Reducing Your Food Cost Could be Easier than You Think


One simple trick can reduce your food cost by two to three per cent. Gather a descending dollar report (or descending case report) from all of your vendors and from any business where you purchase food, including broadline distributors, specialty meat companies and the grocery stores you run to pick up a quick item. You want purchases for the last six months or since you last updated your menu. In a perfect world, you would gather this information for the same date range in a spreadsheet format. You may have to create a spreadsheet for the smaller niche vendors, such as meat and produce.

Once this data is collected in spreadsheet form, combine all of your purchases and sort the spreadsheet by what you’ve spent the most money on to what you have spent the least amount of money on.

What you will likely discover is the top 10 to 12 purchases represent 50 per cent of all your purchasing. See the example below:

Next, take your top 10 to 12 products that you purchase as listed in your compiled descending dollar report and ask your food sales people, “If I promise to buy all of this product from you over the next year, can I get a better price?” Similar to a food show, if you promise a vendor that you will purchase a certain number of cases of a specific product, they can lock you into a better price for that product. Distributors are able to do that anytime.

If you’re lucky, the sales person will be able to simply give you a better price. If they’ve already been giving you the best prices available, and tell you no, ask a follow-up question, “Do you have a like-quality or better-quality product at a cheaper price?”

NEVER go with a lower-quality product because that could go against your core values and kill your dish. But you should be willing to switch to an equal-quality product or better-quality product if you can get it for a better price than you are paying now.

By simply gathering the right data, combining all of your reports and sorting those figures, you’ll be able to attack your top 10 to 12 items you purchase and reduce your food cost by two to three per cent. My question to you is, not will you do it, but rather what are you waiting for? Take action!

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