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Menu/food costing procedures

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm a new kitchen manager, and trying to track our food costs. The system here is a little whacked at the moment, as they didn't have a kitchen manager before, and food wasn't costed and priced properly, nor did they track as their raw food costs changed.

Of course, that's exactly part of what I was hired to do. But I'm getting a little confused.

Meat that changes from 3.85/# to 3.90/# and everywhere in between I don't mind--that's only the difference of a penny per ounce, if that sometimes.

But it's the cheese that just went from 74.30/cs of 24 oz to 53.40/cs to 58.80/cs. That's a difference of 1.50/block, and 5 cents an ounce! That's not the only example, either.

Currently I'm tracking in an excel worksheet that holds, in each category (meat, dairy, bread, condiments, etc.):
the supplier,
the date last ordered/priced,
item name,
purchase quantity,
broken down unit pricing (case, unit, per oz with a note of vol vs wt),
the menu items the ingredient is used in,
where the food originates,
and the ingredients.

(Food origin is to track where our foods are coming from so we can head toward goals of buying more local items, and to eventually log the "food miles" for our customers. Ingredients is specifically for me to track which items I'm trying to replace because of HFCS, unnecessary additives, etc.).

My question is, do I keep the old info? And if so, for how long? When I switch suppliers I'm less likely to keep the info once I've updated all the recipes the food item is in, but when it's from the same supplier with a significant price change that might just be a sale or not (there's no way to tell on our invoice), then how do I know whether I should keep it and update all my recipe prices for future menu revisions, or just track the savings and be happy?
post #2 of 6
Keep it for a year. Many suppliers like to pounce on you when you relax, they feed you stable prices for a few months until they figure you're lulled to sleep, and then all of a sudden the price jumps up 20% because, uh, well! Because space aliens evaported the bus that ran over the dog at head office who sets the prices.

Never take price hikes for granted. Fresh meat has a shelf life of a few weeks, stuff like cheese a shelf life of over a year. If you get the schpeil about "prices have gone up" with your latest delivery, check the batch/production code (sometimes a Julien code, i.e Jan1 =1 Jan 2= 2 etc.) and the expiry dates. If the numbers match from the last delivery at the older price, then you're getting the same stock, bought in by the supplier at the old price, albeit with a sucker's price mark up.

Hope this helps
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
There's a difference between a sucker's price markup, and having to cover future expenses. They have to have enough money to buy the NEXT batch of product if I want them to have it when I order it. So that in itself doesn't bother me.

But is a year really appropriate? I don't think I want to have 20-some lines for each item if the price changes every couple weeks, as many of them have been. And then would that mean I shouldn't just change the price and the date when a case only changes by 5 cents, which doesn't change my per-portion cost?
post #4 of 6
I like to keep my records for a year so I can look back and track trends. Also I can cost-average the price of an item for a year so I can do more accurate menu pricing. Fresh produce like lettuce fluctuates quite a bit, and if you set menu prices at a time when the cost is low, your menu item will be under priced. If you have the records for a year, you can get your average price and set menu prices accordingly. Beef and pork cycle up and down and if you catch on to those cylcles you can plan your menu to take advantage of lower prices.
post #5 of 6
No, what bothers me is that I'm getting the same stock as last time, albeit with a price mark up. If the supplier paid $3 for a #10 can of tomatoes, and bought in the tomatoes by the skid, and charges me with his mark-up accordingly, then I expect to pay the same price for the tomatoes, irregrdless of when I order them--from that skid. What he includes in his mark-up is his business, covering expenses for future shipments would be prudent, but this should be built in to the sales price, and the sales price for the item in stock shouldn't fluctuate as long as it is in stock. As far as I'm concerned, once the stock has been accepted and paid for by the supplier it's price should remain stable, and it should be sold at that price to the customer as long as it is in stock.

When a new skid comes in and the supplier pays a new price, then I expect to pay accordingly.

Strangely enough, the price increases for existing stock usually come a few weeks before Christmas......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #6 of 6
As long as you update your inventory on a monthly basis...you will be aware of any big price changes......generally you'll do a c.o.g analysis on things and leave them for 6 months or so. You do have to track meats....and some other things....raspberries, etc....or things you use in great amounts....but, as long as your only tweeking your protiens....its not that big a deal or very time consuming to change them.....you could link your cost analysis to your inventory and it would change automatically.....good luck!
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