How Apicbase Helps Restaurant Operators Create Accurate Bills of Materials With a Push of a Button

Love ’em or hate ’em, accurate restaurant bills of materials (BoM) are the backbone of every large and profitable F&B business.

If you’re involved in restaurant back-of-house — in any capacity — you constantly use BoMs for everything from ensuring production and pricing accuracy to informing decisions around inventory and procurement.

F&B BoMs are an essential tool that lets you make business decisions without guesstimating things like workload, production planning, or ingredient ordering.

What Is a Bill of Materials for Restaurants?

The definition of a bill of materials for F&B — also called a restaurant BoM — is a record of ingredients (and quantities) that go into making a menu item. It can be simple (meaning it only contains the ingredients and amounts) or costed (meaning each item has an assigned monetary value).

That definition looks simple enough, right?

However, we both know that creating an accurate restaurant bill of materials is anything but simple. Right now, most F&B operators are using a process that’s too long, too complicated, and too riddled with errors.

Apicbase decided to change that. We want to ensure that every F&B manager, chef, and sous chef can create accurate restaurant BoMs on the fly. And it doesn’t matter if you’re making a:

  • recipe BoM [scaling a single recipe 100, 200, or even 500 times]…
  • menu BoM [scaling an entire menu however many times you need], or…
  • production plan BoM [prepping for a 1000-seat B2B event]…

… our auto-generated BoMs take the guesswork [and the elbow grease] out of the equation.

Let’s check them out in action.

Apicbase Makes Them Appear Out of Thin Air [Almost]

The BoM feature in our software is as close to ‘set it and forget it’ as we could get it.

Replace 100s of spreadsheets with automated calculations and actionable insights.

The Apicbase software takes care of everything, once recipes, ingredients and vendor data are entered (you only have to enter the data once).

Kitchen staff with appropriate user permissions can then easily create errorproof restaurant bills of materials:

  • a hotel kitchen hand tasked with scaling a popular breakfast dish to 100 portions before a large group comes in on the weekend;
  • a restaurant sous chef who wants to create a Friday night production plan based on current [and forecasted] reservations;
  • a B2B catering head chef who needs to figure out how to price an elaborate 10-course corporate dinner for 800 people.

In all three situations, Apicbase generates bills of materials for restaurants in the blink of an eye. You go from a spreadsheet ‘hot mess’ to clean BoMs you can export or send to vendors through the platform.

Your F&B BoMs are one click away from detailed Purchase Orders per vendor

When stock levels of a particular ingredient/s are under par [or completely depleted], your BoH staff can automatically turn a BoM into a purchase order!

Apicbase analyses the BoMs — ingredients, stock levels, specified quality and quantity — and preselects a ‘best choice’ vendor from your preapproved list.

Par and above-par-level ingredients are left off the order. This way, your staff will only order what’s needed — and you’ll put a cork in overstocking and waste.

To make BoM generation more manageable and targeted, Apicbase lets you choose between three BoM options — scaling a recipe, a menu, or prepping a production plan.

Let’s first take a look at restaurant BoMs from a recipe perspective.

1. Get a Recipe Bill of Materials in Just Three Clicks…

Imagine for a second that you’re in charge of F&B procurement at a beachside resort.

Every weekend, you have hundreds of people pouring in through an online travel agency like Booking dot com… all starved for good food… all craving to try your breakfast special — the Spicy Tuna Poke Bowl.

A manual calculation for this would be a nightmare. Especially if you’re ordering some of the ingredients weekly and some [like fresh tuna fish] daily. To make things worse, this is not the only item on the menu that uses sushi-quality tuna, which additionally complicates your calculations.

With Apicbase, you’re simply three clicks away from getting an accurate BoM:

To scale up dishes, all you have to do is enter the number of portions.

You can use this process for every situation that calls on scaling a specific recipe:

  • preordered takeaways and deliveries [if you’re doing set lunch items for businesses];
  • prepackaged items like salads or sandwiches [in a canteen or a bakery, for example];
  • when preparing next week’s orders [for reservation-only high-end restaurants].

Now, recipe BoMs make it easy to scale a single dish… but what happens when you need to blow up an entire menu?

Easy — you turn to our…

2. Menu Bill of Materials in Five Clicks

Let’s revisit our sun-scorched beachside resort for a moment.

A whole day on the beach = hundreds of hungry tourists.

But you know you’ll now have one extra problem that you didn’t have when creating a recipe BoM. For breakfast, they’ve preselected their dishes. For dinner, however, most guests will be choosing between several predefined menus.

In addition to juggling ingredient counts and taking other menus into account when calculating the BoMs for this, you now don’t even have a set number of dishes that you need to put out. At best, you can manually calculate things based on historical sales data. At worst, you can take a wild guess… and end up off by a mile.

Well, not with Apicbase!

The behind-the-scenes magic is the same one that happens when you’re generating recipe BoMs. Only, this time, you’re choosing a set menu, and the BoM includes the ingredients for all the dishes contained in that menu [it can be three dishes or ten, depending on the menu].

Let’s take a look at this menu bill of materials feature in action:

Get aggregated bills of materials AND purchase orders in seconds.

And what’s great here is that you won’t be guesstimating the number of portions. If you have historical sales data [or you can import it], Apicbase will let you choose the most representative set for that period. Last year’s data and numbers usually work best, but you can also use last month’s (or last week’s) if you’re catering to the same types of guests.

Do you order stockable recipes from your central kitchen?

Apicbase will know that because your central [production] kitchen will be one of your vendors. With some prep work, the BoMs created for your central kitchen will contain ingredients needed for the stockable recipe [which you can order from vendors].

However, a restaurant-specific bill of materials that uses that stockable item will order it directly from the central kitchen, ignoring the ingredients needed to make it.

This way, you can ensure that you’re not pilling up ingredients [let’s say, flour] in your outlets if you’re ordering a stockable recipe [pizza dough] from your central kitchen.

3. Generate a Bill of Materials for Predefined Production Plans

Sometimes, a recipe BoM won’t cut it.

And neither will a menu BoM.

You have to go bigger… bolder.

For example, imagine you’re a regional F&B manager for a global B2B catering firm. We’re talking thousands of dishes here. Tens of thousands of euros tied up in ingredients.

So you need to bring your A-level game to the table for this bill of materials. Otherwise, you’re risking messy, disorganised prep… lots of profit-slashing waste… as well as taking back full trays. And eating the cost.

Apicbase not only streamlines your production plan creation [a colossal time-saver for caterers who repeat menus several times every month] but also allows you to turn that plan into a BoM!

Here’s how that looks:

All your production plans — catering events, prepackaged meals, Football Fridays… anything — can be a BoM.

This production plan BoM feature is very versatile. Essentially, anything you create as a production plan — a catering event, a set of prepackaged meals, or a regular Tuesday in one of your locations — can now benefit from automated bill of materials generation.

Use Case: How The Avocado Show Eliminated Inventory Variance.

Start Doing BoMs the Right Way With Apicbase

In large F&B operations such as global hotel houses and restaurant chains, kitchen and procurement staff are already juggling a million things.

If you can take a few time-consuming things off their plate, such as ambiguity around:

… how much of what should we produce?…

… what do we already have in stock?…

… how much should we order?

you’re going to free up people, so they can spend more time on the guest experience;

or answering critical, more strategic questions such as:

  • where’s our next menu starter coming from?
  • where can we get this ingredient more cheaply?
  • how can we negotiate a better deal with this vendor?

Get your teams to work on answering these profit-boosting questions by handing over BoM creation to Apicbase.

See Apicbase in Action

If you want to know how Apicbase simplifies the backend of your F&B operation, unburden your teams and curb high food costs, then schedule a call with our team by clicking the button below!

Request Demo

👆 Yes, I need Accurate, zero-maths BoMs!




I write about F&B Management Best Practices for Multi-Unit Food Businesses. My goal is to help you keep costs down, quality up and operations running smoothly.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

You have a ‘latte’ to learn: a visual guide to 7 popular espresso drinks

What’s Embedded in Cuisine

Inspirations: Copenhagen Street Food

How to Make BBQ Bill’s Citrus Smoked Chicken

Waiting for a damn food order

Let Them Eat Cake

Stolen Food Is a 48-Ton Big Deal

1200 calorie diet

1200 calorie diet

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Geert Merckaert

Geert Merckaert

I write about F&B Management Best Practices for Multi-Unit Food Businesses. My goal is to help you keep costs down, quality up and operations running smoothly.

More from Medium

2022’s 5 Best Delta 10 Gummies — Consumer Guide

Traveling in California

Fellow Feature: Rungsiri Upradit, Health + Tech ’22 (Anthropology)

The Real Lesson That We Learned From the Juwan Howard Incident: A Black Man Still Has No Rights…