Accounting Gets Closer To The Kitchen

July 12, 2009

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This month, I noticed an urgency in 3 restaurant chains which would be out of the question in the past. Top level financial officers have made the dive into inventory control including batch recipe models for work in progress inventory. Calling late at night, I found the CFO of a 35 unit chain in the office working feverishly to get the new database deployed. She was working on recipe costing and linking her recipes to the POS system.

Years ago, restaurant companies needed to be shoved into software systems to get better a handle on their cost of sales. Now, these solutions are ubiquitous. POS vendors throw them in for free to sweeten an offer. Solutions exist in every price range.

I spoke with the Executive Chef of a 6 unit group here in the DC Metro area. He was working on a solution with his brother who works in the accounting department. Each of their concepts has a unique menu and they have finished the first test. Results have exceeded their expectations. The actual food cost has now come down to less than 1% above ideal.

Recessions often force corporate staff to wear different hats.

As these financial people work closely with the chefs, purchasing agents and other key operations people, the reports have to improve. Communications are more focused and everyone has a feel for their counterpart’s unique issues.

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