In culinary terms, yield is how much that remains after a product has been trim or processed.

Why should every food business kitchens pay attention to this?

By knowing the yield of every ingredient, product or recipes you use, you will be able to do more accurate food costing. It is not enough that you monitor your budget vs the purchase cost, but you should also consider the waste that results after preparation or cooking.

Savvy business owners, regardless of the industry, know that for every waste, there is a monetary value attached to it. If you run a business in the food industry, you know that you have already paid for this waste and the reasonable action to make up for it is to include that value in the price of the menu.

Knowing the product yield percentage, in particular, is crucial. It determines the following:

  1. How much usable product remains after the item has been processed
  2. How much raw product do you need to order for a recipe
  3. The actual cost of the item per dollar spent

Ideally, you should measure and compute the yield per item before costing a menu. It can help to know that there are several books that can be used as a reference like this one.

How do you compute for yield? 

  1. Get the item’s original volume/weight. This is the As Purchased (AP)weight.
  1. After the product has been cleaned, trimmed and portioned for use by the kitchen staff, weight the trim wastes and record it as “waste or trim weight”.
  1. Get the difference between the AP and the trim weight, and you will have what is called the Edible Portion or sometimes called Edible Product (EP)
  1. Compute for the Yield Percentage using this formula:

     EP weight ÷ AP weight × 100 = yield %.

How do you now apply this value when you calculate your food cost? 

Once you have determined the Edible Product Cost (EP Cost),  you can set your menu price knowing that what you set will not incur a loss for your business. This is because the difference can be high between the original cost of the product (how much you paid for it) and the processed product. 

This is why you need to do the following steps first:

  1. List down the AP Cost or the amount you paid for the item.
  1. Compute for the factor by using this formula:

     100 ÷ yield % = Factor

  1. Once you have determined the Factor, you can now compute for your EP Cost by using this formula:

    Factor × As Purchased cost per (unit) = Edible Product Cost per (unit)

Here are just a few practical tips in this area:

  1. Trimmings or so-called “wastes” can be used as a by-product. Bones from meat and fish can be used into stocks. Trimmings from vegetables can be added to those stocks or if there is enough, made into soup.
  1. Create recipes with detailed instructions to assist your chef in streamlining kitchen operations and control food costs. Recipes should account for the trim loss of each product used.
  1. Train your staff with trimming and portion control. They should know how much they should be getting from the products that they work with. Use a Yield Chart to help you track the performance of your crew. Comparing yields between people doing the cutting will tell you who is being the most efficient. There are many Yield Charts or Yield Calculators that can be downloaded online. Ideally, your own Chef knows how to create one so have him create a system that can be easily understood and followed by everyone in the team.

If you have not read my previous blog posts on the other factors that can also affect your food cost, here are some links that you can refer to for later reading:

Cutting Meats, Fruits and Veggies to Trim Your Food Cost

5 Key Tips to Portion Control and Protect Your Profit

In Summary:

When you operate a food business with a kitchen team that values every yield or by-product of an item used for your dishes, you benefit from being able to maximize your resources – both manpower and products.

When proper food cost is done per recipe, you avoid having too much or too little of a given ingredient because you know how much of an ingredient should be purchased in the first place.

At the same time, by adhering to proper training, your staff can help you lower food costs by minimizing wastage, resulting to a healthier bottom line for your business. 

That’s it for this week.

As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!

Ciao for now,


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