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Monday, January 19, 2015

Food Cost Tips - Fabrication and Butchering

Many restaurants purchase large wholesale cuts of meat.  Generally, these cuts offer a lower price point to the skilled butchers.  They take advantage of their diverse menu selections and utilize the trim associated with these cuts.  Packers offer restaurants a selection of quality grades including prime, choice and select.  It is important to purchase prime or choice cuts for steaks and chops. 

Stew meat and ground meat do not require prime cuts.  If you butcher a prime cut and are left with stew meat and ground meat trim, how should you treat this in your food cost?  The best way to determine the proper credit is to pretend you needed to buy stew meat or ground meat.  This purchase price should be used to determine the credit.  You need to know the current cost per pound of ground meat and for stew meat.

Most butcher yield sheets have one to three primary uses for the meat.  In addition, these sheets record usable and unusable trim weights.  The key to success is following the total price paid for each wholesale cut (or box of several pieces) all the way through to the cost per portion for each primary use.

It really isn't necessary to track unusable trim in the portion cost calculations.  You may want to record these weights for future negotiations with your meat suppliers.

The total amount paid for the meat put into production needs to be assigned to the products yielded in the fabrication process.

If you weigh the usable trim and use the current prices for stew meat and ground meat, you can determine the credit to be applied to the total amount paid.  The net amount, after applying the credit, needs to be assigned to your portions produced. 

If you have only one objective, for example filet mignon 8 ounce steaks, you simply divide the net amount by the number of portions you produced.  The total of all portions valued at the net price per portion and the value assigned to the trim must equal the total amount paid for the meat.

Many wholesale cuts of meat produce more than one end use.  These cuts may produce roasts, steaks, chops, shanks, scallopini, and cutlets.  The process of assigning the proper value to each unique end use is more art than science. 

Start with the primary reason you purchased the wholesale cut of meat.  Just like the trim meat, we need to know the price per pound for this retail cut.  Once you have this information, you can properly value all of your meat in this butcher yield.

The total amount paid for the wholesale cut remains our starting point.  From this number, you need to subtract the value for the trim meat to determine the net cost to assign to the main cuts.  Using the retail price per pound for the primary item produced, you multiply the weight by the price to determine the total for this cut.  Subtract this from the net amount after assigning the trim credit.  This calculation will supply the dollar value to assign to the other main cuts produced.  You also need the weight of these other cuts.

We are now ready to determine portion costs for each of our main cuts.

Trim weight is valued using the current prices for stew meat and ground meat.  The primary cut portion cost is calculated next.  You have the total weight and the cost per pound from current prices.  Multiply these two numbers to find the total cost to assign to primary cut portions.  Divide the total cost for this cut by the number of portions produced.

Finally, we can determine the value for all other cuts using the total dollars after subtracting the trim credit and the credit for the primary cut.  Take the net dollar value and divide this amount by the total weight of all other cuts.  This will determine the cost per pound and the cost per ounce for these cuts.  Depending on the portion sizes for each cut, use the cost per pound or ounce to determine the portion cost.

To check your work, make sure the total dollars for trim and portions of the primary cut and all other cuts equal the total amount paid for the meat purchased.

When you butcher meat, the goal is to remove the cost of the meat you purchased from your food inventory and assign this total to the portions produced.  You will credit the value of the raw product taken from stock and debit the value of the products produced.  If you had a vendor called BUTCHER, you would have an invoice with a net amount of zero.  You would send this vendor the raw meat as a credit or negative number.  For each cut produced, you would buy the number of portions at the price per portion from your yield sheet.  The invoice total would be zero.

Most inventory control systems allow you to handle credits using a negative number for the quantity (pound, portion, etc.).  They always use a positive number for the price.  The process is similar to handling deposits and returns, short shipments and other credits.

Using well documented butcher yield sheets, actual purchase prices for wholesale cuts, current retail prices for trim items, and current retail prices for primary use items, you will be able to accurately track portions produced by your butcher.  If you use a system which has ideal cost reports, the techniques above will allow you to eliminate poor yields as a source of variance.

Your inventory will reflect the proper cost for each wholesale cut (not yet butchered), each portion and the trim weight.

NOTE:  You may have meat with bones.  If the bones are not served to customers, they are trim.  Only credit the bones if you would have to purchase bones to create a base menu item.  Otherwise, you should treat the bones as unusable trim.

Restaurant Data Pros

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