This chapter is remixed from Basic Kitchen and Food Service Management by The BC Cook Articulation Committee.
- Standard portion costs
- Costing Individual Items on a Plate
- Yield Testing
- Using Yield to Calculate Food Costs
- Yield Tests and Percentages
- Cooking Loss Test
- Calculating quantities to purchase
- Calculate standard portion costs
- Calculate APQ (as purchased quantity) ingredient amounts for both costing and food ordering purposes
- Calculate yield and waste percentages (for both trimming and cooking losses)
- Determine edible portion cost (EPC) or “true cost” of recipe ingredients and menu items
- Determine portions available to serve from (APQ) as purchased quantity
- Complete volume to weight conversions to calculate (APQ) as purchased amounts and (APC) as purchased cost of ingredients
- Portion cost
- As purchased
- Edible portion
- Yield percentage
- Waste percentage
- Edible portion cost (“true cost”)
Standard Portion Costs
A standard recipe served in standard portions has a standard portion cost. A standard portion cost is simply the cost of the ingredients (and sometimes labor) found in a standard recipe divided by the number of portions produced by the recipe. Standard portion costs change when food costs change, which means that standard portion costs should be computed and verified regularly, particularly in times of high inflation. If market conditions are fairly constant, computing standard portion costs need not be done more than every few months. Details about recipe costs are not usually found on a standard recipe document but on a special recipe detail and cost sheet or database that lists the cost per unit (kilogram, pound, millilitre, ounce, etc.) and the cost per amount of each ingredient used in the recipe or formula. The standard portion cost can be quickly computed if portions and recipes are standardized. Simply determine the cost of each ingredient used in the recipe and ingredients used for accompaniment or garnish. The ingredients in a standard recipe are often put on a recipe detail sheet (Figure 1). The recipe detail sheet differs from the standard recipe in that room is provided for putting the cost of each ingredient next to the ingredient. Recipe detail sheets often have the cost per portion included as part of their information, and need to be updated if ingredient costs change substantially. They can also be built in a POS system database or spreadsheet program that is linked to your inventory to allow for the updating of recipe costs as ingredient costs change.
Menu item: Seafood Newburg
Yield: 10 portions
Portion size: 125 g of seafood
Selling price: $12.99
Food cost %: 31.3%
|Pepper and Salt||–||–||–||–|
Chapter 7, Figure 1
Note that the portion cost and selling price used in Figure 1 is for the Seafood Newburg alone (a true à la carte price) and not the cost of all accompaniments found on the plate when the dish is served. For example, the cost of bread and butter, vegetables, and even garnishes such as a wedge of lemon and a sprig of parsley must be added to the total cost to determine the appropriate selling price for the Seafood Newburg.
Costing Individual Items on a Plate
If you need to determine the total cost of a plate that has multiple components, rather than a recipe, you can follow the procedure in the example below.
The bacon and eggs on the plate would have a standard portion cost of $1.09. You could determine the cost of hash browns, toast, jam, and whatever else is on the plate in the same manner.
Often, restaurants will serve the same accompaniments with several dishes. In order to make the costing of the entire plate easier, they may assign a “plate cost,” which would include the average cost of the standard starch and vegetable accompaniments. This makes the process of pricing daily specials or menu items that change frequently easier, as you only need to calculate the cost of the main dish and any specific sauces and garnishes, and then add the basic plate cost to the total to determine the total cost of the plate. Figures 2 and 3 provide an example for calculating the basic plate cost and the cost of daily features.
|Mashed potatoes, one serving||$.0.50|
|Mixed vegetables, one serving||$0.75|
|Demi-glace, one serving||$0.30|
|Total basic plate cost||$1.75|
Chapter 7, Figure 2
|Day||Feature||Feature Cost per Portion||Basic Plate Cost||Total Cost|
|Monday||Roast Beef||$5.00||+ $1.75||= $6.75|
|Tuesday||Pork Chop||$3.75||+ $1.75||= $5.50|
|Wednesday||Half Roast Chicken||$4.00||+ $1.75||= $5.75|
Chapter 7, Figure 3
Yield in culinary terms refers to how much you will have of a finished or processed product. Professional recipes should always state a yield; for example, a tomato soup recipe may yield 4 gallons or 15 L, and a muffin recipe may yield 24 muffins. Yield can also refer to the amount of usable product after it has been processed (peeled, cooked, butchered, etc.) For example, you may be preparing a recipe for carrot soup. The recipe requires 2 lbs or 1 kg of carrots, which you purchase. However, once you have peeled them and removed the tops and tips, you may only have 1.6 lb or 800 grams of carrots left to use. In order to do accurate costing, yield testing must be carried out on all ingredients and recipes. When looking at yields, you must always consider the losses and waste involved in preparation and cooking. There is always a dollar value that is attached to vegetable peel, meat and fish trim, and packaging like brines and syrups. Any waste or loss has been paid for and is still money that has been spent. This cost must always be included in the menu price. Note: Sometimes, this “waste” can be used as a by-product. Bones from meat and fish can be turned into stocks. Trimmings from vegetables can be added to those stocks or, if there is enough, made into soup. All products must be measured and yield tested before costing a menu. Ideally, every item on a menu should be yield tested before being processed. Most big establishments will have this information on file, and there are many books that can also be used as reference for yields, such as The Book of Yields: Accuracy in Food Costing and Purchasing.
The procedure for testing for yields
Yield percentage is important because it tells you several things: how much usable product you will have after processing; how much raw product to actually order; and the actual cost of the product per dollar spent.
Using Yield to Calculate Food Costs
Once you have your yield percentage, you can translate this information into monetary units. Considering the losses incurred from trimmings and waste, your actual cost for your processed ingredient has gone up from what you originally paid, which was your raw cost or AP cost. These calculations will provide you with your processed cost or EP cost.
The Procedure for Determining EP Cost
Alternatively, the as purchased cost per unit (APC/unit) can be divided by the corresponding yield percentage to calculate the edible portion cost per unit.
Example #1: If the whole turkey costs $.99 per pound and the EP yield is 36%, then
$.99 divided by .36 equals $2.75 per pound. This is also referred to as the “true cost” of the turkey to serve to the customer.
If we plan to serve a 5 oz. portion, then we can calculate the edible portion cost per ounce. Divide $2.75 by 16 = $.172 per oz. then multiple by 5 oz. = $.86 or 86 cents.
Example #2: If a whole head of cauliflower costs $1.29 per pound and the EP yield is 60%, then $1.29 divided by .60 equals $2.15 per pound. A 4 oz. portion served to the customer would cost $.5375
There could be a considerable difference in costs between the raw product and the processed product, which is why it is important to go through all these steps. Once the EP cost is determined, the menu price can be set.
Yield Tests and Percentages
Meat and seafood products tend to be the most expensive part of the menu. They also have significant amounts of waste, which must be accounted for when determining standard portion cost. When meat is delivered, unless it has been purchased precut, it must be trimmed and cut into portions. The losses due to trimming and cutting must be accounted for in the portion cost of the meat. For example, if a 5 kg roast costing $8 a kilogram (total cost is $40) is trimmed of fat and sinew and then weighs 4 kg, the cost of usable meat (the EP cost), basically, has risen from $8 a kilogram to $10 a kilogram ($40/4 kg). The actual determination of portion cost is found by conducting a meat cutting yield test. The test is conducted by the person who breaks down or trims the wholesale cut while keeping track of the weight of the parts. The information is placed in columns on a chart, as shown in Figure 4. The column names and their functions are discussed below.
The Procedure for Determining EP Cost
|Part||Weight||% of Total||Value per Kg||Total Value||Cost Factor||EP Cost(per kg)||Portion Size||Portion Cost|
|Whole Piece(AP)||2.5 kg||–||$12.14||$30.35||–||–||–||–|
|Fat & Gristle||850 g||34%||$0.20||$0.17||–||–||–||–|
|Loss in cutting||100 g||4%||0||–||–||–||–||–|
|Usable Meat||1300 g||52%||–||$28.31||1.79||$21.78||250 g||$5.45|
Chapter 7, Figure 4
The parts of the meat are listed on the yield test sheet under the heading “Breakdown.” In the example in Figure 4, a pork loin has been broken down into fat and gristle, loss in cutting, trim, and usable meat. Various measures and calculations are then recorded in the different columns: • Weight: Next to the breakdown column the weights of the individual parts are listed. • Percentage of total weight: The third column contains the percentage of the original piece by weight. The column is headed “% of total weight,” which reminds us how to calculate the percentages. That is, % of total weight = weight of part/total weight For example, in Figure 4, the fat and gristle weighs 850 g (or 0.850 kg). The total weight of the pork loin before trimming is 2.5 kg.
Note: The next few charts show meats measured in kg, but this would be the same process if the meat was measured in pounds.
Percentage of Fat and Gristle Equation
Note: The percentage of usable meat is an important concept. It is often referred to as the yield percentage or yield factor. It will be looked at in some detail later in this chapter. • Value per kg: This column of Figure 4 lists the value of the parts per unit of weight. These values are based on what it would cost to purchase similar products from a butcher shop. The tidbits are quite valuable although they are too small to be used as medallions. They might be used, however, in stews or soups. Notice that no value is given to any weight lost in cutting. • Total value: This is determined by multiplying the value per kg column by the weight column. This has to be done carefully as the units must match. For example, the temptation is to simply multiply the weight of the fat and gristle (850 g) by $0.20 and get $170 instead of converting the grams into kilograms (850 g = 0.850 kg) and then multiplying to give the actual value of $0.17.
The entry for the “Usable Meat” in the total value column is determined by subtracting the value of the breakdown parts from the total cost of the pork loin ($30.35). The total cost is found by multiplying the weight of the whole piece (2.5 kg) by the value per kg ($12.14).
The total value of usable meat equation
- Cost of usable kg (or EP cost): cost of usable kilogram is determined by dividing the total value of the usable meat by the weight of the usable meat as measured in kilograms (see below).
Cost of usable kg (or EP cost) equation
Notice the difference between the wholesale cost ($12.14 kg) and the cost of usable meat ($21.78). This difference shows why the basic formula for determining standard portion costs will not work with meat. • Portion size and portion cost: The last two columns in Figure 4 show portion size and portion cost. Portion size is determined by management; in this example, individual portions of the pork loin weigh 250 g (or 0.250 kg).
The portion cost is determined by multiplying the cost of a usable kg by the portion size.
Using the correct units is very important. The portion size should be converted into kilograms or pounds as the cost per usable kg has been found.
Portion size equation
- Cost factor: If the price of pork loin changes, the monetary values entered on the meat cutting yield sheet become invalid. This column in Figure 4 attempts to reduce the chance that all this work is suddenly for naught. The cost factor will probably not change drastically but the wholesale cost of purchasing the meat might. By having a cost factor on hand, you can quickly apply it to the wholesale price of the purchased product and determine what an appropriate selling price should be. The cost factor per kilogram is determined by dividing the cost per usable kg by the original cost per kilogram (see below).
Cost factor equation
This cost factor can be used to find the cost of a usable kg or lb if the wholesale cost changes with the following formula.
Finding the cost of usable kg if wholesale cost changes
Notice the size of the increase is in usable kg cost. The wholesale cost rose by ($13.00 – $12.14) $0.86 a kg, but the new cost of usable meat rose by $1.49 a kg.
Chart: Cost factor per portion equation
The cost factor per kilogram or pound and the cost factor per portion are the most important entries on a meat cutting yield test as they can be used to adjust to changing wholesale costs. Today, the meat cutting yield test is losing some of its popularity because of the introduction of pre-portioned meats. But there remain several benefits to performing meat cutting tests: • Exact costs are determined so menu pricing can be more accurate. • Tests done periodically verify that the meat wholesaler is providing meat to stipulated specifications. If the amount of trim and waste rises, so do food costs. • By comparing the results from two or more wholesalers who have provided the same sample cuts, a critical evaluation can be done to determine which one is supplying the better meat. • Comparing yields between people doing the cutting will tell you who is being the most efficient. • Since individual pieces of meat or fish may vary slightly, doing yield tests on several of the same item and taking an average will give you the best idea of your standard yield.
Some meats cannot be accurately portioned until they are cooked. This applies particularly to roasts, which shrink during cooking. The amount lost due to shrinkage can be minimized by incorporating the principles of low-temperature roasting, but some shrinkage is unavoidable.The cooking loss test serves the same function as the meat cutting yield test. Their similarities and differences will become evident in the discussion below. Figure 5 shows a sample cooking loss test form. Cooking Loss Test
Item: Leg of LambPortion: 125 gCost factor: 0.2931
Number cooked: One
Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
|Breakdown||Weight||% of Total||Value (per kg)||Total Value||EP Cost(per kg)||Portion Size||Portion Cost||Cost Factor (per kg)||Cost Factor (per portion)|
|Trimmed weight||2850 g||76.00%||–||$24.38||–||–||–||–||–|
|Loss in Trimming||900 g||24%||–||0||–||–||–||–||–|
|Cooked weight||2350 g||62.67%||–||$24.38||–||–||–||–||–|
|Loss in cooking||500 g||13.33%||–||0||–||–||–||–||–|
|Bones and trim||750 g||20.00%||–||0||–||–||–||–||–|
|Saleable weight||1600 g||43.00%||–||$24.38||$15.24||125g||$1.91||2.3446||0.2931|
Chapter 7, Figure 5 : Cooking loss test form
When using a cooking loss test form, note the following, referring to Figure 5:
- The form specifies the time and temperature of the roasting.
- The column headings are similar to the column headings on the meat cutting yield test form (Figure 4), as you are measuring similar things.
- The first line in Figure 5 lists the weight and wholesale cost of the roast (total value).
- The trimmed weight is the weight of the roast that is placed in the oven. Some fat and gristle has been trimmed off in the kitchen. In the example, about 900 g have been trimmed. Technically, if the trim has some value, it should be used to reduce the total value of the roast. However, for simplicity it is ignored in this example.
- After cooking for 2 hours and 30 minutes (the time stated on the test form), the roast is weighed and the cooked weight is entered on the form.
- The weight loss in cooking is determined by subtracting and the value entered on the form.
- The cooked roast is then deboned and trimmed. The weight of this waste is recorded.
- The weight of the remaining roast is determined. This is the amount of cooked roast you have available to sell and which can be divided into portions.
- Notice that the total value (that is, the cost) of the roast remains the same throughout the process. Only the weight of the roast changes.
- The percentage of total weight figures are calculated in the same way they were determined in Figure 4.
- The cost of usable kg is determined by dividing the saleable weight into the total value of the roast.
- Portion size is determined by restaurant managers, and the portion cost is calculated by multiplying the cost of usable kg and the portion size. This is the same procedure used to determine portion cost on the meat cutting yield test form.
- The cost factor per kg is the ratio of the cost of usable kg and the original value per kg.
- The cost factor per portion is again found by multiplying the cost factor per kg by the portion size
As with the meat cutting yield test, the most important entries on the cooking loss test sheet are the portion cost and the cost factor per kg as they can be used to directly determine the portion and kilogram costs if the wholesale cost unit price changes.
Yield percentages are the ratio to total weight values found for usable meat on the meat cutting yield test sheet and the saleable weight found on the cooking loss test. Once found, yield percentages (or yield factors as they are sometimes called) are used in quantity calculations.
The general relationship between quantity and yield percentage can be seen in the following equation:
quantity needed = (number of portions x portion size)/yield percentage
The yield formula can be restated in other ways. For example, if you needed to find how many 125 g portions of lamb can be served from 12 kg of uncooked lamb given a yield factor of 43%, you could use the following procedure:
As with the inventory sheets, using a spreadsheet to help calculate the yields and factors is helpful. Some sample tools are provided in the Appendix.
Volume to Weight Conversions
Recipes, particularly home size, are often written using volume measures rather than weight measures. When recipes are expanded and used in large quantities, it is more typical and accurate to use weight as the measure for many ingredients. It’s very important to understand that though liquid volumes are measured in fluid ounces (8 fl. oz. in a cup, 32 fl. oz. in a quart, etc.) fluid ounces are not equivalent to “weight” ounces. When ingredient volumes have to be converted to weight for calculating purchase quantities or recipe costing, a volume to weight conversion must be done. The correct weight of each ingredient to use for this conversion can be found in a resource, such as The Book of Yields: Accuracy in Food Costing and Purchasing.
Example: If an Apple Crisp recipe requires 25 cups of peeled, diced Macintosh apples, weight would be preferred and more accurate for producing the apple crisp. According to The Book of Yields, referenced above, the weight of peeled, diced Macintosh apples is 4 oz. per cup. To convert 25 cups to weight, multiply each cup in the recipe by the weight per cup.
25 cups x 4 oz/cup = 100 oz. This would then be divided by 16 (ounces per pound)
100 divided by 16 = 6.25 lbs. or 6 lbs 4 oz. One of these would be the new amount listed on the recipe.
Additionally, apples are typically purchased by weight (lbs.), so this same volume to weight conversion is done to calculate the edible portion amount of apple that needs to be purchased. Since apples that are peeled and diced have a waste factor, the yield percentage would be used to calculate the APQ (as purchased quantity.) According to the Book of Yields, the yield percentage for peeled, diced Macintosh apples is 72.25%. Following the procedure discussed earlier in this chapter, the edible portion of 6.25 lbs. of apples would be divided by .7225 to get the APQ (as purchased quantity), which equals 8.65 lbs.
The content in this chapter can seem confusing when it’s first introduced, but observing some examples of trimming meat or produce, actually weighing the waste and edible portion, and practicing the EPQ to APQ calculations will improve understanding of these concepts. It’s important to be able to do these calculations to develop accurate portions costs for recipes and menu items. Once the cost of recipes and menu items are established, the next step to building an operation’s menu is to set menu prices.
- Why is it important to be able to calculate the difference between as purchased (AP) quantities and edible portion (EP) quantities?
- What is the difference between yield percentage and waste percentage?
- What does it mean to calculate the “true cost” of a food product?
- How do you compare the actual price difference between the edible portion of a whole, raw product and a pre-prepared “ready to eat” product.
- What information covered in this chapter is needed to accurately calculate the amount of product to purchase for a forecasted customer count?
Review exercise 1
Review exercise 2