Standard Recipes: Development & Purpose

Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian has an MBA and is a real estate investor, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

In this lesson, we'll explore how standard recipes are created and used in a restaurant setting to create consistent menu items and improve efficiency.


One reason Jamie's Restaurant has so much repeat business is the fact that customers can expect consistency in each menu item every time they visit. This degree of repeatability requires some planning on Jamie's part to create a consistent product. That's why he uses standard recipes.

A standard recipe is a restaurant recipe that has been tested and repeated enough so that it has the same yield and results when created with consistent procedures, ingredients, and equipment. Standard recipes not only help the business satisfy customer expectations, but also help it maintain efficiency in other aspects. Let's take a closer look at the purpose of standard recipes and explore how standard recipes are developed.


A standard recipe ensures that a menu item made one day taste and looks the same as one made a few days, weeks, or even months or years later. Customers appreciate that each time they order the same item on the menu, they know exactly what to expect.

Consistency presents other benefits besides customer satisfaction. Since Jamie knows exactly how much of each ingredient goes into a meal, it is easier for him to make important calculations. For example, since Jamie knows how many ounces of beans, tomatoes, meat, and onions go into each batch of chili, it is easier for him to take inventory, order the right amount of ingredients, and reduce waste and shortages in the kitchen. This aids in controlling costs as well by helping ensure that employees prepare meals with the proper amount of ingredients.

Knowing exact ingredients and their amounts allows Jamie to accurately determine the nutritional content of the meal. Customers often like to choose meals with this information in mind. Additionally, local laws may require this information to be posted or available.


So how does Jamie go about setting up standard recipes for his restaurant? First, he needs to plan a menu item and give it a name, such as Jamie's Ribeye Sandwich. Once the ingredients are chosen, he must determine the source and the quantity of ingredients for a serving. For example, Jamie sources ribeye steak from his local butcher who provides a known and consistent product and can get the steaks cut to exactly eight ounces with a similar amount of fat on each cut of meat. The bread and sauce have similar specifications about the source, quantity, and preparation. Quantities can be expressed in terms of weight or volume.

The standard recipe contains detailed instructions for preparation, such as the essential ingredients and required kitchen equipment, so that the cook can be sure everything needed to prepare that meal is available. The ribeye must be prepared the same way each time, so the exact cooking methods and times need to be included in the recipe. It should be clear to the cook how Jamie's Restaurant cooks a ribeye down to the details of which cookware, utensils, and equipment are used. For example, the recipe specifies that the ribeye is to be pan seared instead of broiled. Likewise bread is toasted and cut in the exact same manner according to the recipe every time it is prepared.

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