10 Simple Ways to Control Your Food Cost

  • Instill a sense of ownership among your staff, most importantly among your kitchen staff. You need to include them in loop. This means keeping them aware of the current food costs, areas where we need to improve and what our goals are for the next period.
  • Listen to your staff. Have a “best suggestion” competition every month. Have a prize for the best cost control idea generated. Do you have weekly managers, chefs meetings? Are they held at an agreed time and place every week? Is there a time limit put on the meeting? Are minutes kept?
  • Restaurant chef in the kitchen

  • Identify 2 or 3 cost cutting efforts every week. This way your staff will feel that it’s an achievable even fun project rather than a massive undertaking.
  • Make a rule that no leftover food can be taken home by staff, even if it is surplus. This will create a culture where excess production starts to be made and the line blurs between legitimate leftovers and pilfering.
  • Make sure that your staff are not deliberately creating mistakes or too much so that they can consume them. Do not allow employees to consume mistakes.
  • Spot check all product received by weight. Ensure weights match the invoice. Meat and fish should be trimmed and ready for use and free of excess fat. How much are you losing? Also look for signs of thawing and refreezing, such as large crystals, solid areas of ice, or excessive ice in containers and remember reject anything that you are not happy with.
  • Keep all storage area’s organized daily to aid in ease of counting & ordering. All product removed from open cases, only full and sealed cases, All labels facing out, All like products together in one place and neatly placed on properly labelled shelves, Reduce the amount of multiple storage areas.
  • Why not try working out how much you need to cut purchasing by to improve your GP by just 1%. For example if your business has a turnover of £10,000 per week, you need to cut purchasing by only £100 a week to improve your GP by 1%.
  • Do you know the cost price of everything you buy? Do your managers and chefs know the cost price of everything they buy? You should, they should. Test yourselves.
  • Reduce your inventory levels and organize your food storage areas. Only keep the amount of product on hand that will be used. One of our chefs calls this “the toothpaste tube theory”. The end of the tube seems to last almost as long as the rest of the tube. Remember when you have excess you have waste.
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