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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 11-20-2012, 11:12 PM   #1
hossrocks
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Hey Gang, I have recently opening a small BBQ joint. I'm trying to get my COGS under control. Brief history: I've been catering full time for 6 yrs out of our BBQ trailer and have finally grown into needing a commercial kitchen full time during our season. With the kitchen came 40 seats and frontage to a main road. While catering and vending I have always lived by hard cost x3 to set my prices for meals and sammies. Its keeps me competitive with other caterers.

I have done the same thing with our joint and my cogs are running Between 38-42%. Everything I have read says that I should run 30-35%. With an all protein menu is that even possible? Restaurant owners, am I on the right track?

Any help would be great!!! Thanks Brethren.
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Unread 11-20-2012, 11:48 PM   #2
Pyle's BBQ
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Are you doing other things from scratch? I am making every thing from scratch and my COGS is running around 45%. What are your other costs? Like labor, supplies and fixed costs? How precise is your inventory when you figure your COGS? I am currently going through the same thing and these are the question I have to answer.

PM me if you have questions.
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Unread 11-21-2012, 12:39 AM   #3
hossrocks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyle's BBQ View Post
Are you doing other things from scratch? I am making every thing from scratch and my COGS is running around 45%. What are your other costs? Like labor, supplies and fixed costs? How precise is your inventory when you figure your COGS? I am currently going through the same thing and these are the question I have to answer.

PM me if you have questions.
My accountant helps me keep inventory and shrinkage pretty tight. All of our meat and most of our sides are from scratch. Our menu is pretty small. Mac and cheese, beans, slaw, potato salad, garlic smashed potatoes and fries. Meats are Brisket, pork, sausage and pulled chicken. Tri tip and turkey for specials.
My labor is terrible, but getting better as we grow. Fixed cost are low as I own everything but the POS system and the sign on the front of the building.
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Unread 11-21-2012, 10:34 AM   #4
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When you go from a catering operation to a restaurant you increase your fixed costs and labor. Hopefully you make some of it up in volume since you are sellling every day instead of weekends and some daily gigs. Labor is the big monster and you need to get that under control right away. Have people there only when you are busy, send people home during the down times and bring them back during the busy hours. Split their shifts, part time labor will help greatly. Are you sure your prices are high enough? What is the competition doing and how do your prices compare? Everything is a moving target so keep on top of things daily.
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Unread 11-21-2012, 03:32 PM   #5
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We are finding that our food costs are running 35-45% depending on volume. Labor is killing us also. We try to keep it as low as possible. We go over our numbers every two weeks, just to keep it under control. We found that as we get more sales our food costs go down. Like PorkQPine said you will see your costs go down as sales grow. When we have good sales our food costs drop to around 30%.
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Unread 11-23-2012, 05:43 AM   #6
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How do you stay in biz with food costs that hi???
Ours runs 32-35% with labor running about 12% thru the week.
Your prices need to be adjusted to bring % into line.
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Unread 11-23-2012, 01:16 PM   #7
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Here is the problem with a bbq joint. Brisket is very high you take yield into consideration. If you tried to sell it at 35% or lower, for just a 5oz sandwich you will be at 10-12 bucks. Pork on the other hand you can sell in the high 20 percent range to help bring other averages down. If you have a small menu and your higher percentage items are your most popular you are going to have an overall COGS. Are you factoring in to go products in your COGS? If not add those in and your number will increase more. The best way to find out is cost out each and every meal individually and see where that leaves you. My restaurant sells a lot of ribs, so my food cost runs higher. But when I sell some apps at 18% food cost I am able to average it out and bring that high number down a little. In a perfect world you want to be at 30%, some items in the industry, its just not possible, ribs, brisket, good steaks, you are going to be in the 40-45% range or they are going to rot in your walk in. BBQ bubba, damn keeping your labor that low is GREAT, your owner must be making a killing!
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Unread 11-23-2012, 02:51 PM   #8
hossrocks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
How do you stay in biz with food costs that hi???
Ours runs 32-35% with labor running about 12% thru the week.
Your prices need to be adjusted to bring % into line.
Bubba, I could only wish to have numbers like that. Outside of volume are you guys cooking your meats differently to gain a higher yield? I'm averaging 55-60% yeild on my pork and 50-55% on brisket and chicken. We are using almost everything in one way or another for specials.
Our prices are comparable to the few BBQ joints in town. Mostly franchise joints. Famous Dave's, Dickeys and Goodwood. I've pushed our specials to $8.50 in some instances, but the tolerance level is pretty low so far. BTW, Bubba I follow you guys on FB. Hats off to your specials brotha. Very creative.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacked UP BBQ View Post
Here is the problem with a bbq joint. Brisket is very high you take yield into consideration. If you tried to sell it at 35% or lower, for just a 5oz sandwich you will be at 10-12 bucks. Pork on the other hand you can sell in the high 20 percent range to help bring other averages down. If you have a small menu and your higher percentage items are your most popular you are going to have an overall COGS. Are you factoring in to go products in your COGS? If not add those in and your number will increase more. The best way to find out is cost out each and every meal individually and see where that leaves you. My restaurant sells a lot of ribs, so my food cost runs higher. But when I sell some apps at 18% food cost I am able to average it out and bring that high number down a little. In a perfect world you want to be at 30%, some items in the industry, its just not possible, ribs, brisket, good steaks, you are going to be in the 40-45% range or they are going to rot in your walk in. BBQ bubba, damn keeping your labor that low is GREAT, your owner must be making a killing!
I've done just that. Went through the menu just the other day again. Food cost are averaging 33-35%. I'm striving for a balanced menu but I'm finding it tough. Brisket is our most popular menu item.

Thanks for the help fellas
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[B]Concessions and Catering[/B]
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Unread 11-26-2012, 01:27 AM   #9
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Jacked Up is right on...also look at your menu and place you higher profit items where the people will notice that item first and make it sound like it is the best deal for them...Brisket and ribs are tough on the bottom line...however brisket stew catches thier brisket fix (soup equals good profit) and add to a pulled pork sandwich or mac..... dont drop your price, just call it a "SPECIAL"
Labor costs really add up at the end of the week and sending people home will not cause a good work enviroment. A busy night is busy and well everyone has to belly up and make it happen..however on a typical busy night if it is slow there is always cleaning to be done, fridge stripped out and food that got pushed back etc..have them get a jump on the nightly stuff and bust out early..how many times when you are busy and everyone has to stay / clean / organize for the start up of the next day and it is midnight..and the smoker isnt even running for tomorow..so watch the staff head count because I noticed that adding someone thinking it is going to be busy cuts hard into the overall... however I never was able to get 35% for the week...I think my best was 38....and I was shooting for 28%..and then I faced reallity..
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Unread 11-27-2012, 12:13 PM   #10
cynfulsmokersbbq
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This is a very informative thread, Thank you all for participating in it!

I have a question.

Where does catering figure into your COG % Do you keep a separate business line for catering, or is it figured into your restaurants overall percentages?

Thank you and I'm sure I will be back with more questions.
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Unread 11-27-2012, 03:00 PM   #11
Bbq Bubba
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynfulsmokersbbq View Post
This is a very informative thread, Thank you all for participating in it!

I have a question.

Where does catering figure into your COG % Do you keep a separate business line for catering, or is it figured into your restaurants overall percentages?

Thank you and I'm sure I will be back with more questions.
Our catering is rolled into the raunt as daily sales. Catering runs maybe 5% of overall sales.
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Unread 11-27-2012, 04:00 PM   #12
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Food Sales are food sales, catering or restaurant.
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