Businesses Class at the Institute of Culinary education

ICE and American Express Present: Recipe for Restaurant Profits

Cutting corners may seem easy and fast, but could you end up losing money in the long term? We asked ICE instructor Steve Zagor and American Express to explain how to determine your signature recipe for restaurant profits

Discover the number one thing you need to know to make money in the restaurant business and learn how seemingly unimportant details—including the attire of your staff or the design of your flatware—can boost or hinder sales.

To further maximize your restaurant's gains, we asked Zagor—a seasoned consultant and restaurateur— to highlight a few of his top tips for financial success in the competitive food industry:

  1. Gross Food Cost is how much you spend on all ingredients, divided by the total sales (not including sales tax). That resulting percentage is your main concern—it not only includes the menu item food costs, but any other food expenses (employee meals, complementary and discount dining, waste, etc.).
  1. The essential foundation for determining your Gross Food Cost is to perform an accurate food inventory on a regular weekly or monthly basis.
  1. When determining menu prices, it’s important to use the latest food cost information. To truly understand your food cost target, every item—even "complementary" elements like french fries, bread, and condiments—must be accounted for and included.

Ready to kick your culinary success into high gear? Train for excellence at ICE's School of Culinary Management.