Have your cake and eat it too!


“Beef and corn prices will dramatically increase!” This is something we’ve been told recentlycake. Drama does get our attention.  But often, when it comes to increases in the line item food cost, we tend to look the other way. Why do we give so little thought to the process of controlling food cost? On one hand we don’t want to compromise quality.  Nobody wants to eat like a poor college student: “May I have some more Ramen Noodles please?” On the other hand, we are vulnerable to waste and mismanagement.

When I make calls to company executives and administrators and tell them I am a CEO of an assisted living company, they are generally interested in visiting with me. However, if I present an on-line menu system I am trying to sell, I am met with apathy or even resistance. I understand.  But there are tools, ideas, programs, and systems that allow us to achieve greater results with minimal hassle. What can we achieve with a little more attention?  I thought you would never ask.

Say you’re a small memory care company with about 120 residents and an annual food budget of $220,000: approximately $1,800 per resident per year, $150 per month or $5 per day. Now, let’s say your daily food cost per resident is $5.25. The difference seems minimal, but annually, it adds up to $11,000.  Just think about the numbers if you are an even larger company.

What if using the right tools and systems (yes, they do exist) saved you 50 cents a day?  Would you use them? We have discovered that those who manage food cost closely do not compromise quality, in fact it’s very much the opposite. In this sense, you can literally have your cake and eat it too! (Or your spinach, or beans or something just as healthy!)