Knowing Your Numbers


12 mins read

If you’re running a business you need to know and understand your numbers; this means knowing exactly where your revenue is coming from and every one of your costs. 

Quite simply, if you don’t know your numbers you can’t manage them.

Mastery of your numbers almost guarantees an increase in profit, as it will shape your decision-making and focus your attention in the right areas.


It’s quite easy to see how much money is coming in, but you also need to know where it’s coming from in terms of what items are selling, which aren’t, who’s purchasing, and what time and day of the week your customers are buying.

This knowledge will help guide your menu design, staffing levels, and marketing, amongst other things.

Most POS systems will provide a great suite of sales reports to help you better understand where your revenue is coming from however you’ll also want to make sure you’re generating a robust profit and loss statement (P&L) every month to give you a really good snapshot of your business’s performance. 


Understanding a profit and loss statement (continued)

At the top, your revenue streams are listed. It’s critical that you separate your food revenue from your beverage revenue; if these are lumped together you cannot track your food costs. These revenues combined are your gross revenue or turnover.

It’s important to note that GST must be stripped off your revenue as it should not be included anywhere in your P&L.

The next section is your cost of goods sold (COGS). This contains all of your variable costs associated with the sale of a menu item, normally the food costs and packaging.

The difference between your revenue and COGS is your gross profit.

The next section of the P&L lists all of your expenses, which for the most part are fixed costs, such as rent, wage costs, staff expenses, utilities etc. Subtracting all of your expenses from your gross profit will give you your operating (or pre-tax) profit.

Be careful here, your operating profit will also not include things like depreciation and interest on lending.

Food Costs – There are two types of food costs: theoretical food costs and actual food costs. Both are really important to know as the difference between the two will be the best place to look for cost savings.

Each and every item on your menu must have their food costs calculated. This involves measuring, to the gram/ml, each recipe ingredient and working out the cost of that measure. The combined cost of all of these ingredients is your food cost and is one of the most important metrics involved in managing the financial performance of your business.

Food costs can be worked out by using a simple spreadsheet and/or loading them into one of the various apps available online. Some POS systems even offer food cost capabilities. 

Make sure you are calculating your food costs without GST included. It’s important to take into account seasonality when working out your food costs, as the price of fresh produce can change drastically over the course of a year.

The simplest way of dealing with this is to either average it, or inputting the highest amount that is viable for you to pay without eroding your margin.

By keeping a close eye on your invoices; once the cost of an ingredient increases above what you can afford, it’s time to change the recipe or remove the item from your menu until the price drops again.

Food Costs - Continued

Your theoretical costs, once known, can be used to work out your sale price. Everything you sell should be four times your food cost excluding GST. GST can then be added on at the end as per the example below:


WAGE COSTS – Study your wage costs carefully and make sure that your BOH and FOH labour combined is less than 28-32% of your turnover. 

Wage costs can sneak up easily and before long become the accepted norm. Remember that every man-hour you can save from your wage costs will give you an additional saving of around 12% by way of holiday and Kiwisaver costs.

EXPENSES – Like your wage costs, other expenses in your business can sneak up on you. Having visibility of each expense will help you stay on top of them. It’s recommended that you schedule a time to periodically review all of these expenses every year.

Work through every line item in your P&L and don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deal with utility and service providers.

Related Articles


Cream and its many uses

A quality culinary cream can work its magic in a variety of ways – here’s just a few of them for you to try.

Helping customers choose your establishment

Consumers have never had so much choice when it comes to dining out. So how do you convince them to choose your establishment?

Why our creams are better

Anchor™ Food Professionals has a range of creams to suit your business needs and satisfy your customers’ tastes.

Choosing the right type of cream

Cream is one of the most versatile ingredients for all foodservice bakeries and kitchens.

Inside the social food movement

Customers always eat with their eyes first – and now a staggering number also eat with their smartphones and social media accounts before picking up their fork.

Butter vs Margarine: A tale of two fats

You no doubt already know your customers are keen to eat natural foods these days - and they’d be hard-pressed to find one as pure as butter.

Dairy UHT cream vs non-dairy UHT cream

UHT (ultra heat treated) cream or long-life cream is exposed to high temperatures for a short period of time, before it’s packed into sterilised Tetra Pak cartons and delivered to your kitchen.

Fonterra Releases 2021 Sustainability Report

Fonterra’s 2021 Sustainability Performance Report indicates promising headway and momentum in the right direction.

Delivering excellence every time

Foodservice delivery was already taking off before 2020 ... and then COVID happened. While a shock, it made many businesses pivot to find new ways of setting up fast, convenient delivery models. And that meant new ways of thinking around pricing and cost management, updated menus, websites, communicating with customers, staff management plus extra food safety and hygiene measures.

Finding their recipe for success in the kitchen

At Anchor Food Professionals, our people are at the heart of our success. We are committed to supporting a diverse range of talented chefs who work hard to ensure our customers’ thrive. We are proud to celebrate our female chefs who are paving the way for future generations.

Ready to reopen

In our COVID-19 world, social distancing is the new normal for so many of us. But keeping six feet of space between each other may take some getting used to – especially in busy restaurants! Although reopening guidelines come from a number of sources and differ geographically, there are a few common themes that have been tried and tested.

Choosing the right type of cream

Cream is one of the most versatile ingredients your bakery or kitchen can stock – you can pour it, whip it, and add it to everything from drinks and desserts to pasta sauces and soups.

Butter, Naturally Pure

A meal that tastes good is just as important to your customers as one that’s good for them - and butter has a deliciously unique flavour that will easily elevate your menu.

Artichoke Basil Pizza

Artichoke Basil Pizza

March 2022 Trend Report – Cheese, Spice & All Things Nice

Anchor Food Professionals have curated some of the latest trends to help deliver you some menu inspiration!

Anchor Food Professionals Performance at International Cheese Awards

Anchor Food Professionals collects eight medals and one trophy at this year’s International Cheese and Dairy Awards.

Recipes with our award-winning mozzarella

Anchor Food Professionals has taken out some top awards at the 2022 International Cheese & Dairy Awards.

Regal Shake Recipe

A refreshing and deliciously creamy shake. Made with crumbled regal biscuits, topped with a decadent cream cheese topping.

Lychee Dragon Fruit Smoothie Recipe

Brighten your day. A perfectly balanced blend of mild tropical dragon fruit and sweet aromatic lychee topped with a deliciously rich cream cheese topping.

And that’s a wrap on Bakery China 2023!

Last week we were at Asia Pacific’s biggest bakery event - Bakery China in Shanghai.

It’s not just our Chefs who are world class.

As proud sponsors of the Worldchefs Congress & Expo 2024, we’re excited to introduce another star of the show – Anchor Chef’s Classic Whipping Cream!

Anchor Food Professionals wins big at the International Cheese and Dairy Awards 2023!

We recently entered some of our Anchor Food Professionals products in the International Cheese and Dairy Awards – the world’s biggest platform to champion world class producers of cheese and dairy products.

Tarte à la mangue

This Tarte à la mangue is a baked mango tart with mango mousse and vanilla cream using our Anchor Whipping Cream.

Collaborating to grow our Chinese market

Two of our New Zealand team recently travelled to China to learn more about the UHT Cream market there, and how we can develop great new products for our customers.

Orange Blossom Malabi Custard

Orange Blossom Malabi Custard

Hot smoked salmon, dill & hot mustard cream

Hot smoked salmon, dill & hot mustard cream.

Tomato Bisque

Tomato Bisque

Spicy red cream sauce with roast eggplant & spaghetti

Spicy red cream sauce with roast eggplant & spaghetti.

Hot smoked salmon, dill & hot mustard cream

Hot smoked salmon, dill & hot mustard cream.

Whipped goats cheese tortellini

Whipped goats cheese tortellini, vintage cheddar & toasted pine nut cream sauce.

Squash Soup

Squash Soup

Cajun Cream Tortellini

Cajun Cream Tortellini

Rosemary & garlic roast chicken with pappardelle, goat's cheese & avocado

Rosemary & garlic roast chicken with pappardelle, goat's cheese & avocado.


A Korean dish with a twist! Deep fried chicken, pizza topping flavours, and a hit of spice - all balanced out with our smooth Mozzarella cheese. Try out this Korean-inspired dish that will delight all the senses!

Creamy Mushroom Soup

A delicious creamy soup for fall. Made with fresh mushrooms and Anchor Extra Yield Cooking Cream.