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financials of professional kitchen

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I am an Executive Chef of a private golf & country club. We operate around the $800,00 to $1 million mark each year. My questions are about salaries and operating expenses including food purchases & supplies. If there are any Chef's out there operating around the same size operations maybe you could share the average salary of your cooks and the food cost that you operate at. Right now the food cost that we operate at is around 40-45%, and my average cook is $9hr. If there are any extra items in which anyone has created extra income to there club maybe you could offer up a few of those ideas as well! I would greatly appreciate any input from career pros as we are trying to complete an anylsis of our operating expenses compared to other clubs/restaurants.:lol:
post #2 of 8
Table side preparations, such as Steak Diane, or desserts like Bannas Foster or Cherries Jubilee.
post #3 of 8
The rule of thumb for full service restaurants is a prime cost % (food plus labor) of 60-65%. However, don't slave yourself to a percentage.

What all are you including in food cost? Disposables and chemicals?

Country club numbers always seem a little high to me. Are you getting a subsidy from member dues or a food and bev minimum charged to members?

I do know that the best way to make money is through catering and banquets. Otherwise, its hard to survive as a CC on alacarte alone. You might want to gently encourage the social one-upmenship so that your rich clientle try to outspend each other.

Remember the old trick of comping a table a a fancy entree or dessert and parading it through the dining room to drive sales? You could do something like that with a grand platue de fruts de mar. Or one of the table side deals Abe mentioned.

You might also want to have such a thing off-menu and by request only so you have the illusion of exclusivity. Rich folk love to have access that others do not.
post #4 of 8
post #5 of 8
45% is good for a CC. 50% is considered acceptable in some clubs. $9 average seems low, but if it's a smaller town club then I could see $9/hr. Wow, still seems real low these days. Rent needs to be $350/month for anyone to even survive on $9/hr.
post #6 of 8
There are a lot of variables to account for. It is true that a country club typically runs a higher food cost than a standard restaurant. What is the general make-up of your menu? Do you have a lot of higher end products like beef and seafood? The pay scale has to be in line with the average income level of the area you are in. Cooks in the bigger cities need to make more just to offset the cost of living. I used to run a place similar to yours and I started my kitchen workers at $7.50 /hr. My highest paid line cook made $12.00/hr. That was a small town in northern Michigan though. Here in Vegas cooks start at no less than $12.00/hr and go up to about $19.00/hr because it is so much more expensive to live here. I agree with the catering/banquet thing. If you have a facility, that is the easiest way to boost revenue. As far as the food cost thing, just remember that you cannot take food cost % to the bank, only profit. If I sell a hamburger for $7.00 and it cost me $1.85 to put it on the plate, my % is a great 26%, but my margin is only $5.15. Take a 2# lobster that costs me $17.70 that I sell for $45.00. My food cost has gone to 39% but my margin is now $27.30 The key is having a sensible menu mix so that your cost of sales allows for profit at the end of the day. Your C.O.S. as a percentage may be 90% and you can still make a healthy profit if the revenue is there.
I know that I maintained my food cost at about 36%. We had a fairly healthy banquet revenue to help the costs, and I regularly beat up my vendors on price. Special events always went over well for our members. Comedy shows, jazz bands, wine pairings, seasonal parties, lobster night, karaoke. Book them far out and sell tickets on an inclusive basis. Give people their money's worth, but make sure you get a good price for the event. I also taught cooking classes on a bi-weekly basis. Golf tournaments, outdoor parties on the driving range with tents and such, black tie dinners. All of these things made us a tremendous amount of money and it keeps the interest of your membership.
Also, look for certain key items that you can use to cut costs. There is a fine line between maxing out your labor to prep from scratch and buying in some more finished products that save you labor costs. Remember that labor is not just an hourly wage, it is the average 28% additional cost for payroll taxes, workers comp, health care costs and the like that need to be considered. Cutting out one FTE can save you around 24k per year at $9.00/hr.
Just a few thoughts
It's Good To Be The King!
It's Good To Be The King!
post #7 of 8
It's pretty painful to live on $9 an hour, but I've certainly been paid less (although minimum wages in Ontario are approaching that amount).
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
post #8 of 8
Just to build on what Montelago posted, there is a lot more to food cost then what you pay the vendor.

The neatest tip I ever heard for reducing food cost was to start using clear trashbags, and keeping the back door locked so that a manager would have to be present when the trash was being taken out. I'm sure we've all heard the stories of a dishwasher "throwing away" a cryovacced 109. Clear bags also let you keep an eye on waste easier.

You might also want to spot check portion sizes for accuracy. When a cook dishes up a extra food, not only does your CoFS go up, your dessert/cheese/coffee sales go down. Also keep a tight watch on your center-of-the-plate items.

I would also keep a close eye on receiving. If your lazy about it, the vendors know and sometimes will pawn off crap or will short-weight you.
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