How Do Restaurants Calculate Food Cost?

Learn more about running a restaurant with our complete guide.

Do you own a restaurant? Are you wondering how to accurately calculate your food cost? Do you want to know the best ways to reduce it? Then this blog post is for you!

Food costs are one of the most important factors that can make or break a restaurant’s success. Knowing how much food costs, and being able to calculate it correctly, is essential for any successful business owner. In this post, we’ll discuss what food cost is and provide tips on how restaurants can effectively manage their food costs. We’ll also take a look at some of the common mistakes made when calculating food cost percentage so that you can avoid them in your operations. So if you’re ready to learn more about managing your restaurant’s expenses, keep reading!

What Is Food Cost?

Food cost is the percentage of your total sales that goes towards purchasing food ingredients. It’s calculated by taking into account all the money you spend on buying raw materials, preparing meals and other related expenses.Understanding your food cost can help you to make better decisions about menu pricing, purchasing strategies, portion control and overall profitability.

Calculating The Food Cost Percentage

Calculating the food cost percentage involves first determining the total cost of goods sold (COGS). This includes the price of the raw materials used in making a meal as well as any labor costs associated with its preparation. To calculate COGS, simply add together all the costs incurred in producing a given meal. Once you have this figure, divide it by your total sales for the same period and multiply it by 100 to get your food cost percentage.

Tips For Reducing Your Food Costs

Reducing your food costs is essential in order to increase profits. Here are a few tips that can help you achieve this:

• Carefully manage portion sizes. Making sure that each dish is correctly portioned can help reduce waste and save money on ingredients.

• Purchase bulk ingredients when possible. Buying in bulk will often result in lower prices, allowing you to spend less overall while still providing high-quality meals to customers.

• Compare suppliers and shop around for the best deals on ingredients. Finding the right supplier can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping food costs down.

• Update your menu regularly. Offering seasonal dishes or specials can be a great way to keep customers interested and make the most of ingredients in season.


Calculating food cost is an essential part of running a successful restaurant business. By understanding what food cost is, how to calculate it correctly, and following the tips on reducing your costs mentioned here, you should be able to better manage your expenses and increase your profits.



Related FAQs

Calculating your food cost percentage allows you to understand how much money is being spent on buying raw materials and labour. This knowledge can help you make better decisions about menu pricing, portion control, purchasing strategies and overall profitability.
Your food cost percentage should be calculated regularly, preferably every month. Doing so will give you an up-to-date understanding of your expenses so that you can make informed decisions when it comes to managing them.
When calculating your food cost percentage, there are a few things to consider. These include the cost of ingredients, labour costs associated with meal preparation, portion sizes and waste. All of these factors can affect your total food cost percentage.
The difference between food cost and COGS (cost of goods sold) is that the former takes into account all expenses related to producing meals while the latter only considers the raw materials used in making them. To calculate your food cost percentage you need to add together both food cost and COGS.
There are several ways to reduce your restaurant’s food costs. For starters, managing portion sizes and buying in bulk when possible can help you save money on ingredients. Additionally, shopping around for the best deals from suppliers and updating your menu regularly can also help you keep costs down.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as it depends on a variety of factors such as location, type of cuisine and pricing. Generally speaking, most restaurants aim for a food cost percentage of between 25% – 35%.
Yes! Tracking your food cost percentage can be done using specialized software or manual methods such as tracking receipts and invoices. Doing so can help you better understand your expenses and make informed decisions about pricing, portion control, and sourcing.
Menu engineering is the process of designing a menu that maximizes customer satisfaction and profits for the restaurant. By carefully crafting a menu with items that have lower costs but higher demand, you can reduce your overall food cost percentage while still remaining profitable.
Yes! Aside from raw material costs, labour costs associated with meal preparation should also be taken into account when calculating your food cost percentage. Additionally, waste management practices can have a big impact on the cost of ingredients so it’s important to consider those as well.
A food cost formula is a mathematical calculation used to determine an item’s or menu’s food cost percentage. The most common formula for calculating food cost percentage is (Raw Ingredient Cost + Labor Costs)/ Menu Sales x 100%.    

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