SALADS - Cost of Goods?

I know the average pizza cost of goods is around 25-28% as an average. Anyone have a COG on salad like caesar, chinese chop etc, not salad bar?

i sell tons of salads.
They are very profitable.


Head of lettuce $.75
Tomato $.50
Onion $.50

Tin & Lid $.10
dressing $.25

Figure you get 2-3 salads off a head of lettuce & 1 Tomato. figure you get like 5 off the onion

I sell a small for $3 and large for $4.50

i’d estimate its around 20% cost.

I just pulled the stats. I sold a little over $11,000 worth of salads since I opened 10 months ago. Go to my web site if you want to see what they are ( click on salads). Here’s the percentages:

Sm. Garden - 23% FC
Lg. Garden - 25%
Caesar - 15%
Cosmo - 24%
Chef - 26%
Spinach - 23%

I actually spared you the fact that I know my food cost percentages down to the hundreth of a percent. I highly recommend getting Big Dave’s Food Cost Pro ( It’s 200 bucks and will take you 5-7 hours of work. But it will open your eyes and pay off on the bottom line in no time.

What you mean is you know your ideal food cost :slight_smile:

Unless you are making every single item coming out of your shop, you still have to have scales. cups, and systems in place to be sure everything leaves the store correctly. It isn’t as easy as just pricing things out (not that you don’t already know that) but I like reminding people.


Good point. In addition to scales, systems, etc. I employ a large and scary whip.

And I wield it with enthusiasm. :smiley:

Cowtown and Scott

Thanks a ton, I was making an educated guess on the food cost being around 25% (as a general average). I was updating the menu, break even and income projections.

I am still struggling with this whole start up thing, but not down and out yet. I wanted to make sure we can make everything work. I know J_0rkk suggested we shoot for $6500 or under as a break even point so this is what we are shooting for.

Offer the best salad ever and watch your COG almost match pizza.

Octagon deep black container, clear lid. Cabbage sliced, carrots sliced, cukes, tomatoes, sliced red onion, peppers and ultimate croutons. Four ounce prepped salad dressings in every variation.

Offer grilled chicken, chicken salad, tuna salad, chef salad, anti pasto, steak tips, corn cob, greek…offer anything on a salad just like wraps and you have killer sales!

Keep it fresh, keep it pretty and keep it priced right.

We have two pretty decent dinner sized salads that we sell

Firehouse Salad (rom/icbrg lettuce, mush, gr&bl olive, gr pepper, bannana pepper, tomato, ham, pizza cheese, croutons) about 18 oz finished wight 20.1% target COG

Greek Salald (rom/icbrg lettuce, bl olive, onion, gr pepper, feta, tomato, pepperoncini, crouton) 19.7% target COGS

Thanks Nick and everyone else

This is exactly what I needed, so decent ballpark numbers so I can adjust my projections and see if I can make this project work. I really evny those that have completed this crazy start up type work. What a headache!

Here is what I am running at the moment for projections
Pizza - 31%
Salad - 25%
Soda - .03 per oz
Domestic Beer - .04 per oz
Micro Beer - .08 per oz
Desserts - 25%

We have limited paper items as we are targeting the “green” trend and using washable/reuseable items. I wanted to make sure I use food costs that were a little high so I have a buffer when determining if we can make this work.

It’s always good to use conservative estimates but that seems high to me unless you’re making gourmet pizza or selling really cheap. Pizza is my best food cost category. 1-top, 2-top pizzas make up about 60% of my sales and are in the 15% - 19% food cost range. My specialty pizzas are discounted a little and run around 21% - 25%.

Thanks cowtown for your imput. You are correct I am trying to be overly conservative on my estimates knowing I am high. My goal is a “worst case scenario” type projections. I even went as far as to only use “cheese” pizza numbers for projections even thought I know most will have 1-2 topping on average.

We are going with the “all natural/organic” products as much as possible so I know the wholesale will be a little higher, but our pizza/salad prices will reflect this as well.

With our emphasis on quality good for your health food and low environmental impact, this will set us apart from all the others. Plus we will be the only dine in spot with seating for more than 15.

pizza 31% - wow that’s high I worry if I get anywhere near 25% and I use good quality stuff. In my experience you need to make sure you main product line (pizza in my case) is well below 25%.

31% may be higher than the norm, however, at the end of the day it depends on your market…If your market area is price sensitive and you still want to offer a quality product your food cost will be high…What is most important is knowing what your target is and putting controls in place to ensure you stay on target…Food inventories…Portion control…Auditing grocery invoices…RCS…

Good input.

I realize the 31% is high but this is our projection number while our actual goal will be in the 25-28% range. When dealing with a bank loan I wanted to over-inflate the expenses and under-estimate the revenues. As J_0rkk has suggested, it is best to work from a worst case scenario for my start up thus the higher food cost numbers.

I even went as far on my 12 month revenue projections by showing zero sales our first week we are open and only 210 total pizza for the entire first month. If we can’t sell at least 210 in our first month, we might as well close the doors at that point (knock on wood).

My actual target range is the following
Pizza 25-28%
Salad 20%
Soda .02 per oz
Domestic beer .03 per oz
Micro Beer .07 per oz
Desserts 18-20%