the spotlight is on me....its my time to shine

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by evilporkchop, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. evilporkchop

    evilporkchop

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    Ive been working in a family owned restaurant for some time now for the best boss Ive ever had.Hired as a busboy,Ive worked my way up to second in command in a little over a year showing creativity in the way I cook and work in the kitchen.One thing thats hindering is myinexperience working as a cook.I do plan attending culinairy school soon,since I now know this is what I want to do.The man in charge of the kitchen is a hard worker,but very simple minded.And recently the owner has been very frustrated because the lack of real leadership in the kitchen is causing expenses to go up .Too much food goes to the trash and portion control is a joke.No one really does ANY inventory,the chef and owner put in weekly food orders and pray it lasts.Greg the owner really appreciates his chef but its come to the point hes very frustrated with our high food costs and lack of control in the kitchen.I honestly think no one in the restaurant knows how much money we make from each item on the menu,or if anyone knows how much really goes to waste on a monthly basis.

    Where do I start?
    Ive now been given.the task of inventory but.would like.to go a step further and give my boss solid numbers and data on his restaurant so he knows where hes losing money and how to prevent losses and maximize profits.

    How do I go about figuring.this out?
    What is the gameplan and how do i implememt it?

    We are a fairly busy asian american restaurant with a kitchen staff of 5 seating about 60. We currently spend about 2300.a week on food, wich a good chunk if it is going to the trash in some way or form because no ones taking care of inventory and no one has a solid idea on how to manage this or food costs/portions/profits/pricing menu items.

    PLEASE HELP!
     
  2. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Start off with making a recipie for each item and then costing it out Every ingredient: spices, flour, cooking oil, garnishes/chopped herbs, so much for deepfrying an item. Everything.  This is gonna take time

    Then decide if that item is making you money, if not can you "tweak it" to make money, increase price, or drop the sucker.

    Portion sizes are part of the recipie, so they should be easy to recognize if over or under portioned.

    What is going into the garbage?  Spoiled food that is past expiry? Bad tasting food that was uncovered or dried up but theoretically safe to eat? Wrong cooked to order?  What are you doing with meat trimmings? Vegetable trimmings? How much waste is generated peeling vegetables? Why?  2nd quality veg will generate twice as much garbage as first rate, plus extra  labour, it is NOT cheaper.  Would it make sense to order in pre-peeled veg?

    Start off with a recipie for each item........
     
  3. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    This is where you should start. Come up with inventory sheets. Take the inventory. Track the inventory and create par usage sheets. Use the par sheets as an aid in ordering. Create waste log sheets. Everything that goes in trash gets recorded, weight and or volume, and why it was tossed.
    What are sales for a week? What food cost does the owner want?
     
    rbandu likes this.
  4. evilporkchop

    evilporkchop

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    How exactly do i cost out sugar?sauces?vegetables?
    How do i see what a menu it costs to make ? How do i correctly measure/weigh ingredients in a dish yo find out their price
    Alot of waste is generated from lack of keeping veggies /meat fresh and giving out way too
    Much food portionwise.Rigjt now,food servings are very inconsistant.
    Wasted food is not recorded neither is "shrinkage"
    We have quite a bit of vegetable.trimmings tossed out.Say we order a case of Chinesebroccvoli (30lbs) we only really use17-20 lbs the rest is waste.

    Fat left over from some of the beef is used for beef stock.
    Thers not much left over from chicken other than strands of fat.
     
  5. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Look, everything you buy is sold by weight--veg, flour, sugar, meat, etc. You pay X$ for X lbs of product.  Some stuff you have a waste loss, carrots have a bout a 10% loss, this has to be fctored into the cost of carrots

    Me, I'm a Canuck and lived in Europe, so I use the metric system with weights, soooooo much easier.  How much does a sack of flour cost?How much does it weigh?  Now it's easy to figure out the  cost/lb Then find out what it costs for 1 oz or 1/4 oz of flour. 

    Meat is your most expensive item.  If your cooks don't know how much meat to cook off for one portion, then you should take your "Chef" out back and shove a wok up his butt--after your fire his butt.

    Say for example you have a Chicken stirfry.  One portion is 3 oz meat.  Most places cut up the meat and portion it off in baggies or cling film pouches before the shift starts--one pouch = 1 order.  Easy to keep track of what you have.   But if you're just scooping up cut up chicken and throwing it in a wok per order, you're royally screwed.

    Inventory is only good if you know what you're paying for the goods and if you know how much ingredients you're selling per order.

    You have to work on indiviual recipies FIRST.  From this you can calculate how much met, veg, etc to cook per order.

     Also,  for deep fried items-

    -How much do you pay for fryer oil? 

    -How much does the fryer use? 

    -How many days does it last? 

    -How many times do you dunk a basket down for the life of the oil? 

    Answer these questions and it  will give you the cost to add onto any deepfried item
     
    rbandu likes this.
  6. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    How do you cost items?  See the invoice.
     
  7. ddisaac

    ddisaac

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    Dude, congratulations on the promotion and especially on taking the extra initiative to get the place's food costs in control. Everything that's been said so far is spot on. First, you set up your basics: inventory lists and recipes. Then you're well on your way to setting up systems that layer on top of that so you know exactly where waste comes from, exactly what percent of sales is being spent on food, and where you can cut costs.

    Here's the thing: it's a pain. It takes lots of time to set all this up, and the data you use must be entered precisely. There are going to be tons of calculations and conversions in the background, and even a small mistake in any of them will lead to inaccurate (and therefore useless, potentially harmful) data.

    Some operators do everything ok pen and paper, and they do OK. They're usually the kinds of guys who have accounting backgrounds and can do this stuff with their eyes closed. Regardless, they still make mistakes, their processes aren't ideal, and they spend way too much time on data entry and not enough time on the line. A small step up is using spreadsheets. I did this for a while in my place, but I found it to be too time consuming. More importantly, there were too many mistakes being made. Food costs are usually calculated within a margin of +/- 10 points of 30%, so when the spreadsheets that I spent days and days preparing started spitting out that I was running a 64% cost, it took me another 3 hours to find the mistake in the input data.

    About a year ago, I started using CostGuard, a great piece of software that automates ALL of these processes (full disclosure: I have a connection to the company, so I'm a bit biased, but the results don't lie). You input your recipes, all your inventory items, and every time you take inventory after that, you input your sales data and it gives you all the information you need to run a tight kitchen. The setup takes a bit of time, but once that's done, it'll save you huge time, and it's literally the ONLY method of tracking costs that's error-proof. Not only will it give you an accurate food cost, it will suggest sale prices for items, pinpoint exactly where you have waste or theft, and alert you to any spikes in prices from suppliers. I was able to cut my food costs by about 8%. I couldn't possibly recommend it more highly.

    PM me for a link to a free demo.. Any questions about it,  feel free to shoot me a message anytime.

    Good luck!

    Isaac
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2013
  8. chefrussel

    chefrussel

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    Another great program for inventory / recipe / costs is called "cheftec". It will also deal with the % ratio lost that everyone is talking about. If your regular yield on a bag of carrots is 80% after peeling, trimming, etc.you can change the yield to .8 and it will do your calculations for you.
     
  9. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    The others have given you some great practical advice on how to go about getting your costs under control. I'll add a couple of other thoughts to the mix. 

    Be aware you may encounter resistance from some of the staff at first. You can remind them that continued employment and the eventual possibility of handing out of raises is dependent on the owner making more money. You may also discover the losses are occurring in part because of theft. (Having the owner install a  camera in the storage areas is not a bad idea.) If you do encounter theft, this will mean having to fire someone. Let the owner do that. Just provide him with the information and proof. 

         That you are in charge of this effort means the owner should be publicly supporting your efforts.  If you get grief from staff about your concern for portion control, you should be able to direct them to the owner.  

          Front of the house is no less important than the kitchen. Make sure you develop a means of keeping track of disposable items out front as well. Paper products are a large expense. All paper products should be accounted for; how much you are paying, whether or not you could buy cheaper. Is toilet paper walking out the door? Are you wasting take out containers, straws, napkins? 

         Also, Does the owner or his family member do their shopping from the restaurant? Do they have a relative who does very little but gets paid anyway?  When you begin to look at costs, be prepared for finding the unexpected. A leaking toilet can run up hundreds of dollars in water in very little time. You have been given the job of controlling kitchen costs and you should do  the best job you can. I would advise you to privately be very aware of ALL the costs in the place. What you discover may be very interesting. 
     
  10. arugula

    arugula

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    One thing your going to have to keep an eye on as well when your looking at food cost is price fluxuation. For example this year up in my area we had a late frost that killed a lot of the asparagus that was sprouting. Sent the price of aspargus threw the roof. As well as the alberta beef this year. They had a lot of problems with it so prices change.

    Always go back to your inventory sheets. Look for these changes. These pennies here and there make a big difference at the end of the year.
     
  11. prochefxavier

    prochefxavier

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    Ok, Evil P. I applaud your persistence and realization of the obvious. We cannot control the choices other people make , but we CAN do the right thing ourselves. I agree with DDlsaac. If they can afford to put the CostGuard program in place,Great! (I instruct  other up-and-coming chefs on the use of) If not, GET some damn scales and make ppl. USE em!!!  Now along w/ Standardized Recipes and Inventory,You'll have t start crunching some numbers.  EP(edible portion weight ) divided by AP(as purchased weight) = Y% (yeild%) Wiith Y% figure Food Cost: AP $ per unit- (oz,#,count etc.) divided by Y% = (edible portion) Food Cost %,you can use 3 different formulas: 1) FC(food cost) divided by FC% = Menu Price. 2) MP x FC% = FC. 3) FC divided MP x .100 = FC%. To remember this, draw a big circle, put a line through the center and then a line straight down the bottom half of the circle. TOP is FC. Bottom 2 halves are: Left MP.100 (MPx.100)  And right half is FC%. Top to bottom is division. Across the bottom is multiplication. To find the number your looking for these equations work in ALL THREE directions. Also, go to Wiley.com and order this book: Simplified Math for Culinary Professionals,Culinary Calculations (I also teach this one,outside of the kitchens) by Terri Jones, ISBN: 978-0-471-74816-8. Keep up the good work and "Don't Quit"! Good Luck in all your future endeavors!  Chef X.
     
  12. michaelga

    michaelga

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    I seriously hope you teach way better than you type because that gibberish above is damn near incomprehensible.

    Punctuation is your friend!
     
  13. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Lol Mike, leave prochef along.

    Just trying to unwind from his Sat pm shift.... ;-)

    mimi
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  14. evilporkchop

    evilporkchop

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    If you posted something useful ,I thank you 100x.
    All this info really helps me get an Idea.on how im gonna go about starting this from.the ground up.

    I especially like the idea of shoving a wok up the "chefs" a**.
    I know most of this vomes down to mathathics ,but .not at all firmiliar with running kitchens expenses
    so im not too.confident about presenting any numbers to my boss just yet.
    I will be posting some data about our restaurant here shortly and hopefully you great chefs here at Chdftalk csn help
    me figure out how correctly/effectively help our restairant save money and bring our food cost down.


    Sorry if mispell a whole lot, ...I hate typing on my phone
     
  15. arugula

    arugula

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    Confidence comes in time. And so will your chance. Don't push it on them when you do find your answers. Because what you've said about your chef. He might find it arrogant and disrepectful. And that could end badly.

    Best of luck.

    Arugula
     
  16. prochefxavier

    prochefxavier

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    Yeah your right Mike! Now that I look back at it. When it's laid out that way it DOES look like a  "turd in a punchbowl"!
     
  17. evilporkchop

    evilporkchop

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    Ok ,some mitchen matj wiz pleasr break this diwn for me.

    Here is the ingredients used to make a dish here

    2oz paste
    8oz coconut milk
    1.5 oz onion
    4oz potatoe
    5oz tofu
    2oz carrot
    .4oz sugar

    We buy ingredients at these prices
    Tofu 10 oz bag 2.00

    Onion 50lbs 17.50

    Coconut 24 [email protected] 13 fl oz 23.00

    Sugar 50 lbs 25.60

    Potatoe 4.99 5lb bag

    50lbs carrot 24.00
     
  18. evilporkchop

    evilporkchop

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    We sell it for 9.50 and comes with a small bowl of white rice. 6
    oz, bag of 50lbs is 39.00
     
  19. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Evilporkchop, 

    This is now basic math. No wizardry needed. You just need to sit down and do the work. I'll  get you started. 

    The tofu costs $2 for a 10 oz bag, You use 5 oz in each serving. So per serving tofu costs you $1. 

    Onions- 17.50 divided by 50=35 per lb. or .02per oz. you use 1.5 oz so .03

    Coconut 24 x 13= 312 ounces. 23 divided by 312= .07 You use 8oz so coconut costs you .56

    Now you keep going. 
     
  20. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    You're paying way too much for potatoes.