Managing Food Costs in Your Restaurant: Produce Specs

Owning and operating a restaurant is no easy task, nor is it cheap. From labor to food costs to Indianapolis Restaurant Insurance, there is no shortage of expenses for running a restaurant. However, in this series of posts, we’re examining ways that you can assess costs and control expenses in a variety of ways, including menu modification. In this third installment, we’re going to take a closer look at produce specifications and buying tactics to implement to ultimately save you money.

Produce and food cost evaluations.

The first step in controlling foods costs is to determine what they are, per diner. You can do this by calculating the expense of each ingredient that goes into each dish, or divide the total number of diners you serve per month by your monthly food costs. Food costs include the cost of the food, delivery, interest on those purchases, spoilage, theft and make-good meals returned for lack of quality, explains Small Business Chronicle.

In addition, Seattle Rising Star restaurateur Ethan Stowell and his team adjust their ordering, dishes and menu to compensate for their food costs, or if they’re on target, they know they can order and run a more expensive dish. It’s a very organic and flexible methodology, but one that works, explains Star Chef.

Produce specifications.

Often enough, restaurant owners only want top grade produce in their restaurant – and for good reason. However, you can skirt some of these food costs by purchasing a grade below what you usually would. Something as superficial as looks or color of a specific vegetable or fruit can cause it to be scored less than perfect, whereas the taste is not affected. In turn, you’ll save plenty of money on your food bill.

Identify if a certain item belongs on the menu.

You might want to feature a specific produce item that’s now in season on your menu, but if it doesn’t make financial sense, there’s no use in purchasing it. Evaluate the entire cost of the dish, add in drinks, tax and tip, and determine whether or not the item is worth selling in your restaurant.

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