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Plate Cost - How To Calculate Recipe Cost

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 Potion 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.

Excel Notes

If you enter a fraction into a cell and it changes to a date read on to see how to fix it.

This is a common occurance in Excel.  You enter a fraction such as "1/4" and it changes to Jan-4.  There are two ways to fix it:

1) Go to the Excel tool bar and change that cell's "number settings" from "date" to "number" or "fraction".  In Excel 2007, click on the "Home" tab.  In the center of the tool bar is the "Number" settings.  Click on the drop down box to change the settings for the cell or cells selected.

2) Select the cell you want to change.  For the first character in the cell type the single quote character ' and then type your fraction  (  it would look like this '1/4  ).

The sheet is protected.  To unprotect, go to "Format", scroll down to "Unprotect Sheet" and select it.  Leave the password blank and hit "Enter".

Related Kitchen Management Info

Comments [ Add a Comment ]


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 ]

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 6x6 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.