# Pricing Salad Bars by weight

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by puckval, Jun 8, 2012.

1. ### puckval

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Hello all,

Helping out a friend of mine doing some cafeteria work.  Being my whole life has been in restaurants or resorts I have never had to price a salad by the ounce.  We have a price that was set by the previous staff that he has just been using but what would be the proper way to figure out the cost?  Figure out what your most expensive item is and adjust from that?

TIA

2. ### chefchrism

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My best advice would be to take all the items including dressings and break them down into a per ounce price

eg. Tomatoes \$2/lb = .125/ounce

lettuce 5/lb       = .31/ounce

once you do this for all items average the per ounce price then add money to cover overhead, labour and profit.

and if your using take containers account for them in the price as well

Last edited: Jun 8, 2012
3. ### petemccracken

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If you're talking about free access salad bars, an average price per ounce may lead to severe losses! Especially with expensive ingredients. Four ounces of dressed lettuce is not the same as four ounces of shrimp Caesar salad!

For prepared salads, i.e. potato, pasta, pre-mixed tossed, cost out the recipe and divide by the recipe yield.

4. ### meezenplaz

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Chef Pete's right of course, depends on what ingreds are in the salad.

*shrugs* easiest way would be to price by each salad type, e.g.,  chef, potato, etc,

scoop up a normal serving of each, plop it on a scale, and divide the weight in ounces

into the price/per serving you'd charge for that particular salad.

If you want to SELL by the oz, may be more practical to determine a per-pound price,

the way deli's do it, then divide by 16.

But pricing by individ ingred cost would be difficult to stay consistent, and pricing leafy

salads this way would be nealrly impossible IMO.

5. ### puckval

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Thank you all for your responses.  I should have been more clear.  This is a salad bar that has two types of greens and then toppings that they can add as they want.  The whole plate is weighed at the end.  The toppings include everything from your standard peas and carrots to antibiotic free- free range chicken strips.  Since I have such a wide variance of cost/lb. I like the idea of averaging everything but how would I account for the chicken (most expensive item) being used much more than the vegetables (probably least expensive)?

Again TIA

6. ### foodnfoto

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I would list everything by per pound cost, then add a ranking to each item based on its popularity and projected frequency of ordering.

For example, you might list lettuce as a 5, chicken as 4, cucumbers 3, feta cheese 2, and olives as 1. Then add lettuce 5 times, chicken 4 etc, until you reach your total. Then divide by the total entries to get a weighted average. Include whatever to-go containers that you use each time as a 5.

Then divide by the reciprocal of the gross profit goal. For example, if your weighted average cost comes to \$1 per pound and you are aiming for a gross profit of 75% (or food cost of 25%) divide the \$1 by .25. That gives you a retail price of \$4 per pound.

7. ### cheflayne

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I would start tracking amounts of each ingredient used on the salad bar on a weekly basis. Divide each item by number of salad bar sales for the week. Figure out cost of each item. Add up costs. Divide that amount by sales of salad bar for the week. That will be your food cost. Adjust price accordingly.

8. ### michaelga

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here's another way... take your container, fill it with your most expensive ingredient (chicken?) then weigh it and figure out how much that will cost you... then take the cheapest and do the same...

This gives you the max / min "crazy" person portion cost.

Figure out what is likely reasonable - probably 2/3 cheap to 1/3 expensive if you are making the salads...2/3 expensive to 1/3 cheap if it is a pick-and-chew.

Once you have a 'sorta-kinda-cost' then you just add your overhead and profit to provide the final price per portion or plate.  Divide this 'portion' into a weight and then set the scale to charge XX per weight.

Cool thing is - most heavy items are the expensive items... cheaper items are likely lighter.

Scale your salad bar a bit on the high side and you will do ok.

Also cut your items to appropriate size, light things = large, heavy things = small.  This helps to standardize.

Mainly because people won't want to stand and scoop, scoop, scoop etc.

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