Recipe costing and menu management

In this blog post we look at how you create sub-recipes and recipes with Kitchen CUT and why it’s important to do so.

First of all, it’s important to understand why you need to write recipes, and if you’re the business owner, help your chef(s) to understand why this needs to become a critical part of their role.

What are the benefits to recipe costing and menu management?

There are six main reasons for writing and using recipes in your business. By ignoring these reasons, you leave yourself extremely vulnerable.
    1. Consistency: With detailed recipes and clear photographs the kitchen team has a far better chance of delivering a consistent food offering every day of the week, irrespective of who is working in the kitchen. All successful restaurants deliver a consistent product so that they meet their customers’ expectations every time. I have watched many restaurant services with no recipes or standards in place and the dish can vary 3-4 times during service, which is totally unacceptable.
    2. Costings: With accurate recipe costing for all of your dishes you can ensure that you are selling each dish not only to the right food cost, but most importantly to a decent profit. It is extremely useful for all the team both in the kitchen and Front of House to know which dishes make the best margin and/or the most profit, so they can recommend these to customers (this does not always mean the most expensive dish, which many restaurants try to do). Think about bottom line profit!
    3. Photographs: We talk about good photographs of your dishes at KC on many occasions. We believe if you can give a chef a clear, well-taken photograph of the dish you want to serve, you have a far better chance of getting it served the same every time.
    4. Methods: Many restaurants develop a recipe costing with a list of ingredients and quantities, but no clear method and this means you can end up with a variable dish. I have tested this on a number of occasions and given exactly the same ingredients to five different chefs and got five different results! Methods are part of a proper recipe.
    5. Reference: We all know it is difficult to write a new menu every time you wish to make some changes. By having all of your previous recipes stored and easily accessible at anytime, it is a great way of reviving customer favorites when they are back in season again. Even by taking an existing recipe and just tweaking it slightly you can make a new dish. Why re-invent the wheel every time you write a new menu?
    6. Allergens: It’s actually now a requirement in the UK to be able to give consumers a transparent and accurate account of the ingredients in each dish on your menu, in accordance with the Food Information for consumers Regulations 1169/2011. To be able to make the same recipe to the same method with the same ingredients is vital for complying with these regulations and having a robust process in place for documenting this information is very important. Even if there is no legal obligation in your country, this is a huge (and growing!) audience you could be missing out on!

Why do I need to think about recipe costing?

Costing your recipes accurately is very important and with Kitchen CUT you can easily import, edit and update your prices in the system in seconds [see our post on importing ingredients HERE]. These adjustments will affect any sub recipe, recipe or menu and make the adjustments. Remember, most recipe costings will be out of date after a couple of months so it’s important to stay on top of this. With fluctuating market prices it is challenging to ensure that you are achieving your margins. Struggling with your food cost % or Gross profit %? This is one way that you can instantly get better control.

How else can it help my business?

Remember also, dish specs are an important part of communication with the Front of House teams. It can help them understand the detail of the dishes to allow them to talk confidently about the menu, but more importantly, it can also give them a clear and exact detail of which allergens are contained in that dish, without having to rush in and bother the chef during busy service. By showing your service staff your Kitchen CUT recipes they will know not only more about the dishes on your menu, but also which dishes make the most money – so they can sell them more! TOP TIP: Kitchen CUT allows you to print service specs of all dishes, meaning that you can print out the details of the dish including ingredients and allergens without any visible costings. Here’s a short video on how to do this in Kitchen CUT: How to create sub-recipes and recipes from Kitchen CUT on Vimeo. v

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