or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Food Cost and Budget........ Please Help
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Food Cost and Budget........ Please Help

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I was recently hired as Executive Chef of an Event Center. Iam comfortable with my abillities to perform when Cooking and presentation are invwolved, But as for figuring food cost ordering correct amts and budgets im lost. My bosses new this when they hired me, and said I will learn, but I feel I need to be taught. I have 5 upcoming events the weekend of May 28th with 5 different menus and 5 different budgets........................................... I really hope someone can help me here. I l;ove what I do and want to learn this but need some serious guidance on this.  Thanx, Blake

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 19

Thsi is gonna take way more than you're going to be able to learn on an internet forum.

 

Your amounts to order are going to be based on your yields. How much usable product are you getting from Product A? How much waste from Product B? Do you have any way to use your waste? Is it better for you to buy cleaned, portioned salmon? Or can you utilize the trim from fresh, whole salmon?

 

Food cost? This is solely based on your employer's budget. If they don't have a set number for you, I'd leave the position. Let's pretend it's 33%... therefore... your total cost of food must be 1/3 of your sale price. If it's 20% (it won't be, just throwing it out there as an example) then your cost must be 1/5 of your sale price.

 

Labour? Again... what's your employer's budget? 15%? 17%? again. Are your budgets based solely on food? Or on food AND liquor sales?

 

These are all things that your employer is going to have to tell you...

 

but... and I'm only being honest... if you don't know how to do this, you're being set up to fail. Food cost is the most basic of trade calculations for a Chef, you have to know how to do it, or you're gonna be sunk.

 

You've bitten off more than you can chew. Sorry.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your honesty. I'm not yet willing to throw in the towel on this and if I fail atleast I gave my all. My budget is 33% and it includes food and drinks ie. tea water and coffee no alcohol. I have a friend in the business who I'm working with to help me figure this out. I didn't have the luxury of attending a school of culinary arts so everything I've learned is sole hands on. I have faith that I can achieve my goals. Is there any sites you recommend I visit or books I can read to help. Thank you again
post #4 of 19

Sorry, I don't mean to be a d!ck.

 

Okay. First, you're going to have to figure out what you want to serve for each of these functions.

 

Are they receptions? Dinners? Wine and cheese? Etc.

Figure out what you're getting per person... your cost is 33%, including beverages. For every ten bucks you make, you can spend $3.33. That includes waste, trim, spices, garnishes for drinks et al. The less you spend, without sacrificing quality, the better it is for you.

 

If you do some online searching you should be able to come up with some yield ratios for a lot of your stuff...

 

a few pointers learned from a few years...if you have two similar products, say... canola oil and olive oil... always use the more expensive one when standardizing recipes. If your cooks can't find the cheap stuff, they will use the more expensive one. Plus, it gives you a nice buffer when they actually follow the standard.

 

If your managers are worth their salt, they'll look at the big picture, and not micromanage each function. If function A (the five course meal) comes in at 37%, but function B (the wine and cheese) at 28%, and at the end of the month you're sitting at 33%... all is good.

 

Bury your entire cost of goods used in your menu... if bone in Boston Butt runs you $5 a pound, and you get a 60% yield, then your cost per pound served is $8.33. Then you use that bone for your pork stock, but you standardize that recipe with the bone cost at $5 per pound.

 

Good luck. And be sure to stand your ground if your managers try giving you the gears. Remember, your job is to MANAGE... not to do everything. If you are doing the grunt work, you are NOT doing your job.

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

My functions range from receptions to charity events to wine dinners to tastings. Some are plated most are buffett. I dont really have managers its not like a restraunt, I wish it was. when it comes to the kitchen staff i dont have any sous chefs line cooks or even prep cooks I do everything. Ocassionally Ill bring a few guys in to help but manily I do all the work. Our Exec, Director plans the wedding and runs off of preset menus Mostly, Some times ppl want other items and if so we sit and talk about those before choices are made. On average my price per person is 8-12 per person. On some higher end events it goes upu to 20 but not often. I really appreciate you time and options with this. I want to do the best I can and am greatful for your help and expertise.

 

Thanx Blake

post #6 of 19

If you tell us the menu, type of service, time of service amount of guest, type of guest, type of function. we may be able to help you and stop you from over producing which makes cost higher. Or under producing and running out of food.  33% food cost on banquet it way to high. One can't come up with a selling price until they know the cost. I have been in Banquet facilities where our volume and sales were so high, I averaged an 11% food cost, my employer asked me what I was giving them, Newspaper? But on a volume of 1000 covers per week in only banquet and no  ala carte ,this can be done. I would say average banquet only 20%-23%.

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 19

Ed... I'm going on what he's telling me. The food's been sold already. Budget is set. It's now up to him to come in under budget.

 

My bigger concern here is that the owners sound like they're trying to save all their cash on labour. We have an "Exec. Chef" with no sous chefs, no line cooks, no prep cooks... smells funny to me. It also smells like burnout.

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you. Any help I can get would be great.

 

Event Friday May 27th Time 11am Buffett 225 People

 

Salad- Mixed Greens, Cherry tom., Cucumbers w/ Maple Vin.( Maple Syrup, mayo, white wine vin, S&P)

 

 

Entrees-

Carved Pork Loin

BBQ Chicken

Pasta Primevera w/ Basil Pesto

 

Veg/Starch-

Roasted Red Pot.

Seasonal Veg w/ Balsamic Glaize

 

 

Rolls

Butter

 

Iced tea

water

coffee.

 

 

 

Thanl you for your help. I would love to get my food cost down that would be wonderful. Right now its 6-7 per person for this event.

 

 

Blake

 

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

 I took this job because nothing else was around that seemed like what i wanted but i respect your opinions fully. I live in winchester Va The closes Metropolitan area is atleast 60 miles from me and with gas well im kinda stuck. This is not the best postion to be in but i ve got to work with what i have.

 

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

The Event listed above is one of 5 that weekend all buffetts all different menus.

post #11 of 19

I wish you a lot of luck as you are entering a part of the biz that can make or break an operation.  Not to put too much pressure on, but it is that big a deal.  It's up to you if you think you can handle it, but each place has it's own dynamic so specific it's impossible to give "general" tips. Is there any way you can get a run-through by the current-exec chef or owner for the first few months?  If they don't have anyone to do that, there may be problems you do not want to get involved in, but if you do.  Plan to spend a LOT of time out of the kitchen going over numbers.

 

post #12 of 19

If they charge *$12 pp .thats  low end catering, nothing fancy.  Here is what I estimate

 

3-  3 pound boxes of mesclin  (mesclin goes a long way)  2 1/2 ounce dressing pp  or( buy prechopped mixed greens)- 2 tomatoes pp-  1 slice cuke pp  or if you chop your own  its 5 people per head iceburg  average.

 

1/4 pound loin pp     1/4 small chicken pp   glazed with sauce and baked    12 pounds raw pasta  sauce about 3 ounces pp mixed in

although  loin is higher cost its uniform slices and easier for you to cut and cook

 

vege   16 pounds per 100 people   potato approxx 65 lbs.(roasted)

 

rolls=  men about 1 1/2 pp   woman about 3/4 pp  butter 1 1/2 pats pp    water who cares all they can drink     coffee 20  6 ounce cups per gallon   1 lb coffee electic perc =about 59-60 cups   milk 2 ounces pp sugar 1 1/2 pack per person  swt/low  and some t bags

 

I dont know if your feeding normal people  or gorillas but this is a rough idea.. YOU  NEED HELP  dont let these guys kill you . I would charge a min of 19.95 pp for this + tax and tip 18%  You cant even get out of Mcdonalds for under $4..

 

For 1 guy this is a lot of work do you wash dishes and cleanup to???  GOOD LUCK

 

If this is self serve buffet you have no control if it is served you do.

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 #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you Chef Edb,

 

I included wate and ice because the event center is on a sulfur spring so we have to use bottled water and bagged ice. My plan for today is to convince them that I need more hands with me to pull this weekend off. I appreciate the breakdown and totally understand the 12pp , but theyve set it at 7pp is this even possible or am I screwed from the start.

 

Thanx Blake

 

post #14 of 19

Wait. I'm confused...

 

what are they CHARGING per person?

post #15 of 19

Oh what the hell, Tell your boss to give it for free.  Seriously tell them"" Don't come to me and tell me about food cost""

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 #16 of 19

You have 5 buffets over the weekend, and have no help?......Run for the hills!

post #17 of 19

If you are still their Monday, let us know?

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 #18 of 19

I am just a dumb line cook, but it sounds like you were desperate for a job and these guys can sell the service well but have no clue how to run it and they were desperate too... I would be crapping my pants if I were you... Here is a book to get you pointed in the right direction. I know it is to late now, but it will help you understand some of the basics. However, as a sous you should understand most of this stuff already. I am sorry you have had to go through this though. I can not imagine your state of mind on the Thursday before the events.  


Edited by RGM2 - 6/4/11 at 11:46pm
post #19 of 19
I have confidence that you're still there... Next week start your prep early!! I have accidently done one of these jobs before(new city, great website, great reviews.... Get there on day one and walk into a beautiful hotel with the smallest kitchen ever and my only help was two dishwashers... I did it
For a year and a half and effen loved it.

I'll check in tomorrow night and see if you've made it through, if so I'll give you my old schedule, It made life so easy and I was doing a half mill a month in biznas in peek seasons(they sucked but it Is doable granted I think my average pph was 75$...)

Best way to be a better chef is to overcome all the bull and learn with your mistakes

S****y owners = welcome to the business 85% of owners are s****y
Tough time making food cost = welcome to the life
Stress= deal with it

Oh the list is endless but the

Satisfaction of effen making happen is worth all the hell you go through
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs

Gear mentioned in this thread:

ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Food Cost and Budget........ Please Help