How to Reduce Food Costs


When it comes to managing restaurants, reducing food costing is one of the most important tasks in your restaurant business. So, how to control food costs in restaurants has to be at the forefront of your mind.  If you are unable to control your food costs effectively, the result can be disastrous for your business.


The first step to reducing your food cost is to monitor it diligently.  This is done with a daily and weekly inventory of your most expensive ingredients. By monitoring the amount of food you serve, you can determine the ideal cost of each dish. Once you know this, you can make adjustments accordingly to ensure that you are not overpaying.


It is also important to have a good inventory management system in place so you can monitor how much of each dish you need to buy and what your margin is.


One of the best ways to reduce food costs in restaurant management is to eliminate unnecessary ingredients and portions. Consider using automated menu-generating software, such as Apicbase, which integrates with ePOS and provides comprehensive sales analysis.


To cut costs of food, you should analyze your profit margins. If you cannot control the food cost of your restaurant, you should look into menu engineering to make the most of your menu. This will allow you to balance the profitability of your menu with the amount of food you serve.


How To Control Food Costs In Restaurants


What Are The Advantages Of Using Menu Engineering?


Menu engineering is a process by which a restaurant can analyse its price and layout to improve profitability.  Each item on the menu is assigned to one of four menu engineering categories according to its potential for profit and customer demand.


The 4 Types of Menu Engineering are:

  1. Extremely Successful and Popular menu items.

These menu items consistently generate a lot of money and attention for you. Your guests will go crazy about these, and you won’t have to break the bank making them.

Keep these items on the menu as they are and advertise them as much as possible instead of tinkering with them. Put them where everyone can see them on the menu.


  1. High profits but not very popular

These are the most lucrative yet least popular items on your menu.

If things aren’t selling, figure out why they aren’t. Perhaps they need to be promoted more or described more clearly.  Should you increase social media advertising or reduce the asking price?  Could a modest price cut boost sales and, in turn, earnings.


  1. Low profitability and high popularity

These dishes tend to have more pricey ingredients.  The goal of working with these dishes is to maximise their financial return.


Reworking the recipe to make it a more lucrative version of the same item or pairing the item with a drink as a bundle to increase sales.

Use portion control. How often do diners abandon their partially consumed meals? Reducing the serving size while maintaining or improving the dish’s current visual appeal might be the answer.


  1. Consistently low profits and popularity

In terms of profitability and customer satisfaction, your most expensive and least popular menu item can generate low profitability.

Remove them from your menu as they prevent you from offering more lucrative options to your customers.  You can choose to not include in your menu or even hide them from view on the menu.  Before completely getting rid of something, you can also consider repositioning it in the market.


What is the purpose of menu engineering?


Using menu engineering and other cutting-edge tools can help you keep costs down while delivering a superior customer experience. Not only will menu engineering streamline prepping, procurement and inventory processes, but it will also streamline food waste and improve quality.


Moreover, menu engineering will help you manage the amount of the various dishes on your menu which will help in reducing your overall cost of food.


Menu engineering ensures that your menu is designed to meet the needs of the target market. It is possible to find new ways to cut the overall food cost in your business by following these simple steps.


Food Cost Control Formula



Food Cost Calculation


Understanding the true cost of food goes beyond the simple percentage calculation.


How to Calculate Food Cost?


The difference between the actual and theoretical costs allows you to make significant changes in food costs. The former is based on the current price of all ingredients. The latter, on the other hand, reflects how much your restaurant spends on ingredients. The difference accounts for mistakes such as inconsistent portion sizes, improper invoicing, employee theft, and kitchen waste.


When making a food cost estimate, it’s best to estimate how much each ingredient and menu item will cost. A target range of 15-30% is ideal and results in 70-85% gross revenue per item. This method will minimize your restaurant’s costs and maximize profits. By tracking your food costs, you’ll be able to determine exactly where the most money is being spent and set thresholds to help you stay ahead of the competition.


Luckily, there are several effective ways to control food costs by –


Identifying causes and solutions for COS:

  • Delivery Shortages – Checking deliveries properly against what you’ve ordered.
  • Accurate inventory counts to identify any shortages
  • Over-ordering – Over-ordering will cause difficulties in inventory counts as well as day-to-day control of stock.  If you’ve got too much stock it is harder to accurately track consumption
  • Waste  due to pilferage – Daily, weekly inventory count to mitigate losses and keep control of stocks
  • Inaccurate product projection – Project and forecast properly using all systems at your disposal.  Just in time with a day or two buffer will normally suffice.
  • Losses due to theft and petty theft – Eradicate theft by a daily critical count of selected products as well as your high-risk, high-value items.
  • Guest Check capture – being vigilant to ensure that bills are being processed correctly.


By tracking traffic and purchasing food in bulk, you can reduce food costs in your restaurant. By controlling the amount of wasted food, you can also eliminate waste and increase profitability.


The most important aspect of controlling food costs is to monitor the number of meals you serve each day. Having a high number of meals will allow you to make adjustments to the menu and avoid wasting money.  The food portion you serve should be proportionate to the number of people that you are serving.


How to Calculate Your Food Costs Using A Food Cost Formula


To run a successful restaurant, it is essential to know how to calculate your food costs. This is because they account for a substantial portion of your Gross Operating Profit (G.O.P.). You may not realize it, but your food cost can be as high as 35% of your turnover. Moreover, every 1% reduction in your food cost can increase your profit by as much as 58%. To make your calculations easier, here are some tips:


To calculate your food cost you need to first determine the value of your initial inventory, then add up all of your purchases, and then subtract it from your final inventory.  The total amount that you spend on food throughout the full week can be calculated using this method.


Food Cost Formula

This is your food cost percentage. Now, you can use it to analyze your expenses and boost your profits. You can apply this formula to any business to keep an eye on its costs.


Controlling Food Costs In Restaurant


To control your food cost, you should know your sales and profit margins. By knowing your prime costs, you can set a target price for your products. To control your costs, you must ensure that your sales are profitable. Luckily, it isn’t hard to figure out your prime cost formula.


Related articles:

How To Improve Restaurant Profits

Strategies To Increase Sales

Restaurant Management Structure

Restaurant Management Skills


Food Cost Control Formula


The food cost formula can be used to determine your food costs. It is important to use this to make your menu more efficient and affordable. This is a very useful tool for restaurant owners looking to cut their food costs. You can even use a ready-made Food Cost Calculator to calculate the costs of your menu items. So, what are you waiting for? Get started today. Using the Food-Cost Formula to Determine Your Menu Prices.


What Is The Formula For Food Cost Percentage?


To get the food cost percentage, divide the total cost of goods sold by the total sales or income earned by the finished dish.


Food Cost Calculation


How to Calculate Food Cost?


  • Divide each dish into its parts.
  • Determine the price of each dish.
  • Calculate your fixed expense per meal served.
  • Determine what portion of your menu’s cost is made up of food.
  • Establish your desired food cost.


The food cost formula can help you determine how to price your menu. By using this formula, you can determine how much your ingredients cost compared to your total revenue. This will help you decide whether to continue buying certain ingredients or to cut back on them.


Eventually, this will help you set your budget. To know how to control your inventory, you should learn how to calculate the food cost ratio. If you have a large menu, you should also consider the percentage of your customers who are repeat customers.




The food cost formula can assist you in setting menu prices and ensuring that no food is wasted.  By summing the total number of items and their respective amounts at the start of the week, you can also determine the percentage of food costs.


The food cost percentage can determine the cost of a particular meal.  This is accomplished by converting the total cost of all the ingredients to the cost of a single meal.


By examining the overall cost of the materials for one dish, you can use this method to calculate your food expenses. To figure out the average cost per serving, you can also compare the prices of other items. The percentage of food expenditures can also be used to estimate the entire expense of various meals.


The food cost percentage can be calculated by adding the total cost of your ingredients and the total sales of each item. You should also consider the per-item profit margin.


This metric is very important for restaurateurs because it can tell you if you’re making enough money from a particular dish. If you’re a restaurant manager, the food cost percentage is one of the most important metrics you need to consider.


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