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Dropping Brisket from my menu? ...maybe not
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Shotgun Petes
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Joined: 03 Jan 2010
Posts: 492
Location: Columbia, MO

PostPosted: Aug 05 2014    Post subject: Dropping Brisket from my menu? ...maybe not Reply with quote

I have decided to stop selling brisket, and BBQ Nachos and BBQ Burritos.
These items are costing me $1000 per week to keep in stock. I watched the nachos for a while....too much waste ( customers don't eat it all)
and my help can not seem to get portions right and they are too time consuming and slow down ticket turn times.
same with the BBQ Burrito.

The Brisket has simply gotten to expensive and also tends to dry out too fast in the holding oven.
I'm going with a more traditional and streamlined BBQ Menu:

Spare Ribs
Pulled Pork (sandwich and/or just meat)_
Chicken (Sandwich and/or just meat)
Rib Tips ( trimmed from the ribs for sandwich or just meat)

BBQ Sundae (from items already in stock)

Pitmaster Sampler (1/4 lb pulled pork, 1/4 lb chicken, 1/2 slab of ribs and 3 sides.

Pit Smoked Baked Beans
Hellfire Baked Beans (spicy)
Potato Salad
Cole Slaw

I am doing this to cut down on waste and food cost. I'm sure there will be some disappointment but these are drastic times and I'm tired of food supplies taking up so much of my revenue. I mean is it really nessicary to have every possible meat on your menu? I don't think so.

I will let you know how it goes. I may lose a few customers but in the long run save on cost and waste and hopefully put more in my pocket as a result.
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Reverse flow smoker made by my dad "Shotgun Pete" Peters over 30 years ago!

"If you can't BBQ with the Big Dogs, back away from the Pit!"

SHOTGUN PETE'S BBQ SHACK
28 N Ninth St
COLUMBIA, MO

(Downtown across from The Blue Note)


Last edited by Shotgun Petes on Aug 09 2014; edited 1 time in total
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Aug 06 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow,
What are you using to hot-hold? And what grade of brisket are you using?
If I dropped brisket, I might as well close my doors. Brisket is overtaking pork on sales up by me.

nachos and burritos;
they sound like a pain to prep, and all the extra product I'd be forced to have in inventory is probably not worth it either.
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qfanatic01
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Location: Champlin, MN

PostPosted: Aug 06 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brisket is big here too and only getting bigger. We raised the price 2 bucks a pound in May and should have raised it 4, but over all it's part of a good menu mix. I think, if it sells well you should adjust the price and keep it. If you are wasting it or not selling enough to warrant the labor, get rid of it. I've tried the tacos and such with no success as well. Another option is to have items as a feature one or 2 days a week and work on getting those who want it through on that day. That way maybe you won't disappoint and you can drive enough volume through that day to have a quality product and control the labor aspect. Win win??
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Louie
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PostPosted: Aug 06 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

We don't sell a lot of brisket either and it is a pain to hold, we did remove it from our reg menu and offer it as a special as qfan suggests, seems to work well with little to no waste and it is gaining in popularity.

Buritos are a huge seller for us, the main ingredients pulled pork and beans we always have on hand.
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Paul L.
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PostPosted: Aug 07 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

We sell too much brisket to ever think about taking it off the menu. Have you tried limiting how much brisket you are cooking? I am a firm believer that selling out of an item is not necessarily a bad thing. It might even train those customers that want your brisket, to get there early!

As for nachos, tacos, etc. If you already have the meat and beans, a cheese sauce and some jalapenos can make a good addition to the menu. Brisket Taco Tuesday has a nice ring to it.
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nskitts
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PostPosted: Aug 07 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to hear this for you.

Nachos are a big seller for me.

We went from, "What is brisket?" to "I gotta have my brisket fix!"

I would be shot if I took brisket off the menu...
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Shotgun Petes
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PostPosted: Aug 07 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

I easily go through all the brisket I cook in a week ( 15 to 18 whole briskets in a 5 day week) with no problem. We usually sell out of it by mid-evening and sometimes mid day. I was mostly looking at the cost of it. I have increased my price for brisket pretty much as high as I can go. $12 per half pound, $24 per pound and yes it sells at that price.
I was just looking at trying to find a way to cut food cost and at the se time increase the bottom line.
My thought was that for the price of 3 briskets I could buy 8 pork butts!
The problem is I have a good amount of customers who like the brisket and it will probably make them upset if I drop it from the menu. I'm having second thoughts about doing it now.
My food cost is just too high. I'm still trying to get it under control somehow. Not sure now what I can do about that. I do think the main issue is portion control, or lack of it.
I'm gonna have to have a sit down with my crew and work this out.
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Reverse flow smoker made by my dad "Shotgun Pete" Peters over 30 years ago!

"If you can't BBQ with the Big Dogs, back away from the Pit!"

SHOTGUN PETE'S BBQ SHACK
28 N Ninth St
COLUMBIA, MO

(Downtown across from The Blue Note)
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YardFullOfOak
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Joined: 10 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Aug 07 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shotgun Petes wrote:

My food cost is just too high.


Food cost as percent of revenues is just one metric you need to watch, and it is only for guidance. There are many more.

In the end, the only thing that matters is dollars in your pocket, and it does not really matter if you make 2 dollars off a serving of brisket or off a serving of pork butt.

Think of it like this:

Your food cost for a serving of brisket with sides is $8. You sell it for $16. Food cost is 50%. You make $8.

Your food cost for a pulled pork sandwich is $3. You sell it for $9. Food cost is 33%. You make $6.

Would you rather make $8 or $6, assuming other costs are similar between the two items?
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RodinBangkok
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Joined: 30 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Aug 08 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shotgun Petes wrote:

My food cost is just too high. I'm still trying to get it under control somehow. Not sure now what I can do about that. I do think the main issue is portion control, or lack of it.
I'm gonna have to have a sit down with my crew and work this out.

What I would recommend is you get very detailed about your key ingredient usages. Start weighing at every key step in your process, and keep detailed records by day on this. A chart might looks something like this:

Brisket In weight
Brisket Prepped cook weight and yield from previous step (Prepped/In)
Brisket after cook weight and yield
Brisket post cook trim weight and yield
Portion yield of batch

Also start weighing your portions for these critical items. This helps people relate visually to the correct portion size. If you do this on a regular basis your portions will stay the same, if you don't they will probably slowly start to increase in size, human nature thing. It may slow down your prep a bit, but by weighing it takes all the guess work out.

Check your trash for excessive waste, perhaps have all trimmings from different processes put in separate holding containers for review before they are dumped together, you can also track this by weight on a regular basis, in the form of trim percent. People can get lazy and do excessive trimming.

Be on the look out for theft.

Once you do some detailed measurements on your process you can then go back to less numbers and start tracking raw weight in against product portions out, and be confident of this number, if that number changes a lot then go back to detailed checking again until you get confidence you've got the proper measurements in place.

Seems like a lot for a small resto operation, but with todays prices, process measurements are your best bet in know where the $ are going.
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Lone Star BBQ & Grill



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PostPosted: Aug 08 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are getting $24 a pound for brisket, food cost is NOT a problem.
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Shotgun Petes
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PostPosted: Aug 09 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lonestar, you are probably right. I think its mostly portion control that is the culprit. Its not food cost but portion control or lack of it is causing my costs to go up. That is something I should be able to get under control. I am running today and tomorrow without Brisket but will bring it back next week. I decided to keep the BBQ Nachos too after giving it more thought but still dropping the BBQ burrito.
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Reverse flow smoker made by my dad "Shotgun Pete" Peters over 30 years ago!

"If you can't BBQ with the Big Dogs, back away from the Pit!"

SHOTGUN PETE'S BBQ SHACK
28 N Ninth St
COLUMBIA, MO

(Downtown across from The Blue Note)
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Harry Nutczak
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Joined: 01 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Aug 09 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Profit is not decided on what you are paying for meat, its what you are paying for lettuce"

Meaning;
you got to watch the pennies and nickels, and the dollars will take care of themselves.

I had a huge loss today, I was unable to get to the pit in time to get my pork out when I wanted to, instead of a 50% or more yield, I got about a 30% yield due to weight loss and crustiness on the outer parts.

SO, lets translate that to brisket, you may be overcooking and drying it out. and losing a large percentage of your yield.

Holy Carp $24/LB ? ? ? ?
And how much of this are you selling weekly?

Edited to add;
Just curious, what percentage is your labor cost usually at?
That may be what is eating up your profits,
I was concerned when I saw my labor cost above 10% today, I'm usually at 6%-7%,
You're going to want your combined food/labor cost under 55%, under 50% is better.
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jar
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PostPosted: Aug 09 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

$24 a/lbs ???? And you are dropping it ? I would smoke turds for $ $24/lbs . Open your eyes . That is one hell of a profit item .
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Shotgun Petes
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PostPosted: Aug 09 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I mentioned in the last comment I decided not to drop Brisket from my menu. It was just a knee jerk idea I had to cut back on spending.
Interestingly enough, I didn't have any brisket to sell today and we had one of the biggest days we've had all year but that is most likely a coincidence.
In another post I had mentioned that I had raised my prices which included selling all my smoked meats at $24 per pound. There's no looking back. We had had very little negative response and are still seeing repeat business at that price.
I have been struggling a lot this past year. There are so many things to deal with and the money never stops going out. Seems like the restaurant owner is always the last one to get paid! Business is strong but as most of you know it ain't easy.
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Reverse flow smoker made by my dad "Shotgun Pete" Peters over 30 years ago!

"If you can't BBQ with the Big Dogs, back away from the Pit!"

SHOTGUN PETE'S BBQ SHACK
28 N Ninth St
COLUMBIA, MO

(Downtown across from The Blue Note)
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nskitts
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Joined: 14 Jun 2011
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Location: Jackson, OH

PostPosted: Aug 15 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

YardFullOfOak wrote:
Shotgun Petes wrote:

My food cost is just too high.


Food cost as percent of revenues is just one metric you need to watch, and it is only for guidance. There are many more.

In the end, the only thing that matters is dollars in your pocket, and it does not really matter if you make 2 dollars off a serving of brisket or off a serving of pork butt.

Think of it like this:

Your food cost for a serving of brisket with sides is $8. You sell it for $16. Food cost is 50%. You make $8.

Your food cost for a pulled pork sandwich is $3. You sell it for $9. Food cost is 33%. You make $6.

Would you rather make $8 or $6, assuming other costs are similar between the two items?


I had this same conversation with Mike Mills the other day. Yes, friends, Mike Mills.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Aug 15 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

nskitts wrote:
YardFullOfOak wrote:
Shotgun Petes wrote:

My food cost is just too high.


Food cost as percent of revenues is just one metric you need to watch, and it is only for guidance. There are many more.

In the end, the only thing that matters is dollars in your pocket, and it does not really matter if you make 2 dollars off a serving of brisket or off a serving of pork butt.

Think of it like this:

Your food cost for a serving of brisket with sides is $8. You sell it for $16. Food cost is 50%. You make $8.

Your food cost for a pulled pork sandwich is $3. You sell it for $9. Food cost is 33%. You make $6.

Would you rather make $8 or $6, assuming other costs are similar between the two items?


I had this same conversation with Mike Mills the other day. Yes, friends, Mike Mills.


I have some items on our menu that barely breaks even, but what I do is make up for it in other areas. As long as I am seeing my monthly food/labor costs coming out where I need them to, all is good.

My saturday prime-rib special is one of those "not making a dime on it" items, but what it does, is it brings in dad with the whole family, mom may order a sandwich, the kids may split a pizza. it's what I like to call our "Hook" (think in fishing terms) it hooks a family to come in, and all is profitable. Now one other thing, I cook very limited amounts of rib roast, and it is ready by 2:00 PM, it fills my slow time, and when it is sold out, it is done. The rare occasion I do have any left, the french dips sail out of here very rapidly the next day. Or I may take an end cut home, but those are selling quickly now too, so I get a bowl of cereal for dinner.
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nskitts
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PostPosted: Aug 19 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:

I was concerned when I saw my labor cost above 10% today, I'm usually at 6%-7%,
You're going to want your combined food/labor cost under 55%, under 50% is better.


I wish I could get close to what your labor cost is. I am happy if I can get to 15%. I have never heard of labor costs under 10%.

As a rounded off example, if you do $10,000 in revenue, only $700 of it is labor, that is phenomonal. Hopefully, you can share with me how to get there. Also, my food cost are crazy right now, going well above 33% where I would like to be. I am not sinking by any means but I certainly can't go on indefinitely unless I can get these two variables under control.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Aug 19 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

nskitts wrote:
Harry Nutczak wrote:

I was concerned when I saw my labor cost above 10% today, I'm usually at 6%-7%,
You're going to want your combined food/labor cost under 55%, under 50% is better.


I wish I could get close to what your labor cost is. I am happy if I can get to 15%. I have never heard of labor costs under 10%.

As a rounded off example, if you do $10,000 in revenue, only $700 of it is labor, that is phenomonal. Hopefully, you can share with me how to get there. Also, my food cost are crazy right now, going well above 33% where I would like to be. I am not sinking by any means but I certainly can't go on indefinitely unless I can get these two variables under control.


My first thing I did to lower my labor costs was to dump all servers/bussers and I went to counter-service only, with 2 cashiers at the counter during our busy periods.

My dishwasher doubles as a busser, they do light prep, and only prep that is fairly idiot proof. If I see them being responsible, I try to get them into working on the line and a pay increase.

I do not have a disher during opening or for the first hour or two of lunch, me and my main cook take care of that task until the dish guy gets in.

Why did I do this? I got sick and tired of seeing 3 people standing around by the counter while I have dirty tables in the dining room, customers drinks not getting refilled, tables not being cleared, with nothing getting done while I am busting my arse.
My last server got fired last fall while I was bussing a table, a napkin fell of the tray, and she pointed it out to me that I had dropped something while she was sitting on her butt doing nothing.
I went to my POS system, clocked her out, handed her the time slip that printed, instructed her that she is no longer employed here, that her check would be mailed to her.
I haven't regretted that decision since.

My cashiers get $4.25/Hour +tips.
If for some odd reason they do not exceed $8.00/hour, I make up that difference.
They are averaging high $12/Hour right now. and the only time I end up bussing tables now is if we are absolutely swamped with a line out the door. This also gives me a chance to greet our customers, and verify everything is at the high quality level that I strive to reach.
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nskitts
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PostPosted: Aug 20 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
nskitts wrote:
Harry Nutczak wrote:

I was concerned when I saw my labor cost above 10% today, I'm usually at 6%-7%,
You're going to want your combined food/labor cost under 55%, under 50% is better.


I wish I could get close to what your labor cost is. I am happy if I can get to 15%. I have never heard of labor costs under 10%.

As a rounded off example, if you do $10,000 in revenue, only $700 of it is labor, that is phenomonal. Hopefully, you can share with me how to get there. Also, my food cost are crazy right now, going well above 33% where I would like to be. I am not sinking by any means but I certainly can't go on indefinitely unless I can get these two variables under control.


My first thing I did to lower my labor costs was to dump all servers/bussers and I went to counter-service only, with 2 cashiers at the counter during our busy periods.

My dishwasher doubles as a busser, they do light prep, and only prep that is fairly idiot proof. If I see them being responsible, I try to get them into working on the line and a pay increase.

I do not have a disher during opening or for the first hour or two of lunch, me and my main cook take care of that task until the dish guy gets in.

Why did I do this? I got sick and tired of seeing 3 people standing around by the counter while I have dirty tables in the dining room, customers drinks not getting refilled, tables not being cleared, with nothing getting done while I am busting my arse.
My last server got fired last fall while I was bussing a table, a napkin fell of the tray, and she pointed it out to me that I had dropped something while she was sitting on her butt doing nothing.
I went to my POS system, clocked her out, handed her the time slip that printed, instructed her that she is no longer employed here, that her check would be mailed to her.
I haven't regretted that decision since.

My cashiers get $4.25/Hour +tips.
If for some odd reason they do not exceed $8.00/hour, I make up that difference.
They are averaging high $12/Hour right now. and the only time I end up bussing tables now is if we are absolutely swamped with a line out the door. This also gives me a chance to greet our customers, and verify everything is at the high quality level that I strive to reach.


What do you try to end up paying your kitchen help?

I have a fast casual concept that has evolved into something of a hybrid service. People will pay at the cashier and then they get their drink and sit down. A person from the back then will take their food to them at their table. Everyone at my place gets paid a straight wage and they split the tips at the end of the weekend. It usually adds about a dollar/hour to everyones's pay. Sometimes I have two people out front, one is the cashier and one is a runner and table cleaner. We use all disposables. I have three people in the back and I am thinking that may be one too many. Maybe I should have 2 in the front and 2 in the back.
Some things like cornbread muffins (which we give away) is pretty time consuming to make, so maybe it's time to cinch things up a bit.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Aug 20 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

I pay generously to the people who perform generously.

Look at the cost of your disposables, add up your annual cost, and I bet you find major savings right there.

Chemical usage was out of control here, it didn't matter if I had explicit instructions on their use, I think they were being drank by someone their usage was so insane.
so I bought a few 2 gallon weed sprayers, I mix our cleaning solutions in them, and they get applied with the sprayer. That alone saved us about $200.00/month

Watch the pennies and nickels, and the dollars will take care of themselves.
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