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ALEX KAGIANARIS - To price your menus properly, you MUST understand the concept of trim and yield.   Too many operators do not understand this concept and end up with menu item costs that are too low and menu prices that are not profitable.  Trim is the amount of a food item that gets lost due to butchering, trimming, or cleaning during the preparation process and shrinkage is the amount that is lost due to cooking.  the yield is the actual amount left after trim and shrinkage, and is expressed as a percentage.  For example, a 5lb (80oz) NY strip steak will not yield 10 eight-ounce servings after trim and cleaning.  After trim and cleaning, the usable or actual weight may only be 64 ounces because you are probably going to lose 16 ounces due to trimming of excess fat.  Your yield in this case you be 64 ounces/80 ounces, or 80%.  If the original cost per pound of the NY strip was $6, the real cost or yield after trim would be $7.50 or $6/.80.  In this case, instead of using $6 per pound to calculate the serving cost per unit, you would use $7.50 and the serving cost per unit wold be $7.50/16oz or $.47 per ounce.  

Trim does not apply only to meats it also applies to fish, poultry, and vegetables.  The yield percentage of certain fish is very low, for example red snapper at 45%, black sea bass at 40%, and flounder at 38%.  This means that when these fish are purchased whole, after trimming head, bones, fat, and so on, less than 50% is usable!

A great resource for learning about trim, shrink, and yields is the BOOK OF YIELDS by Chef Desk, which not only gives yield percentages on almost any food item, but also has a calculator for costing and pricing menus.

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