Food costing advice

Joined Jul 19, 2017

Could I have some input and advice on the quickest way how you all cost recipes/menus.

I think I am costing accurate, but it takes so long.... e.g trying to find out how many portions I get from the recipe ( takes ages to get it down to one portion of the recipe calls for more )and breaking it down etc.?

Example, If I was asked to put a Tdh menu on tonight it would not ready if I had to cost it all out.

if I was putting on a special today, as you all know as chefs we don't always have that time and that would be the same.

Do you cost every single ingredient?

Do you cost just the main part i.e the protein in the dish and just put a price in for the garnishes and veg?

I hope this makes sense and would be greatly appreciated for advice
Joined Jul 15, 2013
For protein center presentation plates I always take the price of the portion I paid for, multiply by 3, and add a dollar for each additional item on the plate (starch, veg)

So for an example say I paid $6 a portion for salmon, I multiply and have $18, plus rice, seasonal glaze, and zucchini equals $21 a plate.
Joined Aug 7, 2013
Repeatedly costing individual items can be tedious, but as in any business, keeping track of every penny is essential. For the most part, market price fluctuations aren't that wide, so keeping a matrix in a program like excel can be an easily accessible tool to help cut a lot of research time.

Let's say you're gonna make a dish with a dairy cream and cheese. You just look at your matrix which should have the ingredient, unit purchase price and price per ounce or each.

Dairy Prices.png

And then you can turn your recipe into a cost matrix (not dairy related, but an example of cost record):

Red Jel Cost.png

It may take some work to get the cost matrix for all of your groceries done, but it's damn well worth it. You can update it whenever the air smells like market fluctuation. Not only that, but in the future, should you decide to do an item you rarely do, you'll already have the recipe costed out as in immediately above^^. Save. Save. Save.
Joined Jul 7, 2017
Don't forget to account for your soft costs in any recipe costing. No matter what you are making, there are always products associated with preparation that cost money. Typically I will add 10% to account for this. Example; If you are making chicken parmesan, you have to account for the plastic wrap and gloves you are using to pound your chicken, the oil you are using to fry it, the kosher salt you may be finishing with, the parsley you sprinkle on top, etc. Very few people account for these things on recipes because they can vary so much. Cover your backside and build in a cushion. Also, the multiply by three method is a pretty old and safe approach, but what is your F/C budget. Should it be 28% or 18%. Once you know your budget, take the raw cost of your ingredients and divide by the percent you want to meet. If COGs is $3.25 and your budget is 25% then it's 3.25/.25 = $13.00 + 10% soft cost $1.30 = sell price of $14.30. You can never go wrong with that formula.
Joined Jun 28, 2017
I have an excel template I use for costing out recipes for my small scale baking business. It only deals with ingredients as purchased, not labor/overhead/packaging/paper goods/soft costs/edible portion calculations etc. But I'm happy to share it in exchange for feedback on it's functionality if you'd like.

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