Top tips for food and beverage cost control

With increasing pressure on the catering sector as growth in operating costs drive down margins, improving the control of key costs such as the cost of food used, has never been more important.
Fluctuating food costs and potentially high levels of wastage means that catering managers need to ensure that every aspect of the purchasing cycle is carefully managed. Chartered Accountant, Debra Adams, who brings a wealth of experience gained from designing trainings for Jumeirah International, Mandarin Oriental, Rezidor Hotels and Local Authority school caterers to name but a few, recommends that catering organisations review every step of the purchasing cycle to ensure that that day to day operations are designed to maintain profitability.

Here are ten top tips for ensuring that the cost of sales is kept under control and gross profit targets achieved:

  1. Keep control. Agree prices in advance with nominated food suppliers
  2. Standardise. Prepare a standard recipe for every dish sold with every ingredient costed
  3. Communicate. Train staff to use standard recipes ensuring quantities and preset portion sizes are followed
  4. Wise up. Monitor the number of ingredients being used and save storage space and cost by using ingredients in more than one dish
  5. Waste not, want not. Design menus to reduce waste so that ingredients can be repurposed
  6. Regular updates. Check standard recipes are updated regularly with the latest prices from the supplier
  7. Set targets. Ensure every item on the menu is priced to achieve at least the target gross profit as a percentage or in cash
  8. Mix low cost and high cost ingredients. Monitor the sales mix to see which menu items are the most popular
  9. Reduce wastage. Calculate the amount of food waste, both from preparation and from plate waste, to monitor high risk areas
  10. Just in time. Keep an eye on how much stock you are holding – high stock levels mean less cash is available whilst also using up valuable space in the business.

All these topics and more will be discussed in depth by Debra, with examples and scenarios on our one day workshop on F&B cost control which is taking place in Manchester on 16 April 2019. Participants will have the opportunity to develop their own action plans and take away templates and models to apply to their own businesses.

Contact The Institute of Hospitality for more details

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