What do you count?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by chefnickgunn, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. chefnickgunn


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    Professional Chef
    I have a new kitchen manager and he wants to count all the raw product (agreed) but he also wants to count every raw or cooked prepped item we have that has not been sold yet, including empty kegs because of the deposits on them. I have worked coast to coast and in large and small places and have not counted the fully prepped items and deposit items. Is this correct to count these items?
  2. cacioepepe


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    Professional Chef
    As I sit here at my computer completely procrastinating on inventory, I have to say the answer is yes.  All product that is in house that hasnt been sold should be counted.  For example I have a half batch of veal stock in my walk in right now.  If I were doing inventory properly, I would have costed out the recipe for say a gallon of veal stock and put it in my inventory (maybe I'll get there next month).  For now I just use the price of the veal bones and add that number under my "Meat" category in inventory.  One should do the same with sauces, ragus, etc.

    Bottom line is that anything that costs you money to run the business should be counted.  At other restaurants I had to count the plastic containers that the farmers (and dairy) would deliver and add that to my inventory.  At my new place I count our hot sauce even though we make no money off of it because its a condiment at the table.
  3. petemccracken


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    Professional Chef
    Well, that really depends on what the "counts" are being used for, doesn't it?

    There is some merit to tracking items that can be converted into cash, i.e. empty kegs that can be returned for deposit refunds and tracking prepped items could be advantageous for planning and scheduling.

    It really comes down to what the "boss" wants, doesn't it?
  4. michaelga


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    Retired Chef
    You count what you're asked to count by your employers.

    That is the short answer...


    Here is a bit longer of one that you might find useful or at least funny.

    I'd been cooking for about 6 years or so... could handle myself in pretty much any kitchen and hold my spot on any line.

    I understood costs, cross-utilization, waste management and product security (anti-pilfering) techniques.  I could save a nickel and dime here and there and was generally greatly appreciated for my knowledge.

    I was working at a place that was doing well... owners made lots of cash... staff got Christmas bonuses!  Work hours were fair and no-one made anything less than legal minimum.  

    Needless to say this place didn't ever count food once it had entered the restaurant.

    Servers got drinks for free, half price on food if it was eaten in house on breaks - no doggy bags, take homes etc.

    Back of House got the same free drinks and could eat what they wanted on breaks for free, excepting certain foods like steaks - crab - lobster - shrimp and a couple of other 'forbidden' items.   You didn't even need to order a menu item, just cook it up and head back to the break room.  You're hungry then eat!

    Life was good - the place worked - staff worked, pretty hard too.  

    One Thursday night after I got off shift (as lead cook) I went next door to a pub with one of the owners.   We had a few drinks but nobody was drunk - we got to talking about costs and margins.  

    The owner was pretty upbeat and commented that they had such a loose policy because it kept people happy and kept them from making off with the really expensive things.

    I nodded wisely and agreed... then one of those little demon calculators crept into my head and ruined everything.

    You see - I pointed out that our sandwich meat (Montreal smoked meat) was almost twice as expensive as a strip-steak.  Our cold smoked salmon was the most expensive item we had and it wasn't a forbidden item for the BoH when our incredibly cheap shrimp (previously frozen, imported) were forbidden.  Cheese was fairly expensive and not limited but the cinnamon rolls were off-limits... a 3 to 1 cost difference in favour of cheese.

    We finished our drinks and went home.

    I came into work on Friday afternoon and got busy as usual.

    The Chef seemed distant and the Sous never looked me in the eye, never said a word in fact.

    I finished my shift - and before I could go get my cheque - one of the owners was there and handed it to me.

    He quietly asked if I had any personal belongings in the kitchen... gave me the cheque and told me there was 3 weeks severance instead of the required 2 weeks. 

    20+ years later and that place is still in business with the same principle owners.

    I seriously doubt they count anything more than then...

    (every business model is different)