FAQ > Frequently asked questions > Plate Cost / Food Cost

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The money go round.


Of late the most common questions being asked relate to food cost, plate cost & wage percentages. How much should they be & how do I work it out?


The truth of the mater is these 3 things are a small part of the plan needed to be financial viable.


So to address the questions regarding food costings & prices, what should the percentages be? 

You can not answer this question with out knowing about all the other factors.


These include but are not limited to:

  •  Product / stock cost (food, wastage,  grog etc)
  •  Variable costs (wages etc)
  •  Fixed costs (wages etc)
  •  Miscellaneous (Pos rolls, paper products, laundry / linen etc.)


 Because of this your accounts department should be able to set a target for your food & wage percentages / costs.


Food cost = Amount x unit cost

                   0.250kg   x  $4 = $1 Food cost

To calculate the cost of an entire menu item you would perform this calculation on all ingredients it contains and then add the total.


Total used

Unit price

Plate cost of ingredient



$10 per kg




$10 per kg




$1 per kg












If this is all that’s going on the plate this is the plate cost.


What is plate cost?

Simply put it is the cost of the food on the plate going out to the customer.

Do not forget to include every thing going on the plate, example the sauce & any garnishes.



Food cost percentage = food cost ÷ sales price x 100

                                     Food cost $4 ÷ Sales price $9 x 100 = 44.4% food cost percentage

If you have been told to aim for a 30 % food cost then the price has to go up or the cost to produce it must come down.


         Food cost $4 ÷ Sales price $13.30 x 100 = 30% food cost percentage

         Food cost $4 ÷ Sales price $18 x 100 = 22.2% food cost percentage

                                    (Great if your customers will pay it)


The fast way to calculate sales price


                                    Food cost       ÷     %   = price

                                    Food cost  $4 ÷ 30%   = $13.30



Last updated on January 7, 2016 by David Osborne