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Steak FAQs

What does it cost an operator to cut their own meats?

By Bob Oros

40 lbs Rib Eye Steaks = 1 Hour $40 = $1.00 lb
40 lbs Top Butt Steaks = 1 hour $40 = $1.00 lb
40 lbs Roast prepare and cook = 1 hour $40 = $1.00 lb
40 lbs Chicken cut and prepare = 1 hour $40 = $1.00 lb

When doing a cutting test it is important to figure in a labor cost. The purpose of a cutting test is to determine the cost of the meat in order to set the menu price. Labor is a big factor and the normal answer from a restaurant operator is that I am here anyway so the labor does not cost me anything. With today's high labor cost it is always better to figure it in.

A good “rule of thumb” when figuring the cost of boxed beef items is to take the cost per pound of the product uncut, out of the box, and double it. For example, if you paid $4.50 for rib eye your finished product would be about $9.00.

If we went to an extreme and said it would take someone 15 hours to cut up the entire steer, it would cost $600 for labor. Six hundred lbs divided by $600 comes out to $1 lb. If we used $1.00 lb as a labor cost, we would be sure to build in enough to cover it. As you can see by the other examples, it is a pretty close figure.

If you think that $40 per hour is too high, you are selling yourself short. Even if you are in the restaurant anyway, your time can be better invested than cutting meat. Especially if your goal is to not be there all the time. Perhaps you want to hire a manager or even build a second location.