Manage Food Costs to Increase Margins and Maximize Profits

Photo credit: Brittany Palmer/NATSO 

Managing food costs is a key way to improve restaurant margins, and even small changes can result in big savings over the course of a year. Truckstop and travel plaza operators said they take a multifaceted approach to address supply costs as well as food waste and theft.

Michael Ouimet, president of Oiumet Resources, which operates travel center restaurants in 11 states and provides consulting work, said increasing food costs coupled with tight margins have added to the importance of managing food costs. “It has become really, really important in our restaurants to get the food cost right,” Ouimet said while addressing attendees at The NATSO Show 2017 in Savannah, Georgia.

Ouimet and other NATSO members said they tackle food costs from a variety of angles and shared their insight with Stop Watch.

Calculate Food Costs
During The NATSO Show, Ouimet said one of the best ways to get a handle on food costs is to calculate theoretical food costs, the amount an operator should achieve with no waste or theft, and compare them to the actual food costs. Ouimet also shared his food cost guidelines (see page 10). “Once you get a handle on your theoretical cost, you will get a better handle on waste and theft. Your actual costs should be within 2 to 4 percent of your theoretical cost,” he said.

The resource you are attempting to view is for NATSO Members only. To read the full story, you must be a NATSO member.

To login, enter your UserID and Password below. 

If you need any assistance, please contact NATSO Member Services at (703) 549-2100 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, or email us at

You can also reset your username or password here.

Learn more about NATSO membership here or join NATSO now.

Already a member, but don't have a NATSO account? Create a new account.

Mindy Long's photo

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
Stop Watch Magazine
Retailer Featured:
Broadway Truck StopsCash Magic Truck Plazas and CasinosGoetz CompaniesOui­met ResourcesSacramento 49er Travel Plaza

Back to Truckstop Business