Best software for calculating food cost?

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Joined Jan 22, 2014

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 @ [email protected]

Best Regards,

Giggz

Costing & Pricing Executive
 
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Joined May 29, 2014
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.  
 
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Hi John,

I saw your comment about kitchen cut.  Does it calculate based on the cost of US foods?  I noticed that the cost of the program is listed in GBP
 
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Pastry15,  I believe he was referencing US Foods the company, not the country.    I have purchased from US Foods in the past and they have a food costing program built into their web site.
 
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I wasn't referring to the company US foods, I was referring to the fact that Kitchen cut software was showing british pounds not us currency, and wanted to make sure the recipe food costs were based on US food cost, and not European.  Thanks for the input though
 
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Joined Feb 2, 2015
Lots of replies saying you don't need a program, probably true for a personal chef. But, if you have dozens *(or hundreds) of recipes it is great to have a program where if the cost of your ingredients change, you can just change the cost of the items in an ingredient "library" and it will recalculate the cost of all of your recipes all at once. So if I have butter, chicken and wild mushrooms in 9 recipes I only need to type in new prices for those 3 items and the costing of all 12 recipes is adjusted. It is also great for scaling recipes, as I often do. I may need the recipe for 35 one day and 245 the next time. That is not a costing issue, but that ability is built into most costing programs.
 
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Joined Feb 7, 2015
jfry28,

I've developed my own primitive spreadsheet that does what you describe for my new personal chef business, but with just 2 dozen dishes, it's already cumbersome.  That's why I'm looking for software to replace it. 
 
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I just tried Kitchen Cut.  It insists on using metric units of measure, a deal-breaker for us in the States. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif  
 
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Joined Feb 16, 2015
Over the years I have developed all my programs using Microsoft Excel that works from Inventory to Menu Costing linking cells from one program to another. It would be difficult to explain all the details in this reply, but if you need help and you want to be successful, I can be helpful.

Chef Mel

[email protected]
 
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Joined May 26, 2015
The best program is at restaurantexcel.com it has everything you need. Master inventory list with product yields, Printable recipe cards, Recipe food costs, Printable order guides, Printable individual vendor guides, price check sheets, menu food costing, Printable Menu food costs, printable prep sheet, Conversion charts, Inventory sheets and Calculator.
 
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Joined Jul 2, 2015
I am blown away by the lack of food costing prowess I am seeing in these threads.  I would like to posit a thought for you to consider.

That 15 lb. strip... requires trim.  The yield of an average whole striploin is somewhere south of 80% (if you trim it properly and back out your vein steaks).  Now your cost for 15 lbs. of steak just got turned into 13 lbs. of usable product.  Now you go from $.94 an ounce to $1.39 or from $11.28 per 12 oz. steak to $16.64 per steak.

Assuming the rest of your pricing is all the same (even though your yields on onion and lack of yield on mushrooms is modest at best) your price per plate is now $17.69 with a food cost of 66% vs. 45%.  That 21% margin swing on profit is why people need a food cost program.  Just the training alone you get from buying a food cost program is worth its weight in gold... so silly little errors like this are not missed.

BTW, not accounting for this yield would have resulted in an under purchase of product which would have left the consumer agitated or the chef misrepresenting the portion amounts on the menu.  A food costing tool is just as useful for forecasting your purchases as it is for calculating your cost.  The only profit comes from the bottomline after calculating what you bought and what you earned.  How you buy the product is critical.  Leaving the customer short on expectation could result in not being called back.  Buying too much product means you are going to be eating well but the perfect balance means everyone is happy,because the math is right and that means money in the bank account!
 
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Joined Oct 23, 2013
I am blown away...

That 15 lb. strip... requires trim.  The yield of an average whole striploin is somewhere south of 80% (if you trim it properly and back out your vein steaks).  Now your cost for 15 lbs. of steak just got turned into 13 lbs. of usable product.  


... so silly little errors like this are not missed.

15 x .8 (80%) = 13?

I got 12, mahbe my software broke.
 
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Joined Sep 12, 2012
I know its been a while but wanted to share that I found a great food cost software called QSROnline. If you are looking for similar software I would highly recommend checking it out at www.qsronline.com - you can even get a free trial to try it out!

Have a great day! :)
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
 
I just tried Kitchen Cut.  It insists on using metric units of measure, a deal-breaker for us in the States. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif  
  O.k., look, you're driving down a highway and every car you see has tire chains on, is farting along at 40 mph, and has at least 20 car lengths between each car.  Now, you'd figure it would be prudent to do the same, right?

In terms of food costing, inventory, and scaling out recipies, the imperial weight system is probably the worst, most frustrating and mistake prone systems to use.  Why?

Base units are 16's,  Sixteen oz to the lb.  After 1 oz things really get weird, because then you go to fractions, and 'puter programs will use decimal fractions.  Bad. We're Chefs here, decimal fractions are O.K. for machinists and rockets scientists.  An oz is 28 grams, which is alot if you're dealing with spices, booze, or even tenderloin.  But even that oz or fraction thereof was dirt cheap salt, a mistake in reading decimal fractions could cause a lot of mistakes in a batch of whatever the cook/baker was scaling out.

Most important is money.  Money is in base units of 10's, not 16's, right?

Look, I've been cooking for 35 yrs now starting  back in the day when the rest of the English speaking world used "imperial gallons" (160 fl oz) and the 'mericans used "U.S. gallons" (128 fl. oz).  The biggest "A-ha" moment for me was working for a Chicago-ean in Singapore who refused to have any imperial measurements in his kitchens--4 of them to be precise. This guy had every recipie scaled out to the last gram, and had food costs that any Chef would dream of

My "program" is a simple spreadsheet that I update anytime I get a price change.  First column is the weight of the item--say a 25 kg sack of flour, next column is price, then date, last column is price per kg.  This is the most important one.  Everything is converted into $/ kg, flour, eggs, butter, meat, booze, oil, milk, everything.  Doesn't matter if the packing is in imperial or metric, it's the price per kg that I want and need.

Thus, my recipies call for 200 grams of chicken, 24 grams of butter, 10 grams oil, 30 grams wine,  etc  Every items is multiplied by the $/kg amount of the ingredient.  This also makes it very easy doing inventory calucations
 
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Joined Feb 3, 2016
 
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.
You might want to disclose that you're obviously being paid to promote this program since your face is plastered all over it's website. Just saying... I doubt your opinion here is unbiased.
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
 
You might want to disclose that you're obviously being paid to promote this program since your face is plastered all over it's website. Just saying... I doubt your opinion here is unbiased.
Hmmmmm... "cloud based" calculating software that is significantly cheaper....  Which would also mean that the Website or host would have access to the Chef's information....

Information like how much the Chef pays per unit, and more importantly the volume the Chef purchases of certain items.

Information that any broadliner sales wreck--uh, 'scuse me--, sales rep., would pay for...

Which would explain the "significantly cheaper" cost of said service.....

A-yup,  a $2 calculator is a pretty good....
 
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Joined Apr 4, 2016
 
I'm old fashioned.....A $2 calculator does the job for me.
I used to do this for the longest time :) but I have seen some benefit in using different programs for better long-term organizing.
 
I've tried using http://costbrain.com  which seems to be another alternative to kitchencut.  Kitchencut also looks interesting, I'm scheduling a demo, and also scheduled a demo for costbrain. Using just a calculator takes a ton of time. Using software even for a small fee seems worth it if it helps track spending and food margins.
CostBrain looks nice and simple, I might check that out. I think ive used the KitchenKut a while ago and didn't really like it.
 
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