There are three areas that your food cost problems reside. Procurement, Production or Payment. Each one of these areas will cause your food cost to be out of control. Each one of these area has several components that make up the three P’s of Food Cost.
The first food cost component starts with procurement. Procurement is different then Purchasing of food. Properly procuring food is not just purchasing food, procuring makes a big difference. Procurement is made up of elements that do take an effort to accomplish. The three elements of procuring are ordering, receiving and inventorying. Ordering is not just ordering. Working with a purveyor and informing them what food supply’s you will need Informing them of any promotions and business changes, and working with the amount of build-to’s to accomplish your goals. The last thing, to remember, are you getting what you paid for.
Receiving food products should have an organized method. I don’t allow the driver to bring in some dry storage and then some cooler and back to dry storage. I receive food in this manner. First I want to receive dry storage, then move on to the freezer and then to the walk in cooler. You must make sure that the food products get received in your operation and not outside. All food items are dated and rotated. The case weights and the dates are facing forward. Also, make sure the driver doesn’t turn off their truck also. You also want to check the temperatures of the products. Example is frozen products. The way, to check the temperature, is to place a thermometer in between two boxes and take a reading of the temperature.
All storage areas must be clean, organized. The key to a good inventory is to prepare your count sheet ahead of time. If you order food, locally have those local prices changed on your sheets. Add new items that are not on your count sheet. Cross out inventory items you no long keep in stock. And either capitalize or highlight items by the pound.
Production is the process of making of food products and executing the serving of food. Recipes are adhered to, and you are not allowing short cuts or anyone to be creative. Make sure that no one memorizes of any recipe because this a license of free wheeling of your products. What I have found in some operations is the equipment is in disrepair. Cutting corners, to save money, is not the way to run an operation. Your equipment must be in excellent condition and calibrated. Remember if you don’t replace or repair your equipment your employee will find a way to get the job done, but it will be their way and not yours.
Payment consist of several factors, money to the bank, ticket audits, waste calculation, employee meals including managers and owners, sales promo’s, and even voids recorded. Remember, what you fail to audit will be abused.