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The True Cost of Cheese: Tracking Stock on Hand

By Tricia Hoy

What is the first ingredient that comes to mind when you hear the word pizza? Dollars to doughnuts, or should I say pizza wheels, it’s cheese. Although mozzarella continues to be the mainstay for pizza, the pizza industry has seen a rise in new favorites. Here are a few to tease your taste buds:

Mozzarella – Not “just” mozzarella: this cheese comes in many varieties, including fresh, deli, and grocery, as well as whole milk and partly skim milk varieties. If your preference is a creamy cheese, stick to the whole milk. Or if you are feeling adventurous, try a smoked mozzarella, or combine them to complement the fresh mozzarella with a strong, smoky flavor.

Provolone – This cheese shows its age in its flavor profile and texture. With only a short aging time, provolone presents with a creamy, mild taste, whereas a more mature version can be drier and more flavorful. Perfect as an accent or a garnish, provolone adds depth when mixed with mozzarella on a pizza.

Parmigiano Reggiano – Not to be confused with parmesan, which is aged up to nine months, parmigiano reggiano’s intense nutty flavor comes from an aging process that lasts between 12 and 36 months. This crumbly cheese adds a nutty bite. Quattro formaggi, anyone?

Smoked Gouda – Smoky in flavor, it can be a perfect addition to a pizza after cooking, or combined with mozzarella, as gouda does not melt well, but is known for its creamy texture.

Goat Cheese – Made from goat’s milk, fromage de chevre (goat’s cheese) is a flavorful addition, or an alternative for those who are intolerant to cow’s milk. Often treated with a salt brine to prevent spoilage, this cheese tops off a pizza with a sharp flavor and often less fat than a cow’s milk cheese.

What all five of these favorites have in common is that they are among the priciest ingredients a pizzeria stocks. One of the first places to look at controlling food cost is to ensure you have adequate measures in place to prevent cheese theft, over portioning, and waste. Over portioning can significantly increase your cost—and can play havoc with product consistency, resulting in greasy or soggy pies.

The inventory software in your POS system provides the tools you need to control the cheese (and other key ingredients) in your coolers and shelves, and to detect and address theft or improper portion controls.

Operators are sometimes are reluctant to put inventory software in place because of the time involved in entering receives and counting stock. Consider tracking only high-value, theft-prone items such as cheese and meats.

For example, in SpeedLine Inventory, you can designate cheese as a “critical item,” and then generate a report showing usage variance (the difference between what you should have in stock and what was counted), and all other transactions for that critical item.

Big usage variance figures alert you when further investigation is required, so you can stop food waste or theft before it costs your business thousands of dollars.

Find out more about how inventory software can help you ensure product consistency and increased profitability:

Controlling Food Costs with Inventory Software: Top Tips for Success


Posted on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 @ 14:07 PM.
Updated on April 15, 2019 @ 9:44 PM PST.

Posted by Tricia Hoy

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Tags: SpeedLine Inventory

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