Food costs can get out of control fast. To keep them down takes regular monitoring & proactivity.

Earn more Dollars by being Skillful

This article is about how to save on food costs for your restaurant. I’ve got a list of about 5 things that I’ll share with you that you can do right away.

Are your cooks Ad Libbing?

Way number one to save on food costs is by standardized your recipes. Standardizing recipes ensures quality, consistency, and serving sizes. It’s very important that you have portion control and your cooks nail it every single time. That’s a huge thing that we’re gonna shoot some other videos around. But to save on food costs, number one is standardize recipes.

How much does that Menu Item ACTUALLY cost?

Second, you need to regularly calculate the cost of each food item. This includes not only the cost of the food, but also delivery and storage, right? What is your storage bill? Allocate that to the food itself, and make sure that your menu price is allowing for a healthy profit margin. Ideally, overshoot as well as you can for profit margin, right, because we all know that restaurants are notoriously unprofitable, although they don’t have to be.

Only keep high profit options!

Next, you need to review your menu monthly and remove low-profit items. It’s easy for low-profit items to just kind of creep up on the menu, and then be there for a while. You really wanna look at your menu every month and review it to remove anything that’s low-profit.

Maybe some specials have come on that are staying there, but shouldn’t. Maybe even theres some things you’ve had on the menu for a while that are low profit. This is at the core of why restaurants are notoriously unprofitable. It’s because these menu items just don’t make enough money. That’s a good start to keeping more of your revenue earned.

What’s that Smell coming from the Walk In?

Number four is to control inventory. If you wanna save on food costs, you really need to control your inventory. And what that means is knowing what you have right in stock right now? And knowing how much you have of it.

How are you controlling your inventory, and how closely are you keeping control of it? It’s really important that you know exactly what’s in there. You’ve got spoilage that’s happening. You’ve got food that should be repurposed. For example it was prime rib last night, but people didn’t eat all of the prime rib, and it can be made into roast beef sandwiches today as a special.

So it’s important to know kind of where your inventory is at. You need to know how much of it is very perishable, have codes on the walk-in, with different codes for more perishable foods, and be constantly rotating that through and getting rid of that inventory. 

You also want to assess your inventory weekly. Also, it’s important to cross-reference the inventory with your purchase orders. You need to look backwards and also look forward.

You need to find out how much food you have right now in the walk-in and different stations. And then next, you need to find out how much you SHOULD have, right? If you see that there’s a discrepancy there, you know there’s some kind of employee theft going on or even people giving larger portions because they want bigger tips.

A related thing to think about is if you’re getting plates back that still have food on them. If you are, then you’re probably serving too much food.

Are you Ordering Too Much?

Last topic on my list of how to save on food costs is: avoid overstocking and avoid understocking. This is going to take into account product costs, shelf life, and also how quickly it’s going to be used.  Those are all factors of overstocking and under-stocking.

So do these five things, and you can save a lot of money on food cost, and have a higher profit restaurant.