By Russell Blakeborough , Managing Director at Focus – F&B L.L.C. Global Hotel & Restaurant Consultants

Always blame the Chef, right? While controlling food cost is generally assigned to the Chef, it requires everyone to be on-board. There are so many areas to look at and be vigilant of, that it should be a team sport.

Catering, Purchasing, Corporate Support, Marketing, Restaurant Manager, Server, Cooks, Cafeteria, Engineering, and more, all have a role.

Let’s me ask a few, hopefully thought provoking, questions of your team. This will give you a starting point to explore ways to tame this beast.

·     Who is responsible for food cost control in our restaurant?

·     How is food cost calculated? What is acceptable? What is the food cost potential vs. actual? [clue: it will never be the same!]

·     Menu Analysis – Are the right mix of items on your menu? How accurate are your recipe cards and portions?

·     Purchasing is huge component. Who is making buying decisions? Where and how are you buying – what is your discount?

·     Marketing – Is it effective? You need guests in the restaurant; volume eliminates waste!

·     Leadership – Does your leadership have the passion to get food cost under control? How can you inspire them and ignite their passion for the overall success of your operation?

All of these and many more factors are involved in food cost control; only vigilant and passionate focus can really make a difference to your bottom line.

One of the seminars that I lead takes a deep dive into this subject. At Focus F&B, we work hard to help you improve food and beverage operations at your hotel or restaurant. Our unique, multifaceted approach analyzes areas such as creativity, menu design, productivity, cost of sales, ambiance, and/or profitability. Together, we will identify issues and determine actionable solutions that will set the stage for immediate, cost-effective improvement for your team. Feel free to contact me for any assistance in this area or any other of your operation.