Chris is the award-winning chef-patron at Bistro 46, Brixam
Chris wanted to eliminate spreadsheet hassle associated with food costings:
“After a straight 16 hours how am I supposed to stay up all night working on complex spreadsheets?”
Let's be honest, menu management is something Chris hates, he’d much rather be creating amazing food. He struggles to find the time; the kitchen simply runs too fast and is too hectic for him to ever get a quiet moment to focus on dish costs.
Chris realised that without concentrating on the numbers he was relying on guesswork to control his profits, and while some of the time this was good enough, most of the time he knew he could be making another 5% or even more, if he'd just had a chance to drill down to the detail.
Using a simple menu planning software has made much more sense to Chris. Until CaterCost his only choice had been complex menu management systems - really too difficult to use. CaterCost is just the catering software he was looking for - intuitive to use and providing all the menu management reports he needed.
Chris knew that unless he could find a menu pricing software that made food costing - particularly for sub-recipes - simple and painless he would continue to miss out on profit that was there for the taking... that’s when he found CaterCost…
Ceri runs the View Restaurant, Cornwall
“Since the horsemeat scandal, so many of my customers are asking for nutritional info about their food. Chain restaurants are displaying this information, but it's easier for them"
Like so many switched-on operators Ceri wants to set high standards and capture the health-conscious eating out market. She knows this will satisfy customer demand and give her the edge over her competition.
Her chef is against this but she knows he is not the customer, besides a lot of stuff on her menu is healthy and she wants to shout about it!
She plans to build a “healthy section” on her menu rather than publish full calorie counts.
She can't see how she will have the time to research ingredient-by-ingredient the nutritional makeup of her menu dishes – and doesn’t want the expense of full-on dish analysis in the laboratory as her menu changes frequently.
Ceri is delighted CaterCost calculates calorific value, protein, carbs, sugars, fats, sat fats and salt in every recipe, sub recipe and dish on her menu. With a database of over 15,000 nutritionally analysed ingredients to use within the system, she also has the ability to enter her own nutritional data against products she buys. CaterCost takes the effort out of nutritional analysis and provides her with an easy way to flag dishes below a calorie threshold as well as displaying full calorific content if she chooses.
She’s worried that the writing may be on the wall and wants to get ahead of the game. In the USA the Health Care Bill was introduced and required restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets to provide nutritional and calorie info for all their menu items. She's worried this might happen in the UK and is glad she's discovered CaterCost now to get ahead of the game!
EU Regulation FIR 1169/2011 covers the disclosure of 14 common allergens found in food
By December 2014 customers must be
provided with details of any of the
14 common allergens contained in any
dish on the menu. Saying “we do not know”
will no longer be enough.
Come December, any dish on your menu containing one
or more of these allergens will need to be communicated
to your customers by staff, which is a challenge in itself,
but there must also be a backup, and printed or visual
info must be provided if customers request it.
What are the allergens?
“As if life wasn’t complicated enough! This is a management nightmare – most recipes are in chef's head and what dish specifications we have are changing so often I can’t envisage a manageable way to comply.”
This is where CaterCost will be invaluable. CaterCost helps take the headache out of managing this information by providing one single online point of up-to-date and accurate info about your menus for your outlets - a place where all staff can refer, even if chef's on holiday or gets hit by a bus. CaterCost can also provide printed reports at the click of a mouse.
CaterCost will help you by tracking allergens through all your recipes and sub-recipes to ensure nothing is missed through human error.
Tim Munroe, Head Chef at the Kitchen Larder, Dorset
Tim has been struggling to find the time to deliver the dish specifications his boss asks for. Something always seems to crop up – staff shortages and unanticipated high volumes of trade leave him too harassed to prep for the next day without the added hassle of costing up new menu dishes. He's run out of fag packets to write recipe costs on!
He knows too that when he’s not there some of the other chefs do things differently which has led to customer dissatisfaction and lower GPs.His biggest enemy is time - he wants to eliminate spreadsheet hassle as it takes so long.
Tim knows that without an accurate dish spec some of the items on the menu aren’t delivering what his boss wants.
What Tim really wants is a simple recipe costing software programme to provide fully costed and accurately defined dish spec - so all he has to do is list the ingredients of the dish, their quantities (preferably in user-friendly terms like pinch and teaspoon and lbs and oz - not just metric) and everything else just magically happens.
Well that’s exactly what happens now he has CaterCost.
Now he simply types the ingredients and everything else miraculously occurs!
Once the dish is complete he chooses the recommended retail price, his desired GP or enters his own price and sees the GP he’ll be making on that dish. EASY.
Accuracy in food profits come from precision in dish and menu specification.
Matt Davies, Executive Head Chef at The Lewis Partnership, Stafford.
“Getting consistency for sub-recipes across the sites is vital to uplift profit”
Matt is like a walking encyclopaedia – carrying thousands of recipes in his head, and was always struggling to nail a documented dish spec.
Because the recipes weren't written down he could never be sure his chefs were making food batches to the right formula. Matt tried to solve this sub-recipe conundrum using spreadsheets – but with over 400 menu items and 200 sub-recipes the task was too enormous to tackle.
This problem isn't limited to multi-sites such as Matt's. Even a small independent operator will have a range of sub-recipes that are used to construct dishes on the menu.
How to cost a menu is something not everyone learns to do at chef college, and finding some simple software that helps easily calculate profit on dishes, accurately cost each dish on a menu without spreadsheet hassle has been invaluable.
This is where clients such as Matt are really feeling the time-saving benefits of CaterCost software.
Not only can he be precise with batch quantities and portions for each recipe, wth the accuracy to shave a few pence here and there to make big improvements to profitability, his data is always live, allowing price increases to flow through every sub-recipe he has created.
AND by using CaterCost NEW feature 'QUICK UPDATE" he can make changes to hundreds of items without a single mouse click.
Stephan Rondoz, South Deep Bistro, Poole.
“I love the user-friendliness of the costing part but frankly data entry makes me feel like jumping into the harbour”
Stephan is right, no system as sophisticated as CaterCost can operate without accurate data. He understands the quality of the initial data entry and costs of his supplied ingredients (meat, fish, fruit and veg, dried goods, frozen products etc,) is a VITAL part of setting up his dish costing system accurately.The initial data entry will determine the accuracy of his dish specifications.
That’s where CaterCost helps, by giving users options.
Stephan viewed paying for CaterCost’s “done-for-you-service” as a business investment, guaranteeing he’d make better margin immediately rather than keep making half-hearted solutions to his costing problems.
Store Cupboard: Load your purchase data and supplier details
Quick Data Entry: Bulk edit hundreds of store cupboard ingredients without a single mouse click
Recipes: Detail your sub-recipes to become fully costed entities and add to dishes in any quantity you like
Dishes: Create dish specifications for every menu item from supplied ingredient data and sub-recipes. Set retail price points according to desired Gross Profit %
Menus: Put together your menus from your library of dishes. Set your overall GP% and see underperforming dishes flagged. Enter sales mix against menu dishes to get an accurate GP% and cash margin per menu
Supplier Intelligence: Search prices of ingredients bought from more than one source to compare food costs
Say goodbye to working out your margins in your head or on the back of a fag packet.
Take our 48-hour FREE TRIAL and experience how fast and easy menu costing can be. This is a high tech product that chefs love to use.
Easily calculate profits on dishes, without spreadsheets or fag packets!
Unlike spreadsheets, CaterCost uses live data letting you create accurate dish specifications as quickly as you can type.
Forget having to fathom your component recipes as a single unit – enter a batch recipe and use it over and over fully costed in whatever quantity you choose.
One click price increase function updates recipes, sub-recipes and dish spec.
Real time theoretical reports on menu performance (cash margin and GP%).
Nutritional information and allergens are flagged in recipes and dishes automatically.
CaterCost allows users to enter ingredients in the language of the kitchen – both metric and imperial, a bunch, a pinch, a fillet, a bulb.
Add dish photos and recipe methods to ensure consistency.
'Copy' and edit specifications saving repetitive data entry.
CaterCost flags every underperforming dish.
Supplier intelligence compare supplier prices per 100g.
See dish by dish GP performance to allow menu layout to promote most profitable lines.
Hard copies of recipes and dish specs and menus as PDFs.
All menu info in one place – not in chef’s head or on random bits of paper.
Multiple users per location, each with their own log on and ‘permissions’. Unlimited supplied ingredient, recipe and dish spec entries.
Simple low cost pricing with no hidden extras.
Accuracy in food profits comes from precision in dish specification
The only menu costing system designed and created by a multi-award winning hospitality industry specialist explicitly for the independent sector. Founder Ali Carter has already won two entrepreneurial awards for CaterCost.
Cloud-hosted application running on the Microsoft Azure platform part of Microsoft’s global services platform, the same physical data centres which run Xbox Live. The system security is the same level as online banking and has all data written in triplicate so that the system never goes offline, even if a server does.
Windows and Mac compatable. Operates in all browsers.
If, like so many people, you or your team find being alone with a new bit of technology a bit daunting, or you’re worried you’ll get stuck and wont be able to make it work, our promise to you is you can speak to someone – a real person! We’ll speak to you on the phone for as long as it takes to help you use CaterCost.
Just what you need - a friendly voice to chat you through what ever you're trying to do.
“ With four sites and over a £million + turnover on food – small details have a big impact, I was sceptical at first – nothing has really ever got me to a point where I have an accurate library of fully costed recipes that we can use to shape our menus. That was before I discovered CaterCost. This is really IT.
I’m happy, my team is happy, the boss is happy ”
Matt Davies – Executive Chef at The Lewis Partnership, Stafford.