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Scott Schulfer

Standardized Recipe for Food & Alcohol | Template & Example

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Do you want a kitchen or bar that runs quickly, simply, and smoothly? Do you want to offset the cost to open a bar or restaurant?

What about consistent food cost and liquor cost? Data you can confidently use to make strategic decisions about purchasing and pricing? You want that, too?

Wait, last one:

Do you want to ratchet up your bar inventory management while providing every guest with a consistent, excellent experience?

Then you need a standardized recipe for everything. 

Standardized Recipe Definition: What Is a Standardized Recipe

A standardized recipe is instructions for consistently preparing a set quantity of food or drink at an expected quality. 

The purpose of a standardized recipe is to produce uniform taste and quantity each time the recipe is made. Regardless of who’s making it.

Why bother with it? Because it’s important.

Why Standardization Is Important

Food service standardization is important for four reasons. Simplicity, consistency, creativity, and inventory control.


Which is easier when you’re making dinner at home, making a dish from scratch or finding a recipe for it online?

An obvious answer, maybe. But it gets to the heart of why restaurant operations standardize recipes. It simplifies everything.

Not only do cooks and bartenders know what to do, they know what they need. Need club soda vs seltzer? You'll already have the right one on hand. That means storage is organized with access and frequency-of-use in mind. It also means cooking and prep surfaces are far more organized. The equipment and individual ingredients are always ready to go. Because everyone always knows exactly what’s needed. Just make sure to be clear with your amount, you don't want your bartenders asking "what is 1 part?"

All that simplicity makes things go faster, smoother, and more accurately. There are less refires, less remakes, and faster prep and service time.


Consistency is arguably the most important part of building a brand. Consistency and business brings to mind images of Ray Kroc and the golden arches. But it doesn’t apply to only franchises. A single food service business will benefit from consistency just like McDonald’s does.

No restaurant survives without repeat customers. And repeat customers don’t return for surprises. They return for the great experience they had the last time, and the time before that. If your business can’t deliver consistently on the expectations you’ve set, regulars disappear. The word of mouth restaurant marketing they generate disappears.

It’s like a political base in an election. You need a solid set of supporters to build on. And your standardized recipes are what keep your supporters coming back.

Read more about customer satisfaction in the restaurant industry.

Inventory Control

Standardized recipes make an effective inventory control and recipe costing tool for all bars and restaurants. When you know exactly what goes into a recipe, you have a reliable range of food cost or pour cost.

And bar inventory software like BinWise Pro helps bars and restaurants collect and analyse this data. That’s how profitable decisions are streamlined in the hospitality business. And that’s how all of our clients get a leg up on their competitors.

If your costs aren’t consistent, you’ll be at a disadvantage in a few ways. You won’t be able to accurately ferret out inventory variance, par level, and inventory shrinkage. Another thing a bar inventory app like BinWise Pro helps with, by the way. You won’t be able to set profitable sell prices based on cost. 

Wine bottle price, beer pricing for bars, and wine by the glass pricing, for example. Psychological pricing, even.

You won’t be able to gauge which drinks are consistently the most profitable and boost profits with menu engineering. You won’t be able to order the amounts from your suppliers that minimize excess inventory. Or sitting inventory and 86’d items. (See what does 86 mean in a restaurant and learn about restaurant terms.)

It all starts from being able to benchmark food and pour costs based on consistency. And doing that long-term to analyze historical data is a crucial part of running an optimized, profitable business. 


Hold up. We just said standardized recipes help with consistency. What’s with this creativity stuff?

The only way recipes can be improved is if chefs, cooks (see line cook job description), or bartenders iterate off established recipes. Everything that’s ever been created is a reimagined version of something that already exists.

By having a standardized recipe, food service creatives have a blueprint to experiment with. It’s how all the great recipes are created.

Need some mixology tips? Check these out:

Standard Recipe Format

Every standardized recipe should include:

  • Recipe name. Pretty self explanatory. It’s what the dish is called.
  • Yield. How much following the stated amounts and instructions will produce.
  • Portion size. How much one serving for a customer is.
  • Weight/Amount. The numerical amount of a specific ingredient needed.
  • Measure/Unit. Every amount has a corresponding unit, i.e. 3 cups, 4 tablespoons. 
  • Ingredients. Again, pretty self explanatory.
  • Instructions. A sequence of to take to prepare the recipe.
  • Notes: Any allergy and dietary concerns.

Below you can find a standardized recipe example and downloadable template.

Standardized Recipe Example

standardized recipe example

Standardized Recipe Template

Download this free, editable standardized recipe template in Excel or click the image below for a printable PDF.

standardized recipe template PDF

USDA Standardized Recipes for Cocktails

Did you know that in 1974, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created and released a few USDA standardized recipes for cocktails?

It’s true. And while it was mostly a good-humored joke (one signatory is I.P. Freely), it still has some good information.

Here it is.

And if you’re pressed for time, here are the three USDA standardized recipes for cocktails we think are worth remembering.


USDA Standardized Recipes for Grasshopper Cocktail

  • ¾ oz green creme de menthe
  • ¾ oz creme de cacao
  • ¾ oz fresh creme

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with cracked ice, shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass.

Gin Rickey

USDA Standardized Recipes for Gin Rickey Cocktail

  • 1 ½ oz gin
  • Sparkling mineral water
  • 1 lime wheel
  • 3 ice cubes

Pour gin in an 8-ounce glass with 3 ice cubes, top with sparkling mineral water. Squeeze in juice of one lime wheel, add lime wheel itself, and stir.

Rob Roy

USDA Standardized Recipes for Rob Roy Cocktail

  • 1 ½ oz Scotch
  • ¾ oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 lemon peel

Stir Scotch, vermouth, and bitters with cracked ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel.

That’s how the U.S. government does it!

Not sure how much of their profit margin is driven by standardized cocktails, though.

bar inventory software demo

But your bar profitability can certainly be. With BinWise Pro, bars across the country manage their recipes and pour costs automatically. No more trying to calculate how many shots in a handle manually. Book a demo and we’ll show you how easy it can be to standardize, optimize, and grow. You should also use our free recipe costing template to ensure maximum profit.

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