An Issue with Food Costs


In a recent blog I wrote about what makes a great marriage – a great food marriage that is.

As a young chef working in London I learnt about the true values of food marriages. This revelation on flavours & ingredient pairings how the marriage of two food ingredients work together i.e. scallops & garlic. Simple flavours with no messing around.

Food cost control is an essential element for bars, restaurants, hotels etc. The menu or dishes you decide to use in your business will determine your Margins & gross profit. In the light of previous budget announcements and Covid support measures around VAT increases, there have been many column inches filled & pots full of tweets on this subject.

If you have effective food cost control in your business, a disciplined approach must be applied to food costing. When you add or change menus/dishes - no guessing or I think that’s what it costs. Margins are slim hence inaccurate food costs will affect your profits.

On a recent review with a customer the question was asked “if we add a new steak dish to our menu how can we control costs on our food margins without affecting the quality of the food & the choice of dishes that we offer?

We looked at the average weight on a striploin of beef, spoke with the butcher & re-specified the weight & trim on the beef, we didn’t compromise on the quality but it worked out at an average saving of £57.69 per week x 52 weeks = £3,000 on just one dish on the menu.

Gross profit is a measure of how your business is performing. It is the profit made on food sales before any overheads are deducted. Inadequate cost control is a major factor contributing to food businesses failing.

You need to know how much it accurately costs to make your menu & dishes – you need to know that the menus are providing a healthy profit margin for the business.

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