Operations – Managing Toppings for Maximum Gross Profit

Okay, it’s no secret that the foodservice industry has taken a hit.  Not only that, key ingredient prices are all over the board.  What can you as an operator do?  Whining and complaining to your sales rep will have no effect on the global events that are driving prices higher and higher.  What you can do, is work with your distributor to manage higher profits from your toppings.

Typically toppings account for 20% of your food cost.  But let’s break that down to each item instead of the category of cost.  Here are some examples.  We used average topping portions of 4 oz on a 14” and high average costs.

In our travels around the country, we often see pizza menus that include a list of toppings with a standard price. 

Topping Costs per Serving

Pepperoni           $2.50/lb                .55

Mushrooms       $38/cs                   .35

Olives                    $42/cs                   .20

Garlic                     $15/cs                   .12v

Chicken                $31.50/cs             1.70

As you can see from the above chart, there is a big range in the cost of toppings.  Don’t be afraid to charge higher prices for higher value.  One way to accomplish this is offer pre-set combinations.  Carefully analyze your food costs and offer item combinations that together will give you a 20% OR LESS food cost.

For example, pork toppings and onions together will offer customers value and flavor.  The onions will balance out the protein costs to make this a profitable offering for you.

In general, look to put onions and garlic on as many combinations as possible.  They are low cost items that taste great and add value.  Offering these combos with good marketing names and eye-catching menu enhancements will attract customers.  This will help take the sting out of high cheese pricing.

Selling It –

The problem with most pizzeria operators is that they are too focused on price.  They live a life where the price of everything is examined.  They mistakenly assume that their customers are focused on price too.  They are not.

Most of your customers are either trying to save themselves time (convenience buyers) or are enjoying a dining experience (pleasure buyers).  Price is NOT important to either of these two groups.  Charging customers more money for quality toppings is a good value for THEM.

Merchandise your menu to attract the quality buyers and watch those extra dollars roll into your cash register.

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