How to Turn Good Recipes Into Great Menu Items
A good recipe for home cooking doesn't always work out when you attempt to
replicate it in the restaurant. Startup restaurateurs find out quickly that a recipe intended to yield four, six
or even 10 servings might not be practical when feeding dozens or even hundreds of guests -- every day.
We've said it once, we'll say it again: Success in the restaurant business is
often measured in pennies. Toss in
an inaccurate order here, a dash of wasted product there, and mix in a bit of
inefficient labor use, and you've
got a recipe for slim margins. And while your friends and family never minded
waiting an extra half-hour or so
for your famous meatballs, your restaurant guests will not be so forgiving to
slow service and inconsistency.
For good recipes to become great menu items, you must learn to make them pleasing
to both your guests and
your accountant. You must break them down into stages that assist purchasing and
inventory control, organize
prepping, reduce production time, and maximize yield. Then you must build them up
to serve dozens of covers.
We call it RecipeMapping® -- a three-step process that allows you to add new items
to the menu consistently,
methodically and profitably. We hope it helps "map out" your strategy for adding
items to your menu, as well
as help you put your startup "on the map."
-- Add Ingredients to the Master Inventory List. Every
restaurant should maintain a Master Inventory List that includes all of
the ingredients that a restaurant must use in the preparation of their
menu items. This list can be maintained using a spreadsheet format that
includes purchasing information such as the pack, size and price of the
ingredients -- information that is useful when creating other management
forms such as inventory and order forms. But to accurately calculate the
real cost to produce a menu item, the Master Inventory list should not
only reflect the purchasing cost and unit of measure, but also the
corresponding recipe cost and unit of measure. Any ingredient used in
cooking can be expressed in one of three units of measure when using it
in a recipe -- weight measure (typically ounces or lbs.), volume measure
(such as tsp.,tbsp.,cups, qts. or gal.), or by piece. Many
products are purchased by weight units of measure but are measured for
recipes in terms of volume (fluid) measure. To determine a true recipe
unit cost, it can require measuring a pound of product to determine its
||Step 2 -- Create the Prep Stages. Here we identify parts
of the menu item that can be prepared prior to final cooking
and presentation, to reduce the time from order to
service. Even a simple, single menu item often requires
several subrecipes that are produced in batch and become
part of the routine preparation tasks. Each
subrecipe is then added to the Recipe Manual for reference
by the kitchen staff. The cost of each subrecipe
ingredient is calculated by multiplying the number of
recipe units used by the recipe unit cost listed in the Master
Inventory. The subrecipe batch is then assigned its own recipe unit and cost
based on to total cost to produce the batch and how much it yields.
Step 3 -- Calculate Menu Item Cost. Finally,
the cost of
the menu item is determined by calculating the cost of
each individual recipe or ingredient needed to produce
the menu item, then affixing a selling price that produces
the desired profit. Restaurants should review their menu
item cost every three to six months to ensure that cost
expectations are accurate.
Restaurant Startup & Growth magazine features different menu items in the
Recipe Mapping article. Here, we have provided downloadable PFD versions of
those articles for your convenience. If you don't have it, you will need to
download a free version of
Adobe Reader to view these articles.
Recipe Mapping: The Loop Pizza Grill
Before Mike and Terry Schneider could even think about expanding their Loop Pizza Grill they knew they had to standardize their recipes and develop operational systems to ensure each unit operated the same way. In this article, Tom Bruce breaks down the recipes to determine the cost and correct procedures for producing two of The Loop's favorite menu items.
Recipe Mapping: Sacramento Food & Beverage
This month's features have been contributed from the recipe files of Sacramento Food & Beverage. Tom Bruce, teacher, consulting chef and founder of Sacramento Food & Beverage has helped numerous operators streamline their kitchens and procedures.He has worked with several restaurants to produce previous RecipeMapping contributions.
Recipe Mapping: Tres Hombres
This month's features were contributed by Michael Thomas, owner-operator of Tres Hombres Long Bar and Grill located in Chico,California and a new location in Petaluma. Consulting chef,Tom Bruce, founder of Sacrament Food and Beverage Consulting,worked with the Tres Hombres' staff to provide the cost analysis for this month's featured menu items.
Recipe Mapping: Johnnie's in the Hotel Diamond
This month's featured items were contributed by Johnnie's, located in the newly renovated Hotel Diamond in Chico, California. Chef and General Manager, Joseph Symmes and his staff worked with consulting chef,Tom Bruce, founder of Sacrament Food and Beverage Consulting, to present the detailed costing technique for two of Johnnie's popular menu items.
Recipe Mapping: Sacramento Food & Beverage
Tom Bruce, teacher, consulting chef and founder of Sacramento Food & Beverage has helped numerous operators streamline their kitchens and procedures.He has worked with several restaurants to produce previous RecipeMapping contributions. This month, Tom has contributed two menu items from his own recipe files showing the step-by-step procedure for costing and preparation.
Recipe Mapping: Latitudes
Latitudes is a unique concept featuring eclectic selections from around the world.Owners Pete and Pat Enoch keep guests returning by changing their menu monthly, usually defined by the "latitudes" from where they get their menu creations.
Recipe Mapping: Ala Carte Consulting
The variety of ingredients and the multi-step process for preparing Pan-Grilled Shrimp Pasta and Gulf Coast Crabcakes provide an excellent example of how proper Recipe Mapping techniques not only provide accurate cost information but can simplify the the cook line procedure as well.
Recipe Mapping: Saskatoon
In this article, Tom Bruce, founder of Sacramento Food & Beverage Consulting, maps out two popular menu items from Edmond Woo's Saskatoon, Steaks - Fish - Wild Game, in Greenville, South Carolina.
Recipe Mapping: 75 Chestnut
This month's features were provided by 75 Chestnut, owned and operated by Tom Kershaw. Learn how Tom Bruce of Sacramento Food and Beverage Consulting uses the RecipeMapping process for two great menu items; TK's Sausage Sampler and Fisherman's Pasta