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4 min read

This month we are going to dive into the kitchen. We’ll look at a wide variety of topics from inventory to food borne illness. But first we are going to start with the bottom line, food cost, and the first step to determining food costs is to determine your yields.

What Is The Yield

The yield is the amount of

usable product you get from the whole. For instance, when you get a pepper, you likely remove the stem and the seeds. Depending on the preparation, you may not use the entire top or bottom of the pepper. In the end, your yield is the part of the pepper you actually use. This is typically defined as a percentage.

Why Knowing Your Yields Are Important

Knowing your yields are important. It helps to determine the actual cost of an item on your menu. If you fail to account for waste in the preparation of your food, your food cost numbers could be off drastically. This means you are likely making less money on a menu item than you thought, and you may even be losing money with every one you sell.

Get Your Recipe

So how do you determine your food yields? To start off with you’ll need a recipe for every item on you menu. If you do not currently have these, it can take some time. Start with your best sellers and your high end items like steak or fish as these are the items that likely affect your bottom line the most.

We will take a look at the full food cost in our next article so for now just pick one ingredient within a recipe.

Determining Food Yields

Let’s say you have a bacon cheeseburger on your menu that is typically served with fries. On that burger is tomato. However, it is not a whole tomato, instead it’s just a slice. Does it have a fairly consistent thickness? It should.

Take out a small scale and weigh the entire tomato and write that value down. Next, cut the tomato as you would normally would to get the numerous slices. Keep the waste parts aside such as the stem and parts of the top and bottom. Cut as you normally would, don’t try to get the maximum yield out of the tomato unless that is how you always cut. If you try to get the best numbers now, your numbers will be off in the actual operation of your restaurant.

If you care to do both to see what your ideal yield could be, feel free to do so, but don’t use the ideal as your standard number. It may also be helpful to count the actual number of slices you get out of an average tomato as this may aid in your calculations later.

Now that your tomato is cut. Weigh all usable parts. If you are able to use the top and bottom of the tomato in a salsa, weigh that in to. If you don’t use it, keep it off. This should give you the ending yield of the tomato.

Take the ending (usable) yield and divide it by the original weight. This is your yield percentage. This is what we will use to determine our full food cost in the next article.

Proceed through the rest of the ingredients in the recipe to get your yields for each.

Items May Have A 100% Yield

Items such as one bun should typically have a 100% yield. So don’t think you are doing something wrong there. If you buy burgers that are pre-pattied you will likely have 100% yield on those as well.

Once you have your yield percentages, you can use them to determine the food cost of each item. We will look at that extended process in our article later this week.