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Best software for calculating food cost?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I am a personal chef expanding into catering.  I need a good program to help with calculating food costs.  Any suggestions?  Pros/Cons?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 24

I've been using MasterCook for about 12 years as a personal chef as well as a restaurant owner and it has served me well, especially when the price is about $20

 

Take a look at  MasterCook V14 , the new owners of MasterCook who are planning to upgrade it as well.

 

It does recipe costing per serving, menu costing, shopping lists, recipe scaling and, if you use FireFox as your browser and RecipeFox as an add-on, you can capture internet recipes with a single click from over 300 websites, even more than one at a time.
 

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
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post #3 of 24

I'm curious why you need a program? It's a very simple process to figure out food cost.

Here's an example and bear with me on the prices because i'm making them up.

 

Grilled Strip Steak with sauteed mushrooms and onions for $27

 

 

Let's say the steak you get is $15 a pound and you buy a ten pound strip. That's 10x15= $150 strip

You have 160 oz of steak and it cost $150...so 150/160 will get you $0.94 per oz

You serve a 12 oz steak. So 12x0.94= $11.28 for your steak

 

The shittake mushrooms you buy are $20 a case and you get 10 pounds per case 

You have 160 oz of mushrooms and it cost $20...so 20/160 will get you $0.13 per oz

You serve 4 oz mushrooms. So 4x0.13= $0.52 for your mushrooms

 

 

 

The onions you buy are $9 per bag and you get 50 pounds per case 

You have 800 oz of onions but after peeling you can only use 700 oz and it cost $9...so 9/700 will get you $0.02 per oz

You serve 4 oz mushrooms. So 4x0.02= $0.08 for your onions

 

You use 1 oz of butter to saute the mushrooms and onions together.

Butter is $4 a pound so 4/16= $0.25 an ounce

You use 1 oz so 1x0.25= $0.25

 

Salt is always said to be $0.10 as is pepper so that's an extra $0.20 per dish

 

So you add all the totals for the cost of the food

11.28+0.52+0.08+0.25+0.20= $12.25

 

For the Food cost % you take what you pay for the ingredients divided by what it's sold for.

12.25/27= 45%

 

That may see like a high food cost but it's most likely close to a steak entree. Plus you'll be making $14.75 for every steak you sell.

 

So you're catering? You cater a party for 50 steaks and you spend 16 hours preparing the food.

 

50x14.75= $737.50

 

737.50/16= 46.01 an hour...not too bad!!!

 

 

I know there's a thousnad other things to consider other than simply the ingredients, ie gas, water, elecricity, waste, advertisements, accidents, the list goes on. But you were simply asking for food cost. There's the longest possible answer :)

post #4 of 24

Agree You dont need program  make your own geared to your needs.... You know your cost and you know size of portion  in ounces, the rest is  easy.

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...

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post #5 of 24

After reading ADB and EDB responses, I realized I misread the OP and have to concur, for costing standard menu items, a simple spreadsheet or even pencil and paper is all that is necessary. A Google search will turn up several free spreadsheets, try searching culinary spreadsheets
 

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
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post #6 of 24

I'm old fashioned.....A $2 calculator does the job for me.

post #7 of 24

I've just taken over a kitchen that has had no costing/controls set in place.... being rather overwhelmed with the task at hand I was looking for a program that wouldn't break the bank but user friendly for me to literally input the information/prices and or recipes and it would spit out my food cost for that menu item.... is this program master cook what you would recommend? I would normally do it via spreadsheets, but time is of essence as well i'm trying to lessen the load on my plate..... thanks for any help! Nicole

post #8 of 24

Nicole,

 

Mastercook might work, however, Mastercook does NOT interface with purchase invoices!

 

All pricing must be manually input by ingredient and it does not provide separation by vendor. It would be tedious to adjust ingredient costs on any periodic basis.

 

With new ownership, perhaps the ingredient pricing process may change.

 

Remember, it is only a $20 program!
 

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
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post #9 of 24

Pete;

Thoughts on IPro food cost software?

http://www.FoodSoftware.com/default.asp

Thanks! Nicole

post #10 of 24

Not familiar with it, I've downloaded the demo and will get back to you in a few days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicole Borges View Post

Pete;

Thoughts on IPro food cost software?

http://www.FoodSoftware.com/default.asp

Thanks! Nicole

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
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post #11 of 24

Master cook is the worst program you can use. Besides all the problems, if you ever need to transfer it to a Mac, good luck. It can be done but you will get a few headaches. Closest program I found that is thus far the best one out there is Cookn for Mac. The only thing missing on it though is the food cost for each dish, spice,marinade you made. Far superior than MCook. 

post #12 of 24

Mastercook 14 is in beta testing (I know, because I'm a beta tester lol.gif) with release scheduled shortly. Bookmark http://www.mastercook.com/ for updates, just looked and the schedule is for release this month (June 2013)

 

Though only for PCs, the new owners of Mastercook are projecting a "cross platform", i.e. Mac, Linux, etc.,  version will follow the release of v14.

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
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post #13 of 24

Hi Pete,

 

I have bought IPro months back, but just don't have any clue how to use it. Even I have read the help topic, I found it is very complicated. Can helps please?

 

Gphng

post #14 of 24

Hi Nicole, I have bought Ipro months back, I have read through help topic and still don't understand. Seem's to be very complicated. Any advice?

Regards

gphng

post #15 of 24

Update!

 

Mastercook 14 will be available starting at 6:00 am on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 for download!

 

I believe current users of v11 may receive a discount.

 

Mastercook 14 includes a one year subscription to a new Mastercook web site that provides on-line storage of your recipes, accessible with any internet capable device
 

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
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post #16 of 24

Does anyone know if MC allows for copy/paste of recipe text? I have an archive of recipes I want to add but am not finding a software that will allow copy/paste.

Thanks!

mdk

post #17 of 24

Mastercook does have an Import Assistant that allows copy/paste.

 

Additionally, Mastercook will directly import text files with a minor amount of editing and formatting, not Word files, text, through the use of a generic import. It does require the separation of the sections of a recipe in a specific order as well as the insertion of a recipe start identifier such as @@@@@.

 

Also, through the use of http://www.notetab.com and some http://recipetools.gotdns.com/, the process can be easily automated.
 

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
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post #18 of 24

Thank you! I am close to purchase time and will look more carefully at MC.
mdk

post #19 of 24

Ok so I have read quite all of the responses and though they are all sound advise I will throw my two cents in anyway!

I have used a program called Resort Executive from http://www.resortsoftware.com for many years. I started with their program called resort chef and over the yeas as my roles have changed I updated to resort restaurant then resort hotel and exec. Read about them to determine which is best for you.

Why?......

Advantages - Although, as a few have said recipe costing is easy and can be done with a simple spread sheet (true!) I chose to begin a recipe database with these programs, and through trail and error I have come up with a system that works for me and I can take with me to any job in any part of the world without re-writing recipe costings. The program allows for accurate costings...... Far, far beyond and far more accurate than a spreadsheet will ever do for you. If you take the time input yields / wastage etc it's amazing what your actual costs are! The exec and restaurant programs allow for vendors, invoice input and updates your costing each and every time as well as the ability to do menu engineering, prep lists, market lists, recipe scaling, order list per supplier (that can be printed to a fax sheet). Recipe costing has become easier as now all my base stocks and base sauces, dressing etc are separated and I just add them to a new "plated" recipe and it has served me well..... I have over 500 recipes in there now and it is easy to search, i have categorized them into multiple segments ie - salads, vegetarian, Asian, French ...etc ....and if I want to find, say a vegan French salad I just click on those tabs and the list appears!

 

Down side - To get it set up takes time and occasional frustration! - Getting vendors in, each item, the cost and purchase weights etc is a lot of work. .....And I wish they had a cloud based search feature for a phone app!

 

The hotel and Executive version allows for multiple outlets, (executive version allows multiple venues) and labor costing (though I don't tend to use that feature). I have been part of three restaurant openings and a resort hotel with multiple outlets and banqueting over the past six yeas and with a few tweaks here and there it has been a great and accurate tool. Though it is only as accurate as the information you put into it.

 

...... and I'm obsessed with order!

 

Good luck!

post #20 of 24

I have used many systems over the years including

Resort Chef

Kitman

Star Chef + Fourth Hospitality

Marketboomer

CAlcmenu

plus many others over my 30 years in the industry

 

However the best I have seen on the market that is built by chefs for chefs and is by far the easiest system to operate, which also does everything the above systems and more is Kitchen CUT.

 

 www.kitchencut.com

 

It has International consultancy advice and features and every form, tool, calculator you could wish for in the management part of the site.

The system is cloud based and is superb either for businesses or chefs to take with them and develop and fully costed portfolio of recipes and menus accessible anywhere in the World.

Many of the top chefs in the industry have endorsed this website and it is constantly developing and improving all the time. unlike other systems on the market.

The other superb thing about this system it is a fraction of the cost.

post #21 of 24

Another option to look at is through your main-liners ordering software (assuming you have one).  Both Reinhart and US. Foods have recipe programs that do costing and scaling and they draw from current prices in their catalog, so there is no need for you to update yourself.

post #22 of 24

Hello,

 

A.K.A Giggz, working as  Costing and Pricing Executive for  Lufthansa Airline Catering Unit.

did a good combined excel sheet that help to calculate the food cost.

 

For more help you can email @ Kareem.auf@lsgskychefs.com.eg

 

 

Best Regards,

Giggz

Costing & Pricing Executive


Edited by KareemAuf87 - 7/15/14 at 4:59am
post #23 of 24

It really depends on how intensive you need the program to be.  The ideal system is tied into your POS so that inventory management is comprehensive, but this often requires expensive add-ons, especially with Halo or Aloha.  Software like CostGuard, KitchenCut and MasterCook have a lot of features and are all fine products, with features that often extend into other operations.  Simpler programs like CostGizmo are inexpensive but efficient calculators, with little learning curve, useful for most small restaurant and catering business.  There are a lot of free spreadsheets, but they usually don't take care of the most tedious part of costing, which is conversions between weight and volume (or count).  Since recipes are generally measured in volume but most goods are purchased by weight (at least in the U.S.), you want a calculator that can allow for easy conversions.  Optimally, you should be able to enter the ingredients as purchased, establish a conversion once at any scale, and enter your recipes as made.  

 

The question is really what do you want to do with the costing information.  If it needs to dynamically integrate into your daily operations, then you'll need to put some money into comprehensive software that has all the whistles and bells you need.  If you just need to maintain accurate Cost of Goods by recipe, a good Excel program or spreadsheet can serve your needs for under sixty bucks. It doesn't matter if the software has a thousand features, if you are only going to use a handful.  

post #24 of 24
For more on food cost info and resources visit www.foodcostacademy.com.
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