Page 47

DISASTERS A

25-percent

cost

item

after

double

accounting

waste, and

can

food

leftovers,

for ruins

pilferage

PHOTO COURTESY OLENKA KOTYK

It’s challenging to lock in prices without signing any long-term contracts or joining a group purchasing organization. So most restaurateurs face a lot of volatility in the cost of food and drink that comes into their restaurants. As restaurants add more variety with additional ingredients, that problem becomes compounded. Food cost becomes a moving target as seasonality is always in play. Vendors can also make mistakes and charge prices that are higher than anticipated or negotiated. It happens all the time. Another key issue is having the right set of controls for food tracking and reporting. It is not uncommon in the industry to realize dishes get sent back to the kitchen; or a sandwich at a deli shop gets dropped now and then; or some food even spoils before it gets used. Food waste is a real issue. Moreover, dishonest employees who take food or supplies without approval can unknowingly really cost you a fortune. Unfortunately, it is the reality that has to be dealt with.Therefore, pilferage is another real-word problem in controlling food cost. There are experts that can help restaurateurs

calculate food cost and automated inventory systems are available, that when used correctly, can provide what we call a solid ‘theoretical food cost’. What is the food cost you should be running based on what you are purchasing and in stock? What seemingly is the easiest question in the industry is more often than not the toughest, particularly without consulting experts nor having the necessary budget to implement inventory software. Calculate your food cost, even if it’s on a napkin, and then recalculate it again every quarter. Developing a true theoretical food cost is not so easy without experts or tools, so it’s not one of my easy solutions offered below. Here are the easy ones: Rebate awareness Every manufacturer provides rebates and incentives on products to build loyalty. Here’s the problem: Everyone in the supply chain is looking to capture those rebates, when they actually belong to the end user, a.k.a. the restaurant owner. It’s particularly common when you work with group purchasing organizations— in the D.C. market this includes Dining Alliance and Axis Purchasing—that you know how re-

EATERY PULSE NEWS | 47

Eatery Pulse DC Restaurant News | Spring 2018  
New