Converting Recipes and Scaling Menu Items

If you’re in the food and hospitality industry, then you know scaling recipes is essential to managing and controlling your food costs. In a restaurant, consistency in this industry is vital to a restaurant operators success.

How to convert a recipe using scaling

Repeat customers must always feel like the food was perfectly done every time when visiting the restaurant. If it’s a slow day, you may only have to prep a half batch of your famous lasagna or on a busy weekend  you may need several trays to keep up with demand. Here is the problem, there may be several cooks in the kitchen and this means everyone must be on the same page. If Monday requires prepped recipes for 50 customers, but on Saturday prepped recipes must be 250 someone needs to know how to convert the recipe exactly to keep the product consistent. You could do this manually and I will show you how do it or you can use’s recipe and menu scaling to do it on the fly by just entering the number of portions or the percentage the recipes must increase or decrease.


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Recipe Conversions Done Manually

If you prefer to do a recipe conversion manually begin with your conversion factor, this is the number used to convert all the quantities of each ingredient.

How to get the recipe conversion factor

Divide the number of servings by the original number of servings. The result of this number will be your conversion factor.

New Number of Servings / Original Number of Servings = Conversion Factor.

The original recipe calls for a serving size of 6, but you need 9 servings. Using the equation above, plug in the numbers and check it using a calculator.

9 / 6 = 1.5

The recipe calls for:

  • 3 lbs chicken pieces
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Freshly-ground black pepper to taste

How to increase a recipe

First convert the factions to decimals making the math easier, then multiply the value of the item by the conversion factor.

  • 3 lbs x 1.5 = 4.5 lbs chicken pieces
  • ½ (.5) cup x 1.5 = (.75) 3/4 cup vinegar
  • ½ (.5) cup x 1.5 = (.75) 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 x 1.5 = 3 cloves garlic, minced

How to decrease a recipe

That covers scaling a recipe up, but what if you need to scale the recipe down?

It’s simple begin by getting the new serving size and plug it into the equation above. For example, this time you want a serving size of 3.

3 / 6 = 0.5

  • 3 lbs x 0.5 = 1.5 lbs chicken pieces
  • ½ (.5) cup x 0.5 = (.25) 1/4 cup vinegar
  • ½ (.5) cup x 0.5 = (.25) 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 x 0.5 = 1 cloves garlic, minced

This will work fine with a calculator. Keeping it in software allows you to scale at any time and allows staff members to accurately convert recipes.

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 Recipe Costing Software 2020

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