I occasionally treat the crew to some fast food… for a change of pace, for convenience, for a treat with MSG :) and all kinds of hard to pronounce ingredients. While we are more likely to opt for fried chicken, spicy at that, we do occasionally go for burgers or even pizza. Recently, a fast food chain has been in the press and totally in your face with their roadside billboards offering their “value meal” which includes one chicken drumstick, grilled, one portion of rice, half a kalamansi and chilies. Not sure if it comes with a drink. They do offer vinegar as a dip. This is NOT the unlimited rice version. It retails for PHP49. So I wondered just how much value was in the value meal. In the West, the rule of thumb is that food cost is roughly 1/3 or less of the price of the dish. If you can manage to get the food cost to say 25%, and customers still flock to you, then you have the beginnings of a great business… But that ratio takes into account higher rent, wages, and other costs involved in food businesses (insurance, compliance, etc.) in other parts of the world. So out of curiosity, I decided to try and replicate the “value” meal and see what it cost to make.
I marinated grocery (Rustan’s, at that) purchased chicken legs for about 1 hour. I also added chopped lemongrass, garlic, etc. If you want the legs to be juicier, brine them for a couple of hours before marinating them. Next, I put them on a charcoal grill for a few minutes. Served them with a heaping serving of rice, and in the photo below, added a small portion of lechon pancit. So what did it cost? Roughly PHP10 for the chicken, and PHP3.50 for the rice. If I were buying in bulk, these prices would go down, so I am estimating that the “value meal” actually cost roughly PHP13-14 total in total food costs. No rent, no people, no advertising, no clean-up, taxes, etc. That is roughly 28% food cost. Bingo!
The purpose of this post? To illustrate just how much we are all paying for convenience. Many of the folks who purchase “value meals” are likely to think they are often a bit short on funds in general, and yet, for convenience, they opt to eat out often, paying a substantial premium for the privilege of doing so. Frankly, there sometimes isn’t that much real “value” in a “value meal”… at least in my personal opinion. And I know, some of you are aware that I am involved in the food business, so let me just go ahead and tell you the average food and ingredient cost of a Zubuchon is roughly 60-68% of the retail price. And since we turn them by hand, our labor costs exceed nearly all of our peers as well. No wonder we haven’t attracted buyers with billions wishing to acquire us. Hahahaha. If you add the pancit, the total cost of this pictured meal would not exceed PHP20 for the meal. Oh, and commercial iced tea is one of the cheapest drinks you can make, at roughly PHP2-3 pesos per glass ingredients cost, if I recall correctly.