Start calculating your food cost below by entering the values for the recipe into the fields:
Improve your bottom line and manage and reduce your costs with the cost calculator platform available through Recipe Costing Software. Our free recipe costing calculator uses a formula to calculate accurate per-plate and recipe costs. This price-per-serving calculator is your turnkey solution to managing your expenses and increasing your income.
Use our food cost calculator below to calculate your food cost, edible cost, portion cost, menu cost and plate cost. Watch the video at the top of this page to learn how to calculate per-plate cost using our food cost calculator.
In the video, we build out a roasted chicken brie sandwich with a side salad and a ramekin of sun-dried tomato ranch dressing. We identify each ingredient for the recipes and menu items and enter the purchasing unit and price to get the unit costs. Additionally, we use our yield to demonstrate the effects on the cost per unit and number of portions.
Understanding your costs before you open will be vital to your success. As you build your business plan, you will find it difficult to wrap your arms around your potential revenue and daily costs. I created software called Recipe Costing Software to help restaurant owners cost out vendor items, portions, sub-recipes, recipes and menu items.
In addition, our plate cost calculator has an expense page to enter your daily, weekly and monthly expenses. The meal price calculator will use these numbers to calculate your daily expense once you enter the number of days you’re open in a year.
First, you should know how to figure out the cost of a recipe to decide how much you should charge for each menu item you sell. Your menu price depends on the cost of food and labor. Let’s not forget our other expenses that also figure into the cost of a plate of food. Let’s take a look at our example below of mac and cheese. This mac and cheese comes with a side of broccoli and apple.
I entered the following items into my software to get the plate or menu item cost. The total cost of this plate is $2.48, and I’m selling it for $7.00 in my restaurant. Typically, most restaurant owners will take the cost of the plate — $2.48 — and multiply it by 3 to get a price. In this case, we should charge $7.44 because, in theory, this number should cover all of our costs.
You’ll notice that under the “Added Items,” I selected items from my pantry, and one of the items is labeled as a recipe. This recipe has a cost tied to it, and I’m only using the portioned cost of my recipe. What you don’t see is that the cheese sauce recipe has a sub-recipe. All these costs add up and, when not considered, can hurt your bottom line.
You have a lot going on before your doors open, and you’ll find that there will be down times. You can spend that time worrying about your restaurant opening on time, or you can be proactive and begin costing out your food.
With our recipe costing software, it’s important you build one food order guide for all the food you plan to use or are currently using in your restaurant. The food order guide is essential, and once it’s built, you can use it for every vendor without having to enter the information again. In some restaurants, the food order guide can be well over 500 items. Who wants to enter this data every time you add a new vendor?
On this page of our recipe costing software, you define the item, and you can also get the nutrition facts for that item using our integrated USDA database. The food item name should always be used as a friendly name — a name that makes sense to you and that you can use to tie vendor items too. When you use a common name, you can compare pricing on an item. Once you’ve entered all of your food items in the food order guide, it’s time to create your vendors.
Once you’ve entered your vendors, you want to make sure you go to the vendor items page and enter the details from your vendor to begin calculating your portioned costs. This page is great for calculating your purchases from your vendors. Here, you enter the item, the number of packages, weight, purchase price and yield to get your portioned cost.
For example, you may have chicken purchased by the pound, and on your plate, you put 4 ounces of chicken. Wouldn’t it be great to know how much each ounce is costing you? You will get the raw costs immediately on this page.
We looked at our mac and cheese menu item earlier, and I mentioned that we used a sub-recipe in that mac and cheese menu item. It’s the sub-recipe we will use in our cheese sauce recipe for mac and cheese. Below are all the ingredients I used to build a base sauce I labeled béchamel. When I combine all the ingredients below, it will yield 1 gallon, and I portion the gallon into 3 cup portions to give me 5.33 servings. If this recipe costing formula seems complicated, let our ingredient cost calculator do the math for you.
The total recipe costs $24.16, and you will notice our software captures ingredients, labor and materials in this recipe. Three cups of this béchamel sauce cost $4.54. It is critical to know that your labor and materials were captured in the sub-recipe. These are real costs that need to be recorded.
Let’s look at that cheese sauce that has the béchamel sub-recipe included. Below are the ingredients used to build my cheese sauce for mac and cheese. You will notice that the first item is my béchamel sauce in my earlier example. That sub-recipe will now be added to my recipe — more importantly, all of the costs come over with it.
When I combine my sub-recipes and all the other ingredients, it will yield 2.5 quarts. When I portion those quarts into 3-cup portions, this amount will give me 3.33 servings. Now that my sauce is ready and portioned, I can put it on the line so I’m ready for my first mac and cheese order!
In our example above, I have added a line for labor. It took labor to build my sub-recipe and labor to build my recipe. All the ingredients combined give me a recipe cost of $22.27 and $6.83 for 3 cups.
Earlier, we looked at our mac and cheese menu item. Below, we plate the items, and the last ingredient I added was my recipe for cheese sauce. We went through the full life cycle, from building a sub-recipe to creating a cheese recipe we will use with our pasta. My mac and cheese comes with a side of broccoli and apple. The total cost of my menu item is $2.33, which included our ingredients, materials and labor from both our sub-recipe and recipe. Now we’re cooking!
Here is my cost breakdown for my mac and cheese dish with broccoli and apple sides:
This menu item is a real winner!
As a food industry professional, it’s critical to understand your costs. Learn how to calculate plate cost with the food cost calculator in our recipe costing software. Our tools help restaurant owners cost their menu items, recipes, portions and more.
Try our free recipe costing calculator on this page to see how our software works! This tool only scrapes the surface of everything our software offers, so schedule your free demo today.