Charts and Graphs
Charts and graphs are the key to success in the restaurant business. I use spreadsheets to keep track of inventory, sales, and traffic patterns. Then I make the data more visual by displaying the information in bar graphs, line graphs, and pie charts. I analyze the data, interpret changes, identify patterns, and make predictions that influence many day to day decisions. Information in the charts and graphs help me make informed choices that will, hopefully, increase profits.
Proportions are important for scaling up recipes. I may need 200 muffins for Sunday brunch but my recipe only yields 25 muffins. What would I do? I would first find the scale factor (200÷25 = 8). This is the number I have to multiply by 25 to get 200. Then I would multiply all the quantities in the recipe by that scale factor. This can get tricky when the quantities are fractional amounts. If I make an error, the muffins may not taste very good and might not cook properly. No customers will want to buy them and I would lose money.
Unit Cost and Price Comparison
Every two weeks, I have to purchase ingredients, plasticware, napkins, paper cups, and more. My charts and graphs tell me how much to buy but I have to figure out where to buy them. Naturally, I want to make my purchases at the store that offers the best buy. To determine the best buy, I need to calculate the unit price. This is the price for a single cup or napkin or one ounce of flour or sugar. That way, I can be sure that the lowest price is the best one. If I spend too much money on supplies, I won't make as much profit as possible.
Converting Units of Measure
I have to be able to convert back and forth from English measures (tablespoons, ounces, and pounds) to metric measures (grams and liters). Sometimes the ingredients I need are sold in liters or grams. I must do these conversions correctly in order to buy the right amount. I also have many wonderful recipes from all around the world. Often, the measurements are in metric units. Exact conversions are needed to keep the recipes consistent.