In the past, Jeanne has worked on calculating food costs and if she were writing this, she would tell you that it is no picnic. There is a lot of math involved and a lot of conversions of cups into pounds and ounces into gallons. I never really understood how she calculated it and if she told me that she needed to shake a chicken leg over the paper and recite a spell before doing the final calculations, I wouldn’t have questioned her at all.
So yesterday in my quest to find the perfect bakery inventory management system (hint: it doesn’t exist), I stumbled upon an application housed in Square that calculates food costs. Immediately, it met my criteria for liking an app…1) it was pretty, and 2) it does the math automatically. With just a click I imported our menu from Square and then could choose a pie and start typing in the ingredients.
I was more than a little anxious to get started on the project today. I gathered up all of our invoices from Springfield Grocer, whipped out an ink pen and my iPhone calculator and immediately realized that it so wasn’t going to be easy. Because in math, nothing ever is. Right?
My immediate problem was that our sugar comes in 50 pound bags, so I needed to figure out how many cups were in the bag. And then I needed to divide the cost of the bag by the cups in the bag. And then I needed to multiple the cost per cup by the number of cups in German Chocolate to find out the total cost of the sugar in the recipe. And maybe that sounds easy to you, but that scenario took me about an hour and a fair amount of swearing.
By the end of the day, I had managed to figure out the cost per cup of sugar, flour, and brown sugar. But trust me when I tell you that it wasn’t fun and I didn’t enjoy it one single bit and I’m only about 81% confident in my results. So I brought home all of our food invoices and pitched my find to Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason who LIVES FOR THIS CRAP. He was more than happy to plop it down by me and start working through each ingredient in the German Chocolate pie.
Except it wasn’t easy as he thought it would be (ahem). We both did pretty good until it came time to work through what a batch of dough yields – 48 nine-inch pies – and the mass quantity it takes to make 48 nine-inch shells, but to only include one shell in the recipe calculation. And as epic proof that we are yin and yang, I demanded after five minutes that we just call it .32 cents and move on because that sounded reasonable. He worked a solid 15 minutes longer or so and actually came up with a number based on fact. I begrudgingly agreed it was good data to have. This is me resting on invoices while he was calculating (I was actually trying mediation so I wouldn’t yell at him just to let it go and move on, if you want to know the truth of it)…
Once we were finally finished, we were happy to see that our food costs for German Chocolate are right where they should be…under the recommended 30% industry standard. And it looks like it will be easy to update as prices for eggs, butter, and german chocolate fluctuate. And then Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason messed around with the app for a while, adding in labor costs and who-knows-what-else because he likes that sort of thing, and I don’t. Obviously.
So, only 44 more pie recipes to go. AWESOME…said no one ever. Except maybe Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason.