Tips for Controlling Food Costs

Portion Control - Measuring - Cambro BlogThe vast majority of owners or managers of restaurant or other food-related business operations are constantly looking for ways to reduce costs. Expenditures for supplies, salaries and overhead are often the first areas to be examined for cost savings. However, savvy managers know their cost-cutting focus needs to begin in the kitchen with chefs, line cooks and other key food prep personnel.

Review Actual Food Costs

Restaurateurs looking to amp up notoriously slim profit margins should first be familiar with how to calculate actual food cost, which is the percentage of total restaurant sales devoted to food products. The simple formula for calculating this expense is net food purchases divided by net food sales.

An informal survey of popular restaurants found food costs ranging from 25 to 33 percent. Food cost variances can be due to a variety of factors; failing to weigh or pre-portion all foods, especially pricey proteins, is one contributing cause. Without requiring kitchen personnel to use portioning products, consistency for restaurant diners suffers in addition to the restaurant’s bottom line.

Be More Efficient With Inventory

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Chefs such as Robbie Lewis, who leads a team that feeds more than 4,000 people daily at Oracle headquarters in Northern California, has said that raising prices for diners in response to high food costs is not something he is willing to do. Instead, he and other chefs at the software company’s eight restaurants institute a number of tactics to reduce cost, including reconfiguring dishes to include more affordable ingredients, running weekly inventories and ordering daily.

Be Firm With Portion Control

Chef Zach Allen looked to portion control in reducing food costs in three kitchens that serve Mario Batali restaurants in Las Vegas. After making sure the restaurants’ ordering was in line, he began making sure that all staff were well-trained on the necessity of using exact measures. Portion control is critical if you want to hit your target or ideal food cost.

Cambro offers an impressive and comprehensive assortment of portioning scoops and measuring cupsPersonalized products in a variety of styles and sizes, are also available from Cambro. Personalized products with specific fill lines for ingredients have proven to be effective in supporting and maintaining portion control.

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Find out what personalized products could help you control food costs, contact a Cambro Sales Representative for product samples and information.

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