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Updated: Sep 12, 2020

For a successful kitchen operation it is essential to maintain the cost of sales (COG) cycle under control, below is a basic checklist for you to start analyzing food and beverage costs. Al you have to do is circle all items that apply to your restaurant and figure your score at the end of the checklist. I have also included a few quotations (just a few) from the “I thought I heard it all” file pertaining to food and beverage costs.

MENU INFORMATION (Menu Development, Product Information, Product Specification)

1) Menu is not easy to read or understand

2) Too many or too few menu items

3) Too many unpopular items on the menu

4) The food is poorly presented

5) Menu items are poorly priced

6) No balance between high and low-cost items

7) No consideration of product availability

8) Not enough employee to produce menu

9) Poor layout of or the wrong equipment

10) Poor training

11) Ineffective promotion of menu items: “we’ve got the best deals in town right here, look closer you might find them”

12) No standardized recipes or cost of sales information

13) Using the wrong method of preparation

14) Cooking food at/for the wrong temperature and time

15) No standardized service procedures

16) No specifications: “do we use it by the case or the jar?”

17) Poor information concerning suppliers

PRODUCT PURCHASING (Bidding, Ordering and Receiving)

18) No competitive purchasing

19) No centralized purchasing

20) Ordering too much or not enough

21) No record of costs or trends

22) Poor relationship with suppliers

23) No budgeting

24) Standing orders instead of flexible orders

25) Speculative purchasing

26) Implantation between purchaser and/or receiving person and supplier

27) No receiving records or procedures

28) No check on price, quality or quantity”

29) No system for returns and credits

30) Lack of receiving equipment

PRODUCT PURCHASING (Storage and Inventory)

31) Products are not refrigerated properly Products are not stored properly

32) No daily inspection of storage areas

33) Poor sanitation and rotation of products

34) Theft in storage areas

35) No procedures for requisitions

36) No physical inventory

37) No inventory reporting

PRODUCT TRACKING (Preparation and Production)

39) No product yield tests

40) No use for byproducts or leftovers

41) Over or under preparation

42) No record of waste

43) Poor record of items produced by kitchen

44) No comparison of items prepared vs. items sold

45) No sales and cost of sales analysis


46) No audit of POS system or cash registers

47) Poor cash controls and sales records

48) Server or cashier theft

49) No procedures for complimentary or employee meals

50) No sales projections


§ less than 5: maybe you should a write a book to help others

§ from 5 to 9: very good, keep going, cost of sales happiness is close

§ from 10 to 20: you’re not going for vacation this year

§ over 20: either get ready to work really hard or call Cooking pot f&b consultancy

  • Correcting some items is a matter of common sense (e.g., #22: stop yelling at the driver, #31: stop leaving food out too long) and others a matter of expense (e.g., #30: buy a scale).

  • Many of items 12-45 can be corrected by using the forms in “How to Control and Lower Food and Beverage Costs.” “How to Control and Lower Start-Up Costs” and “How to Control and Lower Other Operating Costs” contain forms that will help correct some of items 1-11. will be sharing in the next blogs.

  • Financial controls, items 45-50, can be found in “How to Manage Your Money.” will share it shortly.

If you haven't already done so, start checking your cost failure or call Cooking pot F&B consultancy we can help you, please complete this contact form or call and will be happy to discuss your needs.

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