6 Smart Tips to Help Keep Restaurant Food Costs Low

6 Smart Tips to Help Keep Restaurant Food Costs Low

Food used in a restaurant is one of its largest costs, and with food costs on the rise, this can make or break a business. Follow the below tips in order to keep food cost percentage (Cost of Goods Sold - COGS) at a more manageable rate.

1. Pay Attention to Portions

Too large food portions can be a huge contributing factor to rising food prices in your restaurant. Retrain cooks on what serving sizes are supposed to be. As the restaurant owner, you may want to rethink portion sizes. Perhaps serve lunch and dinner-sized portions, or resize food portions so they do not under or overfill meal plates.

A great way to find if food servings are too large is to look at plates as they are returned to the kitchen. If waitstaff are consistently wrapping take-home containers on specific meals or there is a lot left on plates, you may be over-portioning your meals.

2. Inventory Counts Count

Conducting thorough and regular counts will help your restaurant be more in control of its food usage, which will help with keeping COGS balanced. Depending on the type of restaurant, inventory should be conducted far more often for high-cost items, i.e., liquor and meat.

3. Remind Employees: Profits = Larger Paychecks

Train your employees that balanced inventory and low food percentage costs mean potential profits, which can affect their paychecks, all employees are more likely to keep aware of food quality, portions, and waste. Incorporating a rewards program for employees for food awareness will also help with employee morale.

4. Kibosh the Garnish

Many restaurants use fruit or lettuce as a fancy garnish to decorate and add visual appeal to meal plates. Garnishes are little more than inedible art forms to a vast majority of restaurant patrons and are rarely if ever, eaten. Either stop using garnishes altogether or if garnish is a must in your restaurant, use a less expensive food item to save on food prices.

5. Properly Price the Menu

By keeping your menu costs reasonable, customers will continue to visit your restaurant. When customers visit, then customers will pay and the restaurant will make a profit. By pricing food too low or too high, your restaurant will not make the profit margin it needs to offset food costs and other costs associated with running your restaurant. Be sure to find the lowest reasonable price possible when pricing your meals.

6. Keep a Waste Record

Using a waste chart in your restaurant to write down any foods that are wasted daily, i.e., foods spilled, dropped, thrown away, burned, undercooked, or otherwise cooked incorrectly. This smart record keeping will help with inventory reports and keep your food cost percentage low.

Can you think of any other ways to keep restaurant food prices down? Leave a comment in the section below.


  1. comment authorMark Cain Jan 12, 2019

    I totally agree with the ways to Keep Restaurant Food Costs Low. One of the best ways to Lower your Costs is to make a presentable menu. The menu should always be perfectly presentable and easy to understand. For the presentation, you can get the best Menu covers. it really works! well, Thanks for this Amazing and helpful post.

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