How to Manage Rising Food Costs

Have you noticed your monthly food costs rising even though your menu and supply list hasn’t changed?

The problem of rising food costs can be particularly challenging and difficult to identify. Whether it’s due to inconsistent portions, employee theft, or food waste, there are ways to detect where the problem is occurring so you can make changes to meet your food cost objectives.

If you aren’t tracking your food costs, it’s time to start.

You can’t effect change if you don’t know where you currently stand. Knowing your real food cost is vital to monitoring for problems, properly setting your menu prices, and remaining profitable. Net food purchases divided by net food sales is the simplest food cost formula. Most restaurants aim to keep their food costs below 30%.

Now that you know where you stand, what can you do to control rising food costs?

  • Inventory Management – Ordering correctly is one of the simplest ways to control costs and reduce food waste. If you are over ordering an item and it keeps ending up in the trash, you might as well be dumping money directly into the garbage. Knowing what ingredients are being ordered most often will enable you to order the right amounts at the right intervals from your wholesale supplier.
  • Portion ControlConsistency is key to success in the restaurant industry, not only because your customers expect to get the exact same dish when they come back to your restaurant and order their favorite menu item, but also because portion sizes can easily and significantly impact your food costs. Regardless of whether you’re serving fois gras or mozzarella sticks, keeping a detailed list for your kitchen staff on the number or weight of ingredients that belong on the plate will help ensure every dish that goes out is the same.
  • Employee Theft – No one wants to think their employees are stealing from them. If you believe you’re ordering correctly and that your kitchen is maintaining portion sizes, monitoring for employee theft is the next step. Not all theft is as brazen as pocketing steaks from the freezer. Your staff may be giving out freebies to family and friends or chowing down unauthorized food every time they take a break. All of those possibilities can impact your bottom line. Talk to your staff about what is and is not acceptable in terms of free food and drinks for staff and customers. If you don’t notice an improvement, you may want to consider installing a security camera system.

If you have any questions about how to control rising food costs at your restaurant, contact McDonald Wholesale, your Portland restaurant supply company. We know not every chef enjoys wearing their business hat, which is why in addition to providing your restaurant with top quality ingredients, we offer other services to help you manage your restaurant and remain profitable. We can help you audit your plate costs, plan a more profitable menu, and provide reporting so you have the data you need to control your food costs. Become a customer today!


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