Ahh Monday morning, you grab a cup of coffee, look at the weekends sales figures, browse your suppliers special fresh sheet. Your eyes focus on a few interesting deals: Top Round roast $2.75 a pound, Pork loin Center muscle 1.99 a pound, and hey they have a product called Top Sirloin Steak Ready Butts. You have heard of this product before but never used it much and thought for the price $3.69 a pound, why not. You figure that you would maybe do a simple Steak Champions special this weekend, and at this price, really make some dough.
You start costing your dish out, $.20 cents for starch, $.15 for vegetables, and $.20 for mushrooms. For the steak $3.69 divided by 16, times 8oz., and STOP!!!! How many times have you fallen into this trap? Unless we buy the steaks pre cut and portioned, they really don't cost $3.69 a pound. You have to account for trim and waste when processing the butts into steaks. Your ratio of usable to unusable product makes up what's called your Yield Factor. And this factor is multiplied by your invoice price to see what you are really paying for your portion cut steaks.
It Starts With A Simple Test
To figure out your yield factor you must do what is called a yield test. Now there are two types of yield tests - a raw yield test and a cooked yield test. And for some products you might perform both tests on the same cut of meat.
The raw yield test is very simple and it starts with weighing the cut. In this case we will take the steak ready top sirloin butts. Take it out of the bag and remove any blood that might be in the bag. Weigh the whole cut of meat, this is the raw weight. Start to trim all the silver skin, sinew, and fat that you don't want in your finished product. Place it in a separate container for later. Once the butts are cleaned then start cutting your steaks and save those in a separate container. All the trim from portioning that you may use for something else later will also go in a separate container. An example of this is the steak trim could be used for a Teriyaki beef stir- fry.
Now you must weigh each container to what portion of the butt is unusable and which is usable. I will give you an example of my sirloin:
Raw weight of Sirloin (before processing) 9.35 Lb.
Unusable Trim (Fat, silver-skin, sinew) 1.859 Lb.
Portion Steaks ( 8oz top sirloin steaks) 5.027 Lb.
Usable Trim ( beef trim for teriyaki beef portions) 2.464 Lb.
Now for simplicity sake we will find the yield factor by performing some simple math. Add the Portion steaks and the usable trim together to come out to 7.491 pounds. Now divide the raw weight into the combined usable product to get 1.2486. This is your yield factor. If your math resulted in .80117, you now have figured out how much of the original butt you are left with after you trimmed it- 80% . To fix this just type the raw weight into the calculator, press divide, and type the usable number in.
The cooked yield test works the same but less steps are involved. Usually when you want to use a cooked yield test, it is to determine how much is left after you have cooked it. The most common uses for this test is roasts, ground beef, bacon, and even products like pasta, rice, and strangely enough french fries. The math is very simple- take your cooked weight and divide it by your raw weight.
What Does This Strange Number Mean
Once you have your yield factor, you can complete the final piece of this puzzle. How much does this piece of meat really cost? Now if you remember, I purchased the top sirloin butts for $3.69 a pound from my supplier. But as you can see by what went into the garbage, it really didn't cost $3.69 a pound. How do I recover the cost of the unusable product? The solution is to multiply your yield factor by the cost of your sirloin butt.
$3.69 / Lb. x 1.2486 = $4.607 / Lb.
So as you can see the difference is only about less than a dollar per pound when figuring in the waste. This tells me that this cut of sirloin is very cost efficient as well. Now when you cost your dish you know that an 8 oz. steak will only cost
$4.607/ 16 = $.2879 per ounce
Multiply by 8 oz. = $2.303 a steak instead of $1.85
Now You Are Armed And Dangerous
I hope that after reading this article you understand the concept of how important it is to conduct yield tests on your products. This is especially important with establishments which have very tight profit margins, where the weekend specials could make or break a week's revenue stream. Even if things are not tight, it is an excellent exercise to keep an upper hand on the costs of products you sell. Just remember the Yield Cost tells you how much your "usable product" costs. And another important aspect to remember is that the usable trim has the same value as the "center of the plate" cuts do.
Good luck and We will see 'ya on the flip side.