ANFP Practice Standards: Controlling Costs In Food Service
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The professional standards outlined here provide dietary managers with guidelines for controlling excess costs by standardizing recipes, practicing portion control, and reducing waste.
Other Practice Standards
Last Updated May 2012
In times of rising costs, dietary managers become the experts in eliminating inefficiency and waste. Controlling both of these has to do with establishing and following standards.
Following are two standards that, when followed, should help CDMs control both inefficiency and waste.
The certified dietary manager (CDM) shall ensure that inefficiency in the kitchen is reduced through the use of portion control and standardized recipes.
1.1 Purchasing is based on the facility menu with product specifications indicated.
1.2 Standard portion sizes are established for every menu item and every special diet.
- If portions are by weight, such as meat items or frozen vegetables, standards are established for small, medium, and large sizes in a range of weights.
- If portions are by volume, such as soups, juices, and milk, standards are established for small, medium, and large sizes by the ounce.
- If portions are by count, such as bacon, eggs, and bread, standards are established for small, medium, and large sizes by number.
Portion sizes for a general diet may be equivalent to the following:
- Casserole = 1 cup
- Cooked vegetables = 1/2 cup or 4 oz. spoodle
- Pureed rice, pasta, or cooked vegetables = 1/3 cup or #10 disher/portion scoop
- Rice or mashed potatoes = 1/2 cup or #8 disher/portion scoop
- Tossed salad = 1 cup
- Items served in a full size 2" counter pan — cut 4" x 8" for 8 oz. portion
- Canned fruit = 1/2 cup or 4 oz. spoodle
- Sliced items such as fruit or tomatoes = 2 slices each
- Whole meat items = 3 oz. cooked (4-5 oz. raw)
1.3 Utensils to portion foods such as dishers, spoodles, ladles, and portion scales are available.
1.4 Foodservice staff receives training in portion sizes and how to use portion control devices such as meat slicers and guides.
1.5 Standardized recipes are followed for every possible menu item.
1.6 Standard portion costs are determined for most menu items, particularly the high-dollar items. (See Guide 1 for calculating standard portion costs.)
1.7 Standard portion costs for items where a cooking or yield loss occurs are calculated to include the cooking loss or yield. (See Guide 2 for calculating portion cost with yield percentage.)
1.8 Foodservice staff receives training on the cost impact of over-portioning.
1.9 Production is monitored to ensure that portion sizes, portion devices, and standardized recipes are used and followed.
1.10 Service is monitored to observe resident consumption of portions ordered.
1.1 Production schedules include standardized recipe identification number, portion sizes, and portion devices.
1.2 Physical inventory records provide the basis for par inventory levels.
1.3 Training records are evaluated to make sure foodservice staff has received training; training records are maintained in the foodservice department.
1.4 Variance between expected portion costs and real portion costs are monitored and corrected.
1.5 Recommendations for changes in serving sizes for residents/clients are documented based on observations of intake.
Par Inventory: Minimum quantity needed for a menu cycle.
Disher: Commonly known as an ice cream scoop, the true name is disher/portion scoop. Sizes are based on the number of portions in a quart, so a #8 disher/portion scoop would be equivalent to 4 ounces.
The certified dietary manager (CDM) shall ensure that waste in the foodservice department is reduced through proper monitoring of food usage.
2.1 Purchasing standards such as par inventory amounts are established and utilized.
2.2 Standardized receiving procedures are established and used to ensure proper rotation of inventory.
2.3 Standards for labeling leftovers that include a use-by date are established, used, and monitored.
2.4 A menu cycle that includes use of previous days' foods is utilized when quality can be maintained and food safety ensured.
2.5 A method for recording wasted food is available and utilized.
2.6 Inventory is monitored weekly to check for unusual usage.
2.7 A policy and procedure for discouraging theft is in place and followed. (See Guide 3 for a sample procedure.)
2.8 Foodservice staff receives training on recording food waste, theft policy, and maintaining a par inventory.
2.9 Preventive maintenance programs, including temperature calibration, are used for equipment such as oven and refrigeration units.
2.1 Documentation of using purchasing standards is available and utilized.
2.2 Training records are evaluated to make sure foodservice staff has received training; training records are maintained in the foodservice department.
2.3 Menu cycles are reviewed regularly for efficient use of leftovers; changes are implemented when feasible and as appropriate.
2.4 Cost of food waste determined from records is monitored and corrected.
Guide 1: Calculating Standard Portion Cost
For many items in foodservice, a simple formula can be used to determine standard portion costs: Purchase price per unit divided by the number of portions per unit.
For example, to determine the cost of a serving of canned green beans:
- Step 1: Determine purchase price per unit: Purchase price per case: 6-#10 cans = $16.95 $16.95/ 6 = $2.82 per #10 can or per unit.
- Step 2: Determine number of portions per unit: Number of portions per #10 can: 25, 4 oz. portions.
- Step 3: Divide purchase price per unit by the number of portions per unit $2.82/ 25 = $0.11 per 4 oz. serving.
A good reference text — such as Food for Fifty — provides tables of common can sizes and approximate numbers of portions, common pan capacities, and common ladle and disher/portion scoop equivalents to help you determine standard portion sizes.
Guide 2: Calculating Portion Cost With Yield Loss
Determining portion costs for foods that have a cooking loss or yield loss has an additional step. Find a resource — such as Food for Fifty — that provides a table with cooking loss or yield amounts. To determine the portion cost of a serving of a fresh melon cup:
- Step 1: Look up the yield loss on melon — approximately 52 percent.
- Step 2: Look up the price per melon from the produce invoice: $1.69 per melon.
- Step 3: Determine the number of servings from one melon = 8 slices.
- Step 4: Divide the original price per melon by the yield $1.69/ .52 = $3.25 (Note: 52 percent is .52 as a decimal)
- Step 5: Divide the new cost per melon by the number of 4 oz servings of fruit cup. $3.25/ 8 = $0.41 per fruit cup
Guide 3: Sample Procedures for Discouraging Food Waste from Theft
- Move items from delivery to storage as quickly as possible.
- Limit who takes out the trash and vary whose duty it is daily. It's a good idea to assign two employees to this task.
- Designate times when the trash goes out.
- Use clear trash liners.
- Follow fire codes and limit the number of doors that are unlocked.
- Limit access to storage areas by assigning one or two people to get the food for the day's production.
- Allow employees to take home leftovers only if there is a policy to pay for them.
- Secure access of the foodservice department during off-hours.
- Make food theft cause for immediate dismissal and ensure employees are aware of this policy.
- Have locks on storage areas, freezers, and extra coolers.
These standards are designed to help the CDM control costs in their foodservice department. Following this guidance is key to helping eliminate inefficiency and waste — and making the department run more cost-effectively.
By Susan Davis Allen, MS, RD, CHE
Susan Davis Allen, MS, RD, CHE is the original author of this standard. It was updated in 2011 by Becky Rude, MS, RD, CDM, CFPP. Allen is advisor to the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers. Rude serves as chair of that board.
Food for Fifty (can also be purchased as a CD-ROM), by Mary Molt, 11th Ed., Prentice Hall, 2000.
Principles of Food, Beverage, and Labor Cost Controls, by Paul R. Dittmer, 7th Ed., John Wiley & Sons, 2003