Costing a menu

Joined Jun 1, 2010
Hello all,

I'm a former line cook/sous chef (10 years ago) and am building a business plan to see if a restaurant idea will work.  I need to crunch the numbers to find out how long it would take me to pay back my loans and start making a profit. 

I'm starting with a menu, and then I'll work out my food costs.  Can you suggest a place I can go --online-- that lists the costs of foods?  For example, "flour, AP, 50#, $20,"  or  "tomato paste, 24 oz, $5."  I think I can work out the numbers myself if I can just get the prices for the materials.

Also, do you think the Mastercook software would make this easier? 

Thanks for your advice,

Joined Aug 26, 2010
IMHO, you have only a few choices. 

1.  Sign up with a food service company, but the downside is that the pricing they will offer is not great.  I'm going through this right now, where I'm seeing generic cheese prices for 75c over block, which is absurd.  The prices are very bad when compared to Sams and/or Costco.

2.  Go to one of the "cash and carry" restaurant stores, such as Restaurant Depot or GFS Marketplace and price items there.  Restaurant Depot requires a membership, but you might be able to get a "one day pass" by talking to the manager.  Membership is free, but you have to have a business license.  GFS is open to the public.

3.  Go with retail pricing at Sams or Costco (or BJ's if you have one).  You can also try Costco Business Delivery, which only is in select markets in CA, but at least you can see PRICING. .  The selection isn't great, but you can see a lot more than just what Costco carries in the warehouses.
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Joined Sep 18, 2008
Not sure where you would look for pricing besides YOUR local supply houses/store.I find MasterCook VERY helpful, but you STILL need actual prices which, initially, is a pain, but quickly becomes easier...

justin abare hoyt

You could put together a list of ingredients and give a food service company a call for a quote. This might get you close enough to get some rough costs. This might be easiest if you know someone in the business that has a good relationship with one of the companies. Good luck to ya!
Joined Jun 1, 2010
Thanks all.  The Costco Business Delivery link was just what I needed.  It might not be exact, but for the purposes of the business plan, it's perfect for my needs.

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