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 Now I understand why Michel Roux Jnr studied accountancy

"Menu costing is an exact science"

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laptop.jpg“Michel clearly understood the link between successful restaurateurs and knowing your numbers”

No-one could be more passionate about exquisite food than Michelin starred chef restaurateur Michel Roux Jnr. But in 1983, after an illustrious start to his career working amongst other places at Le Gavroche, he learned accountancy at Finlay Robertson Accountants.

With high margins, restaurants have traditionally assumed enough leeway to allow an element of guesswork to dish costing, BUT not now:

• Increased competition

• Rising food costs

• Higher than average wage bills

• Greater proneness to wastage

• Larger kitchen overheads

More so than other food operations, this margin of error can soon erode.

Unless there is a menu management system to track and control costs and menu margins, guesswork could lead to disaster.

Many of today’s celebrity chefs have a restaurant bankruptcy in their closet as unlike Michel they focused only on the food and not on the numbers.

As an independent restaurant you are particularly vulnerable as there’s no back-up head office to help with the number crunching. That’s where CaterCost can help.


I want to provide my customers with a nutritional guide for all my  dishes without expense or effort

Ceri runs the View Restaurant, Cornwall

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Arrange a free consultation with a CaterCost food profit specialist

Click here for your free consultation


 Nutrition_laptop.jpg“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, as well as 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 concerned this might happen in the UK and is glad she's discovered CaterCost now to get ahead of the game!


 Changes in legislation on food labelling laws came into force on December 13th 2014

EU Regulation FIR 1169/2011 covers the disclosure of 14 common allergens found in food

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Arrange a free consultation with a CaterCost food profit specialist

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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”
is not enough.


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?

  1. Gluten (from cereals such as wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt)
  2. Crustaceans
  3. Molluscs
  4. Fish
  5. Peanuts
  6. Lupin
  7. Nuts (such as walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds etc.)
  8. Soya
  9. Eggs
  10. Milk
  11. Celery
  12. Mustard
  13. Sesame
  14. Sulphur dioxide (used as a preservative in some dried fruit)


“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 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. 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.


 Since using CaterCost I reckon every dish specification I now create takes me less than a minute!

Tim Munroe, Head Chef at the Kitchen Larder, Dorset

What’s your challenge?

Arrange a free consultation with a CaterCost food profit specialist

Click here for your free consultation


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 knows too 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 and the spreadsheets he’s been trying to work with take so long.

Tim knows, that without an accurate dish spec some of the items on the menus aren’t delivering what his boss wants.

What Tim really wants is a to get a 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.


 Real time saving comes into play, now I can create fully costed batched items and use them in any quantity, in any dish or recipe I want 

Matt Davies, Executive Head Chef at The Lewis Partnership, Stafford.

What’s your challenge?

Arrange a free consultation with a CaterCost food profit specialist

Click here for your free consultation


 SubRecipe_phone.jpg“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.

This is where CaterCost 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 from each recipe, wth the accuracy to shave a few pence here and there to make big improvements to profitability, but his data is always live, allowing price increases to flow through every sub-recipe he has created.

AND by using CaterCost NEW feature 'QUICK EDIT" you can make changes to hundreds of items without a single mouse click. 



Loads of boring data entry before I can get going? I haven’t got time for that and I'm no whizz with a mouse

Stephan Rondoz runs South Deep Bistro, Poole.

What’s your challenge?

Arrange a free consultation with a CaterCost food profit specialist

Click here for your free consultation


 DataEntry_iPad.jpg“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.

  • Option to start from an empty ingredients list (store cupboard). 
  • Option to customise and edit 600 standard kitchen store cupboard ingredients.
  • Option to get CaterCost to take care of your initial data pre-load – using your individual prices and suppliers

“Getting data in there as quickly and as accurately as possible to start was really important to me. I had the busy summer months looming and I didn’t want to hold up creating a really profitable summer menu by wasting time on data entry”

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.

What is CaterCost?

Market-leading menu costing software – to manage your menus, control your costs and improve your profits, without the need for spreadsheets, formulas, calculators (or a PHD in Maths)



How does it work?

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 and compare prices of ingredients bought from more than one source

catercostforrestaurant_food.jpgCaterCost for Restaurants

Affordable software putting you in control of your menu costs every day – even daily specials and price fluctuations.

Take control with the market leading menu management system for restaurants, take our 48-hour FREE TRIAL and experience how fast and easy food pricing can be. Sign up below.


Keeping on top of price fluctuations used to take me hours of tedious calculations adjusting my menu prices, now it just takes a few minutes. Price increases are fed straight to my dishes and the system alerts me when margins have fallen.

Chris Adey – Bistro 46, Brixham




CaterCost has really helped us push up margin. Every time we put a new special or dish on the menu at an outlet we can cost it. We can also see all our menu items in one place, which really helps us engineer the menus - it is particularly valuable at Rockfish where we are expanding with new restaurants.
My chefs use CaterCost every day and it has become part of daily business operation, we wouldn't be without it now.

Mitch Tonks – Restaurateur of the Year 2012 and Chef on TV's Saturday Kitchen. Proprietor of The Seahorse, Dartmouth - Best Seafood Restaurant - Good Food Guide 2013 & Rockfish - Best UK Independent Fish and Chips Restaurant 2013