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Drastic Times Call for Wise Decisions.

Food Cost and Inventory

With current situations, there is a lot of uncertainty in the Industry due outside influence. However, the ingredients you purchase and store have never been so important as now.

Things To Look For To Help Correct


  • Purchasing for too high a cost – no bid system to get the best price
  • Buying from only 1 or 2 vendors – no competition for best price
  • Purchasing more than needed
  • No detailed Specifications – quality, weight, type
  • No purchasing budget
  • No audit of invoices and payments
  • Too many vendors


  • Theft by receiving personnel
  • No system for issuing/tracking credits
  • No system for checking in orders
    • Billed for items not received
    • Invoiced weights different than received weights
    • Shipped & billed for items not ordered
  • Lack of facilities and/or scales
  • Perishable foods left out of proper storage


  • Foods improperly placed in storage
  • Storage at wrong temperatures and humidity
  • No daily inspection & rotation of stored goods
  • Unorganized storage areas
  • No physical inventory system
  • Lack of single responsibility for food storage
  • No control or record of foods issued from the storeroom
  • Storage areas not secured
  • Theft


  • Excessive trim on vegetables, seafood & meats
  • No check on raw yields
  • No secondary usage of trim items


  • OVER production!!!
  • Improper cooking method
  • Cooking at the incorrect temperature – excess shrinkage
  • Cooking or holding products for too long a period – poor batch firing
  • Not using food production schedules or Prep Sheets
  • Not using/following standard recipes
  • No waste log used for items thrown out


  • No standard portion size
  • No standard size utensils for serving
  • No records of food production
  • Carelessness (spillage, waste, cold food, re-fires)
  • Poor production planning during the transition from busy to slow periods
  • Inadequate or poorly trained “wheelman” to control the ticket flow and give “all-days”


  • Unrecorded sales: “no charge” or cash not turned in, unauthorized comps to friends/family/regulars
  • “Open food” abuses (get rid of this key if possible! Or allow only with mgr approval)
  • No tracking of “comps” and giveaways
  • No tracking of re-fires, waitstaff/cook errors
  • No sales records to detect trends
  • Poor pricing of menu items
  • Incorrect pricing keyed into your register system (Micros, etc.)
  • Poor sales mix
  • Employee meal costs – overproduction or unauthorized meals
  • Not running specials on items that were overproduced
  • No credit for marketing events


  • Counting Sheet-to-Shelf instead of the best method of Shelf-to-Sheet
  • Failure to utilize discontinued menu products before they expire
  • Miscalculations in your inventory program extensions
    • for example, you enter 1 case of shrimp and it calculates it as 1 pound
    • zero dollar value for items in inventory
  • Items are not being counted
    • especially true for new products and “out of sight” products
    • counting inventory by sheet to shelf method instead of the shelf to sheet
  • Out of date pricing on your inventory calculation software
  • Not verifying the accounting data before the final posting!


  • The Chef didn’t verify the General Ledger
  • Charging your paper/equipment products against the food cost of goods
  • Products from other venues are being charged against your account (for operations with multiple venues)
  • Transfers and credits not processed correctly

The original “Food Costs and the 40 Thieves” was from “Cooking For Profit” by Robert C. Petrie 1972


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