Thanks in advance.
P.S. I hope this is the right sub-forum. If not, feel free to move it.
FWIW, http://www.mastercook.com is running s stocking stuffer special on Mastercook v11 for $9.99 which includes a $19.99 savings coupon that permits the purchase of the $29.99 version 12 for only $10 when it is released in the Spring of 2013.
I remember the old days when I kept my recipes in a spreadsheet. It was great for a housewife, and was fine when I was a line cook and wanted to make sure I didn't forget anything when I changed restaurants. But when I started running my own kitchens, I realized it wasn't enough. I needed real functionality to make sure my food costs were in line. If I came in at 35% at the end of the month, I needed to know where we had theft or waste. Spreadsheets and cute tools like MasterCook don't have the ability to track inventory and connect all the items in my walk-in and dry goods storage to my recipes. They don't tell me when prices spike or when I need to change the sale price of a dish. They don't tell me when I'm running low on broccolini or warn me that somebody might be taking home shrimp, and they certainly can't give me an accurate food cost. Most importantly, updating spreadsheets is a pain. If I change suppliers or a hurricane in Florida affects the price of tomatoes, even the most complex spreadsheet will require hours to adjust, and will probably spit out inaccurate data.
Chefa1a mentioned that MasterCook is easier to use than the significantly more expensive alternatives. He's right. A bicycle is also easier to operate than an 18-wheeler. And if you're a talented home cook who loves entertaining, you'd be crazy to invest $800 in a powerful piece of software like CostGuard and the like. But if you're a professional chef like me who's serious about keeping your food costs under control, MasterCook is a joke, and spreadsheets will waste more time than they save. As Bill Marvin, the Restaurant Doctor, says, "Do the work". The investment will pay for itself in a few months.
Full disclosure: I'm connected to the company that develops and sells CostGuard. I also have over a decade of experience in kitchens, behind bars, and as a restaurant owner/operator, and I use CostGuard every day, because it works. If you have any questions about it or are interested in getting serious about your kitchen finances, feel free to get in touch with me anytime.