Best Practices

Restaurant Food Costing Tips for 2024

Running a successful restaurant isn’t just about crafting delectable dishes and providing exceptional service. It’s equally crucial to understand the financial aspect of your menu items—enter the realm of restaurant food costing.

What is Restaurant Food Costing?

At its core, restaurant food costing is the process of calculating and managing the expenses associated with creating dishes on your menu. It involves determining the cost of ingredients used in each dish, evaluating their relationship with menu prices, and ensuring that the revenue generated covers these expenses while allowing for profitability.

Why is Restaurant Food Costing Important?

Financial Stability and Profitability- Understanding food costs is fundamental to maintaining a financially stable restaurant. By knowing the exact expenses incurred in preparing a dish, you can price it appropriately to ensure profitability.

Informed Decision-Making- Accurate food costing empowers you to make informed decisions about menu prices, portion sizes, ingredient sourcing, and menu engineering. This insight ensures that each dish contributes positively to your bottom line.

Cost Control- Efficiently managed food costs help control expenses and minimize waste. It enables you to optimize inventory, reduce over-ordering, and eliminate unnecessary spending, ultimately improving operational efficiency.

What Food Costing Data is Essential to Know ? 

In food costing, several critical data points provide insights into a restaurant’s financial health and inform pricing decisions. Three essential metrics include: Food Cost Formula, Food Cost Percentage, and Cost per Serving. 

Food Cost Formula-

The Food Cost Formula helps track the overall impact of ingredient costs on total food sales, enabling restaurants to understand their financial performance in producing specific dishes. This formula considers the beginning inventory value, additional purchases, and ending inventory value to calculate the cost as a percentage of total food sales.

Food Cost Percentage-

The Food Cost Percentage reflects the proportion of revenue spent on ingredients, offering a clear view of a dish's profitability and overall financial impact. This percentage guides pricing decisions and menu engineering by ensuring that the cost of ingredients aligns with revenue. The lower the food cost percentage, the higher the potential profitability.

Cost per Serving-

Calculating the cost per serving is crucial to set menu prices that cover expenses while maintaining profitability. It involves tallying the costs of individual ingredients to determine the expense of a single portion.

These calculations provide essential insights into a restaurant's financial health and guide strategic decisions regarding menu pricing, portion sizes, and overall cost control. Efficiently managing these metrics ensures that each menu item contributes positively to the bottom line while maintaining quality and customer satisfaction.

Navigating Restaurant Dish Prices- Balancing Profitability and Popularity

Setting menu prices in a restaurant isn't just about covering costs; it's a delicate balance between offering dishes that customers love and ensuring your bottom line stays healthy. Let's explore how to navigate this intricate landscape where profitability meets popularity.

Dish Popularity

Customer preferences and favorites also play a role in menu planning. Identifying popular dishes through sales data, customer feedback, or surveys helps understand what your patrons love. However, popularity alone shouldn't dictate pricing decisions; profitability is equally crucial.

Dish Profitability-

To ensure your dishes are financially viable, it's crucial to assess their profitability. Calculate the cost per serving for each menu item by considering ingredient expenses, labor costs, and overheads. Then, determine the ideal selling price that not only covers costs but also generates a reasonable profit margin.

Final Thoughts

Restaurant food costing is a foundational aspect of managing a successful eatery. By mastering the art of calculating food costs accurately, you ensure that your pricing aligns with profitability goals while maintaining the quality that keeps your customers coming back.

Leveraging food and recipe costing tools like meez can help you save time and get you accurate calculations way faster than doing it on your own. Not only does meez eliminate math errors, but it allows you to tweak recipes and see how it affects food cost percentage and profit margins in real-time.

Effective food costing is not just about crunching numbers; it’s about making well-informed decisions that contribute to the financial health and success of your restaurant.

Check out the features of the GoTab and Meez Integration here

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Situated “in the heart of it all, yet tranquil enough to make you feel away from it all too,” The Limelight Hotel Snowmass offers 99 hotel rooms and 11 residences, as well as footsteps-to-gondola access in winter and summer — right in the middle of Snowmass Base Village.

The Situation

Especially over the last few years, the Limelight Hotels IT team had witnessed a significant shift to contactless technology in the hospitality industry. After evaluating friction points in the guest journey, aligning with modern technology platforms in their restaurant was determined to be an effective way to offer elevated contactless dining experiences to their guests while also evolving their technology platforms to continue to support long-term company goals. Limelight Hotel partnered with GoTab to provide an enhanced on-demand dining experience on par with the brand’s reputation for exceptional guest service.

The Solution

Reducing Staff Touch Points Without Sacrificing Guest Experience

Guests are now able to begin a tab from their room or the property’s restaurant by scanning a QR code, texting a link to friends or family members on the ski slope to add in their orders, then meeting up together at the patio or lodge to enjoy their meal and après ski festivities without interruption. By streamlining tasks like inputting orders and processing payments, this eliminates friction for hotel staff and allows them to focus on delivering renowned guest service for a memorable experience. Since partnering with GoTab, Limelight Snowmass has consistently seen higher check averages and sales.

“We found the Point of Sale platforms we were looking at offered the guest and staff limited opportunities to further reduce touch points or improve the traditional restaurant experience. The GoTab platform enabled the guest to take an active role over the flow of their experience while simultaneously reducing touch points and further streamlining restaurant operations.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

According to the Limelight Hotels team, some of the other platforms that were evaluated were either missing some of the pieces they were looking for, had weak customer support models, or had little willingness to develop integrations to existing hotel platforms already in place. To that end, GoTab integrated with cloud-based platform, Infor. Together, GoTab and Infor are providing dynamic solutions to support central, efficient service across hotel amenities and deliver exceptional guest experiences.

“Previously, guests would call down to the restaurant to begin an order from their room or while they were out enjoying the ski slopes. Using GoTab, guests can now place orders from anywhere on the resort, giving them the on-demand service they want without interrupting their day. GoTab empowers us to give control to the guest, reducing touch points and streamlining overall restaurant operations, making Limelight Hotel the resort of choice for Snowmass.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

Since introducing GoTab, The Limelight Hotel has seen a consistent level of upsells and items sold per check resulting in additional revenue capture. They have been able to maintain service levels in their restaurants during periods when there was reduced staffing available without significantly diminishing the guest experience.

The Benefits

Eliminate Phone Orders – Take Orders from the Slopes. Guests can start a tab from their room or on the mountain without interrupting the flow of their day.

Future-Proofed Technologies – Delivering elevated contactless ordering via integration with the Infor hotel management platform.

Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

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