School canteens are small food businesses, and as such must implement best practice financial management to be viable. Best practice means having appropriate record keeping procedures.
The person responsible for using these records will vary e.g. the canteen supervisor or the person responsible for financial management and paying bills (such as the Treasurer of the Parent Body/Canteen Committee).
Many calls to the Association ask “What are we doing wrong, why are we are running at a loss?” Seldom is one single factor the reason. It is more likely to be a combination of things. In some cases it has been shown that the canteen is in fact trading profitably. However, due to a lack of stocktaking, the end of year picture does not reflect this.
See Why aren’t we making a profit for more information.
Maintaining accurate records is easier if you have the appropriate templates and procedures in place. This includes daily tally sheets, stock order sheets, sales records and stocktake.
An accurate stock take enables a true picture of the financial situation to be given. We recommend end of term stock takes (or at least annually). Download our stock take fact sheet and our stocktake template which is formatted in Excel and the formulas are in place for you.
Setting menu prices
Calculating accurate menu prices to ensure all items sell and the canteen makes a profit is essential, ask these simple questions:
- Do you know the cost price of every single item? See the Recipe costing template in Word format and the Recipe costing template in Excel format that includes calculations to make this easier
- Do you use a formula for calculating the selling price of all items?
- Does your canteen policy state healthier items should be priced lower than others?
To answer these questions see the Setting menu prices fact sheet.
Financial management training
Running a canteen is equivalent to running a small business. It is essential to understand the financial situation in the canteen at all times to maintain a viable business. The learning outcomes for the Financial management training are:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the scope of the Healthy Food and Drink (HFD) policy; including 5 areas of compliance
- Demonstrate an understanding of the requirements of setting up a financial management system for a canteen, including pricing, stock control, standardisation and portion control, maintaining accurate daily records
- Increase knowledge of how to operate a finically viable canteen, including analysis of income and expenses
- Increase knowledge of how to calculate menu prices
- Increase menu planning skills to ensure a viable food service is provided
- Increase confidence to implement financial management practices.
Canteen staff and parent body representatives who are responsible for the canteen are encouraged to attend.
Running time: approximately 2.5 hours Cost : $15 members $20 non members