How to control your commercial kitchen’s stock

In addition to cooking delicious food, maintaining excellent hygiene standards and looking after your staff, premises and equipment, stock control is an important task. Not having the right levels of stock will gain you a reputation for only ever serving up half of the menu and could result in missing sales, or it could see you throwing away too much unused food.

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Here we provide a four-step system for maintaining excellent control of the stock in your commercial kitchen, which could lead to healthier profit margins.

Step One

First things first: price up each recipe on your menu down to its unit price. You can do this recipe by recipe by working out how much each ingredient costs and how much you need for each unit, then adding them up to make a cost price for each single unit. Compare this to the sale price of your meal to find your Cost Percentage Goal. Note that the industry standard for food costs is around 30%.

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Step Two

Every month, take a stock check of your items. You will then need four numbers to calculate your Actual Cost Percentage: A – The value of the stock at the start of month, B – Total purchases of food items, C – Value of the stock at the end of the month and D – Total sales of food sold during the month. The formula is then A + B – C = E; E will be the Total Stock Value used in your kitchen. Next, divide E from D to get your Actual Cost Percentage.

Step Three

Look at the items that represent the largest input from sales and have the biggest stock value, such as steak, and first try to control that stock using the above methods. Periphery ingredients tend to fall in line when you have control of the items that have the biggest effect on margins.

Step Four

Make sure you have the necessary storage to retain stock safely for as long as possible. Chest freezers such as those found at will enable you to keep more food for longer.

Excellent stock control is an important part of managing a commercial kitchen and maintaining healthy profits. Using this formula can help you move closer from your Actual Cost Percentage to your Cost Percentage Goal.