Did You Forget Something In Your Recipe Costing?

Calculating your plate cost for any given recipe is essential to the profitability and survival of your restaurant.  When calculating your recipe cost, you want to be sure to include every food item which goes into the recipe (you’re saying “duh”!)  But what about the “free” bread and butter you serve, or maybe the intermezzo, or some other item which every table receives but is not charged for?  Where do you put those costs?  I usually include it in the cost of the entree, figuring that most people will purchase an entree.  Also, what about the cost of the frying oil?  It is part of your food cost at the end of the month, but is it worked into the cost of your plates?  What I would recommend for the fryer oil is to determine the cost of your average monthly usage of fryer oil and divide that by your average monthly entrees sold.  Add that cost to the cost of every entree.  Another thing chefs tend to forget is to add the cost of the oil needed for their saute items, or the butter used to toss the veggies in.

The Importance of Calculating EP Cost

Another very important calculation is to use the EP Cost (Edible Portion Cost), not the AP Cost (As Purchased Cost).  If you put 4 oz of of asparagus on the plate, does your recipe costing include the cost of the root end which you cut off?  It should.  The easiest way to do this is to use a yield percentage for each item (see Produce Yields for an example).  Obviously, this is even more important with your proteins.  For see our list for common seafood yields or our chart specifically for salmon yields.

Recipe Costing Template

The recipe template below is a free download which is a fantastic tool for calculating your plate costs.  The download version includes both a blank recipe form as well as a sample one.  Thanks to Chef Bill Williams and Cam Zahradnik for their work on this template.

This is an image of the blank template.

Recipe Costing Template jpg


Here’s an example of the template in use.

Recipe Costing Template example jpg



The Recipe Plate Cost Template is Free

Click on the button to download for free.  No pop-ups or other BS.  If you have a favorite kitchen form, send it to me for consideration to add to this site for other chefs to use.

Download the Recipe Costing Worksheet for free
Note: Microsoft Excel required (not included)

Download free Recipe Costing Template


Want to show your Appreciation for the Download or for the Site?
Give a one time Donation!

Level Price  

Donate $3 for Downloads or to show Site Appreciation. One time charge.

$3.00 now. Customers in WA will be charged 8.5% tax. Select Me!

Donate $5 for Downloads or to show Site Appreciation. One time charge.

$5.00 now. Customers in WA will be charged 8.5% tax. Select Me!

Donate $10 for Downloads or to show Site Appreciation. One time charge.

$10.00 now. Customers in WA will be charged 8.5% tax. Select Me!

$3.50 Paid Membership

$3.50 per Month. Customers in WA will be charged 8.5% tax. Select Me!



If you need to unprotect the sheet and don’t know how to do it then view my video on how to unprotect an Excel sheet.
To see how to change the currency from U.S. dollars to any other standard view this video.
Comments from before Site Migration

Add a Comment!

SARAH DOT    [ Jul 29, 2015 ]

I noticed that the “weight” column in your template example is blank. Should this be entered in units of ounces or pounds?

Thank you for this resource.

CUNG []    [ Jun 22, 2015 ]

hi Chef….

first of all, i have to thank you for this great template that i’m looking for for long time,finally got it.

but i have some problem to used it.

i want to used it for calculate all my recipe ,one by one, so i can find the cost for each recipe.

i’m doing pastry shop in jakarta,indonesia, so other problem, i used the measurement all in metric (kg,gr, lt,ml,….)how i can change it and also for the curancy,

hope you can help me.

once again,many thank for your great costing template.

best regards,


TRIPPSHERM    [ May 07, 2015 ]

I enjoyed this article/blog about the plate cost. What I’m currious about is the cost of production. What is the proper formula to account for this.

For example : a rotisserie chicken

Its been brined(so cost of ingredients in the brine recipe, the labor to make the brine and the labor to put the chicken in the brine and remove it.)

Next the birds are rubbed (cost of rub recipe ingredients, labor to make the rub and labor to rub the chicken.

I’m working on a existing menu that had been priced out before my time with the company. I hoped there might be a formula that would guide me in explaining the menu price increases to the owners.

thank you for any assistance,


DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Apr 29, 2015 ]

EKelly and JudyPH – sorry, I forgot which page had this original question! 🙁  I have added a template which sill sync recipes with a master inventory page, and I have included a video on how to use the Excel sheet. It’s still rather basic…but its useful if you don’t have a professional program. Here’s the link:

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Jan 17, 2015 ]

EKelly – I will start on it this week…it will probably take a few weeks to complete. You can email me here and I’ll let you know when I have completed the form. chefs-resources @ msn dot com

EKELLY []    [ Jan 15, 2015 ]

Hi Chef,

Thank you  for this posting- I am currently using Excel to do my costing and I think this will be a big help to me. I was wondering, has there been any progress on the sheet that Judy had mentioned? The only issue that I am having is that I cannot get the formula or function to work in my favor with the auto updating when I update the pricing list… Just thought I would ask if the other sheet may be ready or if you can provide any help in how I can add this function on my own?



DAVID BUCHANAN    [ May 08, 2014 ]

JudyPH – I do have such a form…but it is a mess and not ready for upload. I keep meaning to clean it up, but it will take about a week of focused attention. Sorry for the incomplete answer!

JUDYPH    [ May 03, 2014 ]

Hello David!  Thank you so much for sharing your template on recipe costing.  I was wondering if you have one that has an inventory list and price so that every time my supplier changes his prices, all i have to do is update the inventory prices and the recipe costing automatically gets updated also?

Thank you so much again.


CAM []    [ Jan 13, 2014 ]


Converting uoms and costing  yields for a product on the same line in this simple format will not work. You will need to develop a separate yield recipe just for diced tomatos.

For an ingredient conversion and yield, for example, under ingrerdients I have 6×6 tomatoes, EP QTY is lets say 5, and EP volume is each.

AP$ is .30 each and let’s enter 90% yield. The spreadsheet calculates EP$ at .33 each for at total recipe cost of 1.67.

In the upper portion of the template where it says Number of Portions enter your yield #,I’ll enter 3.  Then find Unit of Measure Per Person and enter “cups”.  Recipe name call it ” Diced Tomatos Yield Recipe”

In the blue portion of the template you will see cost per portion is a .56 a cup/ 1.67 for entire recipe.

Now you can enter “diced  tomatoes yield recipe”  by the cup in a recipe with accurate costing.

More sophisticated spreadsheets can be built. I have made them with metric volume and weight conversions, with inventory items and pricing list so that all you need to do is update pricing for updated menu item costs, and even built in a menu item analysis spreadsheet… but what happens is you get a spreadsheet with so much data, and so many array calculations it becomes a huge file and resource hog on your computers processor. Unfortunately, unless you have a very stout PC, excel will only take you so far and works best keeping things simple. The next step, depending on your knowledge of databases and your resources is building that database in access or other DB programs. If your establishment is expansive enough a complete software package ( material management system) which includes, purchasing, receiving, invoicing, recipes, POS interface and other bells and whistles may be your answer.  Best Regards..hope this helps.

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Jan 11, 2014 ]

Ryan – the recipe shown is simply an example, and perhaps a poor one. You can use whatever unit of measure you wish and enter whatever yield percentage you believe is appropriate. The yield percentage does not auto populate based upon the item or unit of measure you choose.

RYAN []    [ Jan 10, 2014 ]


I like the simplicity of your spreadsheet.  I want to use it, but i do have a concern.  For the AP$/Unit, does the unit have to match the volume you use for the EP?  So for example, we purchase whole tomatoes, but the recipe is cups of diced tomatoes.  I would have to calculate how many cups of diced tomatoes a whole tomato yields?  I feel that this would take away from the yield calculation on the spreadsheet.


NER9 []    [ Jul 14, 2013 ]

Have a look at this windows 8 app, “Recipe+ Food Cost Profiler” much better than spread sheets.

CAMERON []    [ Nov 13, 2012 ]

Price – Cost = Margin

HOMMIE812001    [ Nov 09, 2012 ]

Hi how do I get the Marging per portion? thanks

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Dec 30, 2011 ]

Thanks for the note Jomicabo!  The file has been corrected.

JOMICABO    [ Dec 28, 2011 ]

Thank you for sharing this plate cost template.

Just a small corection, the Price per Portion is incorrectly computed, since it is dividing the Plate Cost per the serving portion size instead of number of portions.




  • Donisha Peters

    Hi Chef,
    Is there a new updated version of the costing templet for Microsoft 2016 available?

  • Salumeria

    Thank you so much to all who contributed to this site and the template.

  • Marian

    Hi! Thanks so much for your help… learning so much! Quick question… what is the difference between this spreadsheet with the Recipe Template Bulk w Inventory?

    • This is an individual template (which can be copied and re-used). The bulk one allows you to add multiple recipes all within one large recipe file. It depends upon how you want to organize your recipes. This one allows you to save individual recipes into separate folders organized however you wish (separate folders for sauces, entrees, etc)

      The bulk one would place all your recipes in one large Excel sheet and can be cumbersome if you have over 20 recipes in it.

  • Zac Hyland

    Can I open this template in google documents. I do not have Excel

    • You can try it. But I think that you may have to have Excel first in order to open it in google docs.

  • Christina M.W.

    Okay, so this is probably something very simple that I’m just not understanding just yet. I’m quite new to recipe costing and am having a bit of difficulty with the “Yeild %” field. How exactly do I find a percentage to fill this column? I am sensing that this is how much the of product actually is used in the recipe, my confusion (I believe) is does this percentage come from the cups being used or the item as a whole. (Ex. Butter: 1 cup of butter is used but I have a lb. Does the percentage come from the cup being used or the pound the cup is coming from?) Again this is probably extremely simple and I’m making it harder than it needs to be. Thank you.

    • On the recipe form right above the Yield % there are 4 links to various types of yields (Produce, Fish, etc). Click on one of those. Alternately, if you are using something like eggs or mayo then the yield would be 100%. If you dice your own onions then the yield % accounts for the waste of the peel & root. But if you purchased diced onions then the yield is 100%.