Structure Your Recipe Data

Published on 08/07/2021Hind Andaloussi

How to make your recipes strategic and profitable elements of your menu?

Adapting a good family recipe to commercial cooking can sometimes be a perilous operation! And for good reason, recipes designed for 4, 6 or even 10 people can reveal technical complexities when they have to be scaled up, daily, for several hundred customers!

It's well known that the success of commercial catering is often measured in cents. Poorly adapted supplies, more or less controlled waste, inefficient management of working time and manpower are all economic losses for establishments. And while your family and friends don't care about waiting an extra half hour to get served or variations in your recipes, your restaurant patrons won't forgive you for too long a serve or other guesswork.

In order for your homemade recipes to become real profitable assets for your restaurant, you must always ensure that they appeal to both your customers and your accountant. For this, it's necessary to dissect them in order to be able to optimize each step, while maintaining management tools throughout the production process: control of purchases and supplies, organization of preparation, optimization of production times and yield are all essential levers to make your business profitable and sustainable.

In this article, you will find some tips for doing this.

Step 1: Keep your ingredients list up to date

It's essential for a commercial catering professionals to maintain an up-to-date list of ingredients from which to draw the elements necessary for the preparation of recipes. This list can, for example, be maintained in an Excel file, showing essential information on purchases such as packaging, weight and price of ingredients or even useful elements in the context of other processes such as inventory or purchases: supplier reference, product reference, etc.

Effectively calculating the true cost of your meals doesn't stop at the amount of supplies. In fact to estimate the real cost of the ingredients corresponding to a recipe, it's divided into portions to assess the cost of a plate.

All the ingredients used in your recipes can be in 1 to 3 units:

  • a unit of weight (gram or kilo)
  • a unit of volume (liter, tablespoon, etc.)
  • or individually.

Certain ingredients are purchased in weight but are incorporated into recipes on volume basis (spices for example, base sauces or even juices, etc.). Determining the cost of a serving of a recipe requires developing unit conversion tables for the ingredients.

Cost of Goods Sold

Automatic calculation of costs and margins on melba
Calculate your costs

Step 2: Organize your preparation steps

Here, it's a question of identifying the dishes or the stages of production which can be prepared upstream, in order to optimize the time between the order and the service. Even the recipes that seem the simplest can be divided into sub-recipes, and therefore allow you to optimize your production time. Each recipe and sub-recipe must be referenced in the recipe database, which can be consulted at any time by the kitchen team.

The cost of each sub-recipe item is calculated by multiplying the amount of that ingredients needed to make that sub-recipe by the cost of purchasing that ingredient.

⏩ Look at how you can create beautiful digital recipes.

Step 3: Calculate the cost of a dish

Finally, the cost of a dish is determined by separately calculating the cost of each item / ingredient needed to make it, divided by the number of servings provided. By associating a sale price, we then determine the expected profits. It's advisable to regularly reassess the production costs of the dishes (every 3 to 6 months) in order to guarantee better control of the margins!

Margin = selling price - cost price

Brand rate = margin / selling price

Margin rate = margin / cost price

⏩ Check out how to make your food production profitable.