The complexities of food cost management can be overwhelming. Easily improve your establishment’s bottom line by incorporating a standard food cost strategy. Below are simple guidelines to help your business succeed.

Accounting for Food Cost

Tracking your restaurant’s food cost figures is an essential task. Establish a general ledger with the following: purchases, payments, transfers, sales and current levels of inventory.

Also, assess credits with your suppliers to ensure they are being honored. These records will clearly identify where improvements can be made within your establishment.


  • Prepare a budget before buying from your suppliers
  • Have a bidding system in order to receive the vendor’s best price
  • Refrain from stocking up on unneeded items to reduce your overall expenses and food waste
  • Continuously audit your supplier’s invoices and payments for accuracy
  • Create a balance among the vendors you currently purchase from for easy management
  • Avoid buying from too wide of a variety of sources to prevent unintentional overspending

Perform a Monthly Inventory

Use the Shelf to Sheet method – systematically observe the goods on your shelves and locate them on your inventory list.

  • Verify the products on the shelf before locating them on your lists to ensure no items are neglected.

Calculating goods purchased by the pound:

  • Always keep an accurate weight of the product you currently have in stock
  • Recognize the fact that case weights vary with each case you buy
  • Weigh items yourself and record by the pound instead of each

Organized Food Storage

  • Ensure accurate numbers and organization by instituting separate inventory sheets for each storage area in your kitchen
  • For optimal storage, include individual cooler sections for meat, dairy and produce along with specific spaces for liquor and dry goods
  • Tracking of each distinct area allows for month-to-month evaluation and pinpointing of issues in your food costs