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Help with Prices and food cost

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

With the cost of all  raw and processed food goods if anyone on the sight has any ideas on purchasing products cheaper or saving $ in  food handling. Things to look out for etc. I am sure everyone else would be interested. Why not jot them down and posting them for all to share.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #2 of 9

Just the usual stuff........

 

Dairy and smaller items purchased from Costco/bigbox supermarkets.  Sounds like a hassle, but hey, $2 difference on a 4 ltr (4 qt) jug of milk adds up pretty darn fast.

 

Purchasing local fruits.  O.K., I'm not an a'la carte restaurant, but a chocolate and pastry place.  Still when blueberries are in season, I buy local and freeze, when strawbs are in season I buy and make jam. 

 

Don't see  why you couldn't buy in local spuds, onions, etc if you had the space for them.

 

When I had the catering biz I got the shaft from the mega-bakeries, my deliveries were usually 2 dzn pullman loaves which was not attractive to them and they let me know it.  Finally woke up and bought frozen dough, got my d/washer to pan it and proof it.  True, I had to invest in used pans and a bread slicer, but my costs were waaay down.  Don't see why you couldn't do this with burger buns or pullman loaves as well. 

 

Now it's late Feb.  Seville oranges are in season.  How much money can I squeeze from one case of oranges? Usually 40 1/2 pint jars @$7.00 retail, and I still have leftover peels which I candy and use in my confections and bon-bons. Started to sell candied peel as well, commercial stuff goes for over $15 a kg.

 

Chocolate always increases in price, typically in 15% increases.  I deal directly with the mnfctr, it's true I get the dirty end of the stick becasue my quantitites are minute, but I still get a better deal than with any supplier and I only buy in 6-8 mth quantities.  Stuff's expensive, but dark choc. has a two year shelf life, and I move it in less than 6 mths.

 

Grow my own herbs.  Did this while I ran my catering business too.  Bayleaf, rosemary, thyme, marjoram are all dead simple to grow, and require very little maintainence.  Not much of a foodcost breaker, but it makes a noticeable difference, a lot of people do notice.

 

All this is labour.  Can't have your cake and eat it too.  But with me, there's a difference:
I'm a Mom & Pop outfit, No F&B or GM on my tail threatning me to do the impossible.  I can also attract culinary students for 2 week stages--no salary, full insurance coverage, but for the first week I'm babysitter and yet by the second week I use them to fill up my freezer and shelves. 

 

If you are independant you have the luxury of being creative, if you're corporate--I wish you all the best luck...........

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

You may save by buying large quantities but if you don't use it right away, your money is just sitting on the shelf doing nothing.. Learn what a case of lettuce should weigh. How many pounds a box of tomatoes should be.No matter if they are 6x7== 5x6/==6x6  should be 25 lbs. Buyer Beware. Careful with baskets and boxes mushrooms, some wholesalers take some out of each box and make another box  Weigh eveything that comes into the building..How many cantaloupes per box. Weight of case of cal celery.. I have seen tomatoes come in at 18lb boxes. Should be 25 not 20 either.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #4 of 9

Making herb oil....taking stems and infusing a light oil with them....essentially the cost of the oil as the stems are usually throw aways

 

freezing plain yogurt, butter, cheese, sour cream when deeply discounted for use in cooking...

Greek yogurt was 25 cents with 1 week prior to expiration....cheese changes consistancy after being frozen but is usable, sometimes for cooking.  local chevre is available 8-9 mos out of the year and unfortunately Dec-April your out of fresh chevre....frozen works.

 

Making Caramel Sauce...it has a deeper nuiance than commercially made, it's got a huge shelf life, it can be frozen....sugar, cream, liquor or vanilla, butter.....

 

Using a whole pig...I can buy a whole heirloom pig and break it down with nominal amount of time and expense...the return is HUGE... You just have to know what to do with the bits and pieces...ie leaf lard, liver/heart, head, belly, ham, shoulder, loin.....getting to know the differences in breeds, feed, butchering can be fun.

 

 

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 9

Wherever possible, I've been swapping out the stuff which is expensive right now (tomatoes!) with things that are in season, especially root veggies with edible stalks/leaves I can also utilize. Beets have been doing double-duty adding color to salads and as a side of sauted greens. The problem is when I have clients and owners with dated tastes who can't get over the idea that salad *needs* to have tomato no matter what time of year it is. Not only is it expensive, but the quality is not that great...I've also had some success offering economy cuts of beef like Short Ribs instead of automatically going to steak. I wish we could be butchering whole animals and fish, but my manager is convinced that anything other cryo-vacced pre-portioned proteins are too labor intensive. I disagree and so does the math, but you can only argue so much with a GM...

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Fresh onions, peppers, mushrooms can all be frozen.. Dice onions, run under cold water,place in kitchen towl and squeeze water out, freeze in plastic bags

Mushrooms slice and freeze. Peppers slice or dice dip in boiling water 30 seconds drain and freeze. Strawberries, wash put in container or plastic bag sprinkle with sugar toss and freeze. Pineapple peel , take core out, cut fruit 1/2 to 1 inch cubes put in plastic bag sprinke some sugar  freeze(taste better when it comes out then when it went in) Avacado  peel mash add touch lemon juice freeze. You can process and freez almost any food for later use and save $ besides.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #7 of 9

cryovacing food.....much longer shelf life, you don't have to worry as much with cross contamination, making bulk and freezing...portioning proteins...

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Ask grocery or frozen food purveyor is there anything they want to get rid of,you may be able to run at a special @3O% less cost.

Make sure that there is only one entrance and exit into the premise for employees. If possible do not let them park near rear of kitchen. I have seen it all over the years. Woman no big pocketbooks in kitchen. Security camera (real or fake in some areas). near rear of place.. I have seen whole frozen turkeys and whole cryovac meat cuts  buried in garbage cans and taken out rear door for pickup later. by dishwashers..

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #9 of 9
a short list of practices to consider in light of rising food costs.

1. Don't over-purchase. Buy just what you think you'll actually  use. This will reduce waste and improve portioning, as employees  won't think they have an endless supply to use.
 
2. Check your product specs. Are you using the most appropriate grade or quality of product for the task? If 99% of your customer won't notice the difference, maybe it's time to change  the specs on some products.
 
3. Check your portion sizes. This can be tricky because you don't want to lower customers' perception of value. But when faced with price increases or tweaking portion sizes, well take your pick. 
 
4. Consolidate purchases. Could you get lower overall prices by buying more products from one supplier? Some restaurant have lowered their food cost overnight 4%-5% and more by doing this.
 
5. Calculate your food cost every week not just once a month. Weekly food costing will make your kitchen staff more aware and  accountable for food cost fluctuations. You'll be able to respond to problems quicker and it will change the culture in your kitchen with regard to food cost control.
 
When food costs go up, you've got three options to maintain your margins. 1) Work smarter to control your costs, 2) raise prices or 3) a combination of both. Make sure you're doing all you can to make the most of the food you do get at the best prices possible.
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
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