Question about calculating food cost % using Peters formula for a brunch item.

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by x86bsd, Aug 16, 2012.

1. x86bsd

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We are a small live event venue that does a sunday brunch. We charge 16.95 for the brunch. After our latest chef was let go I have taken over brunch. To try and make the owner some money for a change I have started to greatly reduce the costs of the items served and simplify them. For instance, one item I have started to serve is biscuits and gravy. I grew up on that and its getting really hard to find that these days. Anyway my calculation for FC % per Peters formula in this example is: Total Cost/(12 sales * 16.95) / 100 = 6.24%. So if I read his formula right, the Total cost for me to make 40 servings of biscuits is \$12.70 / (12 sales last sunday * 16.95) / 100 = 6.24%. But I think thats not quite accurate, I dont think I can calculate FC  % using the same 12 ppl paying 16.95 for each item on the buffet. Wont I have to add to each of my recipe costs what a serving size is and subtract how many servings were eaten from how many i made? Biscuits would be easy enough but calculating per ounce how much gravy is left would suck. Surely thats not what everyone does? 6.24 seems impossible considering most of the posts on FC % seem to say somewhere in the 30's is where it should be in a well run restaurant. So I believe my formula is wrong and I am not counting the right things. Any thoughts?

Thanks!

2. petemccracken

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I'm not familiar with the Peter's Formula, but take a look at: http://www.foodserviceresource.com/Articles/FoodCostBasics.pdf for some solid food cost information.

Food cost percentage is fairly simple, it is the total dollars spent for food divided by the total sales dollars for the same period of time. That takes into account waste, trim, spoiled, burned, and served food.

Anything other than actual food costs (invoices and receipts) is a guesstimate! No matter how fancy the formula.

Anything other than actual sales is a guesstimate.

3. x86bsd

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Sorry not peter, pete's. Your formula that is in several posts here.

4. petemccracken

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/img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif oops! Click me a reference, obviously I either made a mistake or didn't clearly explain what I was attempting. I certainly did not recognize what you posted./img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif

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6. x86bsd

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http://www.cheftalk.com/t/69702/costing-out-a-buffet

I had thought at first to do it on a per recipe basis, as in calculate the FC % for the gravy recipe and then FC % of the biscuit recipe. Then I woke up and realized I have to add the total cost of *each* of the recipes i serve for brunch together and take that amount divided by the number of sales in dollars (say 12 people eat brunch each paying 16.95, 12 * 16.95) times 100 to get my Food Cost %. So my spreadsheet formula as of now takes the sum of each of my recipes TOTAL COST cells, and divides that amount by my number of sales cells * \$16.95 and divides that by 100 to get my FC %. I think I have it right now and I understand it. But I will see if you can confirm I understand it now or if I am still off in lala land.

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8. petemccracken

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Ok, let me see if I understand.

You have twelve (12) people each day that pay \$16.95 to eat from your buffet, correct? If so, you gross sales for the day is 12*\$16.95 = \$203.40

If you used \$60 of food to prepare for that day's buffet, then you food cost percentage = (\$60/\$203.40)*100 = 0.29498*100 = 29.5% (rounded).

If you are not charging separately for a specific menu item, i.e. biscuits & gravy, you cannot calculate a food cost percentage on that menu item because you do not have a sales number!

So, with a buffet, you divide the total food cost of the buffet by the total buffet sales, which will yield a decimal, multiply by 100 and you will get a buffet food cost percentage.

Now, say tomorrow, you prepare the same buffet, i.e. you use \$60 of food, but you only have six (6) customers at \$16.95. Your gross sales is \$101.70 but your food cost is still \$60, so your food cost percentage = (\$60/\$101.70)*100 = 0.58997*100 = 58.997, round to 60%!

Of course, if you are able to save some of the buffet for tomorrow, then you deduct that food cost from today and apply it to tomorrow's food cost, that is where inventory figures into the calculation, beginning inventory plus food purchases minus ending inventory = cost of food used.

tjsbeer likes this.
9. chefross

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I want to weigh in here.

If you are taking the total cost of the food that you are serving on a buffet line plus the labor and overhead to open the door, and divide that by \$16.95 that will give you the number of people that you must serve that day to make a profit.

If you don't reach that number, you are losing money.

None of the food that was in those chaffing dishes is usable for another purpose afterwards, it must be thrown out.

Food items left in warmers that never went out to the line is okay.

I don't understand what the problem is here?

10. chefedb

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I figure everything by ounces as all portions are served by ounces . I do my own butchering so I also have to do butcher test, or grossas is delivered weight to finished trimmed servable weight again by the ounce. I watch itg very closely. Anything left has to be watched because their are things that you can't use again.. Also the more the volume in most cases  the less the food cost.

11. x86bsd

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Pete,

Yes you understood correctly regardless of my poor wording.

I know exactly what my formula is now thanks to your explanation. I appreciate it very much.

Thank you all for the explanations and ideas. They were most helpful.

12. chefedb

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iIf you feed leftover buffett to staff, make sure you add it in at cost and the selling price for proper %s

13. xerp

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Who does a buffet for 12 people? no less than 30? Wouldn't you make more money doing a plated breakfast than having the food go out on a buffet when only 12 people are eating it on average.. Then you have to add in the cost of the polish on the schaffers and the fuel for the sternos to keep your food warm.. its not a big deal but if its only 12 - 20 people on average do a plated breakfast special it will be easier to control your cost and salvage leftovers that were not out on a buffet to die or for people to drool or sneeze over. Just my opinion

14. chefedb

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Whoever does a buffet for 12 people desrves to lose \$\$\$. If I was forced to do it I would tell client  \$35.00 per person food guarantee and this is what I will give you on buffet in this amount  \$35.00 x 12= \$420.0-0 plus tax and tip plus open bar billed by the drink. Then it is all worth it.

\$35.00 would be minimum If 20 people show its still 420 ++ and they can take food with them(this is called minimum guarantee)

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I don't thing its that easy to calculate the F C based on your brunch item sale alone you need to do a full inventory  weekly you may cost each recipe but to find the F C for each item sold you will go crazy with the results its bad enough we struggle each week to come up with a reasonable F C and no matter how you try and watch your waste and where the food goes still its an endless battle all you can do is NEVER STOP TRYING