the ability to track food usage in any operation with a high volume of special sales.
POS Systems are often under-utilized. Any operation with salad bar or buffet sales can benefit from tracking pans of prepared items. Setup a PLU code for every possible pan of food in the system. Many times, a restaurant spends the time needed to account for every slice of bacon sold in the a la carte menu and ignores the buffet control. An entire pan of cooked bacon can leave the kitchen with a verbal request.
In general, a professional recipe model will require additional work for the POS System database team. This exercise will also provide the operations team with valuable information. The insight gained will pay for the costs to update the POS database.