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Food and Beverage Cost and Sales Concepts

Average Check. Average check is the result of dividing total dollar sales
by the number of sales or customers. In the foodservice industry, this is
also known as covers. The term cover is defined in greater detail later in the
This average is determined as follows:
Average check = Total dollar sales / Total number of covers

Figure 1.5 shows total sales of $3,902.30 and 140 covers. Thus,
               Average sale = $3,902.30 / 140
                                   = $27.87

Note that appetizers and desserts are not included when determining
the number of covers. The assumption is that each customer ordered
an entr é e and that appetizers and desserts were additional orders placed by
customers. This figure is for food only and does not include beverages. Many
restaurants keep food and beverage figures separate when calculating average
sale per customer.
The average dollar sale is used by foodservice operators to compare
the sales performance of one employee with that of another, to identify sales
trends, and to compare the effectiveness of various menus, menu listings, or
sales promotions.
This figure is of considerable interest to managers, who are likely to
be watching business trends. If the average sale decreases over time, management
will probably investigate the reasons for the changes in customer
spending habits. Possibilities include a deterioration in service standards,
customer dissatisfaction with food quality, inadequate sales promotion, and
changes in portion sizes.
Average Sale per Server. Average sale per server is total dollar sales
for an individual server divided by the number of customers served by that
individual. This, too, is a figure used for comparative purposes, and it is usually
considered a better indicator of the sales ability of a particular individual
because, unlike total sales per server, it eliminates differences caused by
variations in the numbers of persons served. If the Grandview Bistro had four
servers on duty, and Jim, one of the servers, had 30 customers and total dollar
sale of $565 on the Saturday night of February 13, average sale per server for
Jim would be calculated as follows:

Average sale for Jim = Total sales for Jim / Number of customers for Jim
                               = $565 / 30
                               = $18.83

The average sale per server for Jim would be compared with other servers’.
If Jim ’ s average sale per customer was considerably lower than other
servers, management might look into the reason why, and possibly decide to
retrain Jim in the selling aspects of serving.
All of these monetary sales concepts are common in the industry and
are likely to be encountered quickly by those seeking careers in food and beverage
management. Yet several nonmonetary sales concepts and terms
should also be understood.

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