Ed Currenti - Business Manager 23 November 2021
The following study was developed by a team of Australian Chefs in collaboration with Prestige Foods Ausralia to determine the actual cost of producing Veal Stock in a commercial kitchen. The purpose of producing a test stock was to gather information to be able to make a cost comparison between the “in house” production of veal stock, and purchasing a consistent, quality stock, such as StocksMatter's Premium Veal Stock.
The test stock was produced using 25kg of veal leg bones, as this is the standard unit of purchase. In addition, 2kg of veal trim and 6kg of vegetables were used. A total of 40ltr of water was added.
The total yield at Brix 15 was 7.8 Litres
All input ingredients have been valued at the same costs as those of the reference stock. This may skew the results slightly as most kitchens could not purchase ingredients at the same value as Stocks Matter, simply based on volume. The difference in costs would be negligible on the typical batch size produced in a kitchen.
However the difference becomes significant if the batch size made by a kitchen was multiplied by the total volume produced each month.
Labor and energy costs are based on actual Australian costs as measured at the time of publication.
Total ingredients cost = $69.31
Roasting in a standard commercial combi oven consumes at least 38kw per hour.
(38kw X $0.28/kwh) x 2hr = $21.28
Simmering and reducing on a single 20 joule gas burner for 20hrs
(20 x $1.22/Mj) x 20hr = $1.22
Labor has been costed only at the vegetable prep, skimming and straining/filtering stages.
The important information here is that the length of time required to produce a stock of Brix 15 is a realistic 40 hrs.
Total labour cost is equivalent to 1.5 hrs x $28.00/hr = $42.00
Total costs must also include energy costs, equipment cleaning and depreciation.
- purchasing & management of ingredients & bones
- removal of any waste product
- any storage and holding cost in a freezer or chiller
- overhead costs for raw materials or finished product
- all OHS issues with staff
The ability to produce a consistent product in a changing kitchen environment is one of the toughest challenges kitchen managers currently face. Many kitchens are under-skilled and as labor costs increase as a proportion of total costs the holy grail of consistency is increasingly harder to achieve.
Stocks produced in professional kitchens are on the whole done so by “feel” and are entirely dependent on the skills of the chef involved. Typically, the ratio of input ingredients varies with each batch. Roasting times and the initial simmering times can all change according to the time available to the chef. This will influence the amount of reduction time and the consistency of the final product.
Issues that influence the greater environment of a kitchen, such as HACCP compliance and OH&S practices, are not quantifiable in the context of this cost comparison. They are treated very differently in every kitchen and so while it is not in the scope of this test to value these procedures very convincing arguments exist to minimize and manage these risks.
So here is a very useful tool that will help to understand some of the true and sometimes hidden costs in producing menus. For managers facing pressure on food costs, labor shortages, and skill levels here is a demonstrable way to help address these problems.