food production control

Food production control
A foodservice operation must be viewed as a complex array of interrelated systems, each of which has special goals. The purchasing system, for example, is designed to ensure the availability of an adequate supply of the ingredients required for food production, each of a carefully selected quality and acquired at an optimum price.
The best means for ensuring that the purchasing system will achieve its aims—that purchasing events will conform to plans—was shown to be instituting a control process. This is true not only for the purchasing system, but also for the systems designed for receiving, storing, and issuing foods. As we will see, it is equally true for the production system.

A. Establishing standards and standard procedures
1. Ingredients
2. Proportions of ingredients
3. Production method
4. Quantity

To reach this goal, it is necessary to develop the following standards and standard procedures for each menu item:
1. Standard portion size
2. Standard recipe
3. Standard portion cost

Standard portion size
One of the most important standards that any foodservice operation must establish is the standard portion size, defined as the quantity of any item that is to be served each time that item is ordered. In effect, the standard portion size for any item is the fixed quantity of a given menu item that management intends to give each customer in return for the fixed selling price identified in the menu. It is possible and desirable for management to establish these fixed quantities in very clear terms. Every item on a menu can be quantified in one of three ways: by weight, by volume, or by count.

Weight, normally expressed in ounces (or grams, if the metric system is used), is frequently used to measure portion sizes for a number of menu items. Meat and fish are two of the most common. Steak, for example, is served in portion sizes of varying weights, typically ranging from 8 to 16 ounces, with the particular size for a specific restaurant being set by management. The same is true of roasts, often served in 4- or 5-ounce portions. Vegetables, particularly those purchased frozen, are commonly portioned by weight as well

Volume is used as the measure for portions of many menu items. Liquids (soups, juices, coffee, and milk, to name a few) are commonly portioned by volume expressed as liquid ounces (milliliters in the metric system). A cup of soup may contain 5 ounces, and a bowl of soup may contain 8; a portion of orange juice may be 3 or 4 ounces; coffee may be served in a 5-ounce portion; a glass of milk may contain 8 or 10 ounces.

Count is also used by foodservice operators to identify portion size. Such items as bacon, link sausage, eggs, chops, shrimp, and asparagus are portioned by count. Some foods are purchased by count, and this plays a major role in establishing portion size. Shrimp, for example, are purchased by number per pound (16 to 20 per pound is a common purchase size) and then portioned by number per shrimp cocktail (4 or 5 in one order). Potatoes and grapefruit are purchased by count per purchase unit, which clearly serves as a determinant of portion size. Potatoes for baking, for example, can be purchased in 50-pound boxes with a particular number per box specified. The higher the count per box (e.g., 120 rather than 90), the smaller the size of the portion served to the customer. Count is important even with some dessert items, such as pie, with the portion size expressed in terms of the number of slices of equal size to be cut from one pie.
There are many devices available to help the food service operator standardize portion sizes. Among the more common are the aforementioned scoops and slotted spoons, but there are many others, including ladles, portion scales, and measuring cups. Even the number scale or dial on a slicing machine, designed to regulate the thickness of slices, can aid in standardizing portion size

Aims and objectives of standard portion sizes
1.    Standard portion sizes help reduce customer discontent, which should be viewed as a major cause of customer loss and lost sales.

2.    Standard portion sizes help reduce customer discontent, which should be viewed as a major cause of customer loss and lost sales.

3.    Standard portion sizes also help to eliminate excessive costs.

Standard Recipes
Another important production standard is the recipe. A recipe is a list of the ingredients and the quantities of those ingredients needed to produce a particular item, along with a procedure or method to follow. A standard recipe is the recipe that has been designated the correct one to use in a given establishment.

Standard Portion Cost
A standard portion cost can be calculated for every item on every menu, provided that the ingredients, proportions, production methods, and portion sizes have been standardized. In general, calculating standard portion cost merely requires that one determine the cost of each ingredient used to produce a quantity of a given menu item, add the costs of the individual ingredients to arrive at a total, and then divide the total by the number of portions produced. However, there are several techniques for doing this.
Standard portion cost is defined as the dollar amount that a standard portion should cost, given the standards and standard procedures for its production.
There are several reasons for determining standard portion costs. The most obvious is that one should have a reasonably clear idea of the cost of a menu item before establishing a menu sales price for that item. For control purposes, there are additional reasons, including the need to make judgments in the future about how closely real or actual costs match standard costs, as well as the extent to which operating efficiency can be improved.

Calculating Standard Portion Costs:
There are several methods for calculating standard portion costs:
1. Formula
2. Recipe detail and cost card
3. Butcher test
4. Cooking loss test
Owners, managers, chefs, and others with responsible positions in foodservice should be familiar with and able to use all of these methods.

For many (perhaps even for a majority) of the menu items prepared in foodservice establishments, determining standard portion cost can be very simple. For a large number of items, one may determine portion cost by means of the formula

Purchase price per unit
Standard portion cost          =          ------------------------------
Number of portions per unit
For example, consider an establishment serving eggs on the breakfast menu, with two eggs as the standard portion. One can determine the standard cost of the portion by dividing the cost of a 30-dozen case of eggs—say, $41.40—by the number of two-egg portions it contains (180) to find standard portion cost of $.23.

41.40 purchase price per case
       ---------------------------------------------------------                  =          $.23
180 standard portions per case

This simple formula can also be used to find the standard cost of each of the additional items served in a typical standard breakfast, including the juice, bacon, toast, butter, and coffee. The sum of the standard costs of the individual items will thus be the standard cost of the whole breakfast, possibly offered in a particular restaurant as Breakfast Special #3, at a $4.95 menu price. In many restaurants today, large numbers of menu items are purchased already portioned by vendors. Determining the cost of one portion of any of these items is very simple: One divides purchase price by number of portions. Frankfurters purchased 12 to the pound for $2.40 cost $.20 each.

Recipe Detail and Cost Card
For menu items produced from standard recipes, it is possible to determine the standard cost of one portion by using a form known as a recipe detail and cost card.


Once the cost of each ingredient has been established, the total cost of preparing the recipe is determined by adding the costs of the individual ingredients. This total is divided by the number of portions Produced (called the yield), gives the cost of one standard portion. As long as ingredients of standard quality are purchased as specified and at relatively stable market prices, this should be the cost of producing one standard portion, provided there is no waste.

There are two special techniques used to determine standard portion costs for items requiring the kinds of processing described: the butcher test and the cooking loss test. In general, the butcher test is used to determine standard portion costs for those items portioned before cooking, and the cooking loss test is used for those items portioned after cooking. In some instances, both tests may be required to determine standard portion costs.

Butcher Test
When meat, fish, and poultry are purchased as wholesale cuts,the purchaser pays the same price for each and every pound of the item purchased, even though, after butchering, the resulting parts may have entirely different values. If, for example, a particular cut of beef is approximately half fat and half usable meat, the two parts clearly have different uses and different values, even though they were purchased at the same price per pound because both were part of one wholesale cut. Among other purposes, the butcher test is designed to establish a rational value for the primary part of the wholesale piece.
A butcher test is usually performed under the supervision of amanager, chef, or food controller, who would ask a butcher to assist in testing a particular item. The butcher uses his or her special skills to break the item down into its respective parts, keeping the parts separate so that they can be weighed. As the butcher prepares to begin, the other individual records some basic information about the item being tested at the top of the butcher test card


Cooking Loss Test
The primary purpose for the cooking loss test is the same as that for the butcher test: determining standard portion cost. The cooking loss test is used for those items that cannot be portioned until after cooking is complete. With these items, one must taken into account the weight loss that occurs during cooking. Therefore, one cannot determine the quantity remaining to be portioned until cooking is completed and portionable weight can be determined. Cooking loss varies with cooking time and temperature, and it must be taken into account in determining standard portion costs.


Yield percentage
The yield percentage (or yield factor) is defined as the percentage of a whole purchase unit of meat, poultry, or fish that is available for portioning after any required in-house processing has been completed. This percentage is calculated by dividing the portionable weight by the original weight of the purchase unit before processing.

yield percentage can be used in a number of quantity calculations. The general formula for these is

Number of portions - Portion size (as a decimal)
Quantity           =                                -----------------------------------------------------
Yield percentage

As with any formula, it is possible to solve for any one of the terms, provided the other three are known. Thus, given quantity, portion size, and yield factor, one could determine the number of standard portions that should be produced from the given quantity. Or, given quantity, number of portions, and yield factor, one could determine the portion size that should be served to feed a given number of people with a given quantity of meat. The following are three variations on the basic formula:

Quantity - Yield percentage
Number of portions =          -------------------------------------------
Portion size

Quantity - Yield percentage
Portion size               =          ----------------------------------------------
Number of portions

Number of portions - Portion size
Yield percentage       =          --------------------------------------------------

forecasting is a process in which managers use data and intuition to predict what is likely to occur in the future. It amounts to intelligent, educated guesswork about future events. If one can predict the future with reasonable accuracy, appropriate plans can be made to prepare an enterprise for dealing with the predicted events. In the food industry, which deals with highly perishable products, predicting accurately and planning properly can be major factors in operating with a profit.
 Forecasting is a principal element in cost control. If sales volume can be predicted accurately, then plans can be made for purchasing appropriate quantities of food to prepare for anticipated sales. Purchasing unneeded quantities can be avoided, thus reducing the possibilities for waste, spoilage, and pilferage. In addition, plans can be made for producing particular numbers of portions for sale on particular dates, thus reducing the possibilities for excessive costs to develop. Moreover, establishing control over purchasing can lead automatically to control over production: It is impossible to prepare a greater number of portions than necessary if the raw materials for overproduction do not exist.
For example, if recent history indicated 300 to 315 sales for dinner on Mondays in pleasant weather, one could reasonably anticipate that the next Monday would bring approximately the same volume of business if good weather were expected. In this case, it would probably be safe to predict 315 sales.
The next step is to forecast the anticipated number of sales of each item on the menu. This is simpler to do if the menu is identical to those that have appeared on Mondays in the past. However, it can also be done for changing menus if the sales history is set up to reflect the relative popularity of individual items as compared with a changing variety of other items appearing on the same menu. This type of forecasting is more difficult, but by no means impossible.
If the sales history shows both portion sales and popularity index, the popularity index is the easier to use for predicting. For example, if item M usually represents 20 percent of total sales on Tuesday evenings, it would be fairly safe to predict that, next Tuesday, item M would also represent 20 percent of the anticipated 300sales, or 60 portions. Thus, to forecast portion sales of a given item, one multiplies total forecasted portion sales by popularity index for the given item. After this has been done for every item that will appear on the menu, the result is a forecast of anticipated sales for a particular day or period. However, this forecast must be considered flexible, subject to change as conditions change. A change in weather forecast, for example, may indicate a need to change the number of sales forecast if there is sufficient time to do so.
After one member of the management team has developed the forecast, it should be reviewed by another member of the team.

Computation of Employee Meals
There are numerous techniques for determining the cost of employees meals. Some are in relatively common use in the industry, and others are comparatively uncommon. The four described here are among those in general use:

1. Cost of separate issues: This technique requires that employees be given food other than that which is prepared for customers. All food used in the preparation of employee meals must be issued separately and listed on requisitions, which are kept separately from all other food requisitions used in the establishment. If the food issued is listed on separate requisitions, one can readily determine its cost: A particular individual is assigned the task of pricing the requisitions, For any given period, the total value of the foods listed on these special requisitions is equal to the cost of food for employee meals for the period.
This technique is best suited to those operations large enough to maintain separate preparation and dining areas for their employees. Thus, it is used in a number of larger hotels but in comparatively few restaurants.

2. Prescribed amount per meal per employee: A somewhat more common approach is to direct the chef to give employees meals that will cost no more than a specific fixed amount per meal. For example, the fixed amounts established for meals may be 20 rs for breakfast, 30 rs for luncheon, and 30 rs for dinner. A procedure is established to keep daily records of the number of employees consuming each of these meals. These totals are added to cumulative figures for the period. The total cost of employees’ meals for the period is determined by multiplying the fixed amount per meal by the number of employees who consume that meal during the period and then adding together the totals for the several possible meals. If employees have no choice of meals (if, for example, luncheon is the only meal they are permitted), this technique for determining the cost of employees’ meals is comparatively easy to use.

3. Prescribed amount per period: Because some find it difficult to keep records of the numbers of employees consuming meals each day, there is another technique that requires no such records. Management simply informs the chef of a fixed amount that will be credited to food cost for employee meals for each period, regardless of the number of employees who actually have meals on the premises. It is then up to the chef to estimate the number who will eat and either prepare food that will not exceed the cost guideline or offer employees food prepared for customers that do not exceed this permissible cost.

4. Sales value multiplied by cost percent: Another technique requires that each employee who eats record the selections on a check. This may or may not be the same as the guest check used in the dining room. The menu price is recorded next to each selection. The check is totaled, but the employee is not asked to pay it. The checks are totaled at the end of the period. This grand total is then multiplied by the average food cost percent in recent periods to arrive at a reasonable cost figure for employee meals for that period.
By means of these or other alternative techniques, it is possible to arrive at a reasonable figure for the cost of employee meals.


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