There’s plenty of food-cost formulas, but there’s no one-trick-pony magic formula.
I remember my ole man, who counted the NCR register like a blind man feelin somebody’s face, useta say...“If it cost a dollar, you sell it for $3….one third food, one-third labor, one-third everything else.” Funny thing is that FDR food cost theory still works for a sit-down joint like mine. Problem is I ain’t smart enough to get there from here. I wet-dream about keepin my food cost at 33%.
Maybe back in my Pancake House era, when kids thumbed safely to school and drivers used turn signals. Back when country ham was the high-dollar item and it took a bicepy man to fold a beer can, I hovered right around the 33% number. But food prices back then, specially the early to mid-70s, were bout as stable as the needle on a congressman’s lie detector. Remember those even-odd gas lines snaking around the entire block? People pushin their cars to the pumps, signs on pumps screaming...OUT OF GAS! Little ole bun-haired ladies bitch-slappin grown men who butted in line.
Yea, prices were jumpin around so fast, I wrote on the menu…
“Please Order quickly, We Can Only Guarantee These Prices For 30 Minutes.”