How to make a standard recipe card

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A standard recipe card is a tool to help chefs and restaurant owners be aware of the cost of each item on the restaurant menu. The average of all the costs per dish will give you the outlets potential cost. This is an important tool to measure the food cost. Once this is in place, later, through menu engineering the popularity of each dish can be established. Knowing the yield of a particular item is very important while creating recipes.

An ideal standard recipe card should have the following:

Recipe number

This number can correlate to the dish on the master sheet which we will create later.

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Menu category

This refers to the section in which a particular menu item belongs to. Menus are normally divided into snacks, appetizers, soups, main course and dessert. I like to create separate excel sheets for each menu category

Menu item

The name of the dish itself.

Portions

This is an important section as a lot of people forget to update this. I encourage all chefs/managers to make recipes based on ten portions. Cooking is skill based and in large food establishments, the skill varies. Hence doing portions based on ten portions gives you a more accurate representation of ground realities.

Outlet served

This is normally for hotels which have a number of food and beverage outlets. It is the name of the outlet a particular item is served in.

Ingredient

This is a detailed list of all the items which go into making a dish.

Quantity

Knowing the yield of a particular item is very important while creating recipes

Eg. If you use 300g of peppers for ten portions in a specific cut which has a lot of wastage and you are actually using 600g of peppers to get that cut, the amount to be entered will be 600g.

Unit

This is the unit of measurement of the said item. The packaging of food items vary hence it is essential to maintain unit uniformity. I prefer using all the units as kilograms for solids and litres for liquids.

Unit price

Because of various packaging. There will be a difference in cost. Make sure to make all of this uniform or to insert the current unit and unit price.

Total

This is the total cost of the ingredient in the preparation of that dish. It is calculated by multiplying unit price into quantity.

Miscellaneous cost

This is miscellaneous cost which you add to the recipe to account for other factors during operations which you may have forgotten to add. Salt while blanching, spices while cooking, etc.

Total cost

This is the sum of all the prices in the total column.

Waste and drain

A normal 5% of the total cost is calculated as cooking loss, thawing loss, waste, drain of frozen items, etc.

Cost per portion

Cost per portion is the total cost plus 5% waste and drain divided by the number of portions the dish is costed for cost.

Method of preparation can be added below the recipes to standardize it for all team members and ensure consistency.

Master Sheet

The master sheet includes recipe number, name of the dish, cost per portion, proposed selling price, all taxes, selling price after tax and cost percentage of the dish. The average of all the costs will give you the potential cost of an outlet.

Nigel J Lobo
Nigel J Lobo is currently the Executive Chef and Group Culinary Administrator at the Royal Orchid Hospitality Group in Dubai. Prior to this, he was the Chef de Cuisine at The Eloquent Elephant at the Taj Dubai. Nigel holds a Bachelors degree in Tourism Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Kitchen Management from the renowned Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development (OCLD). He spent his formative years training at Miramar under Michelin star Chef Paco Perez, at Compartir under Chef Mateu Casanas in Spain; Attica in Australia under Chef Ben Shewry, La Vie under Chef Thomas Buhner in Germany and at a local tapas bar in Valladolid-La Tahona under Chef Jose. Nigel remains passionate about Modern European cuisine and being born and raised in the UAE, he has harnessed the locally available produce to create successful menus which he has rolled out across all the group’s outlets. Keen to share his experiences to educate and guide young chefs or students who are looking at starting a career in the Food & Beverage industry, Nigel recently launched his website (www.nigeljlobo.com) which has different sections breaking down complex F&B terminology into simple, understandable lingo. A career that started in his late teens, Nigel has developed his skills over the years and currently oversees the operations for ten of the group’s restaurants – from efficiently controlling the logistics of services and supplies, pricing the menus for various segment and portioning the plates, to training staff and maintaining consistency in product offering across all restaurants. A sports and music enthusiast, Nigel enjoys playing squash in his free time and has been a lifelong supporter of the English football club Arsenal FC. Nigel is also a trained pianist and now admits that playing the instrument, something that used to be a chore whilst growing up, is now his best remedy to unwind and destress.