In planning any particular pork entrée, how much pork to buy becomes an important consideration. The objective is to order enough to satisfy demand with the absolute minimum left over.

General guidelines are helpful, but arriving at exact figures is easily confounded by the variables involved: weight, size, and shape of cuts, whether they are bone-in or boneless, fat cover, cooking loss, trimming, and holding time.

Food Cost

Arriving at an accurate food cost is, at heart, a simple concept. Take the cost of the food, divide it by the price to the customer, express this as a percentage, and that’s your food cost percentage. Example: A dish of roast pork loin, with scalloped potatoes and buttered spinach costs, for the sake of argument, $4.00 It sells on the menu at $16; $4 (cost of food on the plate) ÷ $16 (selling price) x 100 = 25% food cost.

Food Cost Percentage

This figure tells only part of the story. Labour costs need to be taken into account. Loss due to trimming and weight loss during cooking have to be looked at as well. Most importantly, it doesn’t tell you how to decide on a price per-portion that will give you the desired food cost percentage.

Portion Cost

A pork loin purchased bone in, tail on, for eventual use as boneless steaks will need boning out and trimming. The smart operator will know how to decide how much useable product he can derive from the loin, and therefore the real cost per portion. He can also make an informed decision about choosing whether to buy cuts that need further trimming or to buy portion-cut items that require no further processing (and also less need for skilled labour and increased labour costs).


Yield Percentage

To arrive at the real cost, take the original weight and  the weight after trimming and boning. In this case, the loin weighed 5kg on delivery costing $25, and 3.75kg after trimming and boning. 3.75kg (useable weight) ÷ 5kg (as-purchased, or AP weight) x 100 = 75% yield.


Portion Selling Price

Now you can figure out exactly how many portions  you can make from one loin of any weight: For example, a 6.2kg loin will yield 6.2kg x 75% = 4.65kg useable weight. If you are serving 100g steaks, divide the useable weight (in grams) by the serving size: 4650g ÷ 100 = 46 100g portions. How much will each steak cost me? The loin cost $25, and this gave 46 portions, so, $25 ÷ 46 = $0.54 per steak.


Cost Per Serving

But you may want to know the cost of putting 5 oz of pork on the customer’s plate, that is, the cooked portion. In this case the useable (uncooked) weight will be further reduced by the cooking process. Using the same methods used to arrive at a yield percentage, calculate the final yield percentage after cooking. The weight of a particular item, trimmed, portioned and served, is the “as served” or AS weight. Cooking loss for any particular cut will vary according to cooking time and temperature, oven type, and other factors. Experience is the best guide.

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Costing for Foodservice
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