# Best software for calculating food cost?

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by c0ffeemom, Oct 18, 2012.

1. ### c0ffeemom

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

Thanks!

2. ### petemccracken

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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
Product: 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.

Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2014

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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

queenbea917 likes this.
4. ### chefedb

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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.

5. ### petemccracken

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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

6. ### chefbuba

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

7. ### nicole borges

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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

8. ### petemccracken

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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!

nicole borges and jfryw8 like this.
9. ### nicole borges

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10. ### petemccracken

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

11. ### skibo

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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.

12. ### petemccracken

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Mastercook 14 is in beta testing (I know, because I'm a beta tester /img/vbsmilies/smilies/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.

13. ### gphng

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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

14. ### gphng

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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

15. ### petemccracken

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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

16. ### mdkchicago

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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

17. ### petemccracken

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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.

18. ### mdkchicago

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

19. ### cooking monster

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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!

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