The Value of Historical Data in Your Recipe Database

If you own a Foodservice establishment, you most definitely have some sort of menu which means you also have some sort of recipe database. Now, if you’re reading this article we would hope that you’re housing your menu recipes in a digital recipe database. If you are using a notebook, excel, or any other method please click here and sign up for an account with us. No really, we’ll wait.  It’s all of $49 to get you in the door and well worth it.

Now that we go that out of the way, let’s get back to topic here. We’re talking historical data in your recipe database and why it’s so important to have access to any changes made to your recipes. It’s a concern that we receive often and for good reason. Not only does changing a single ingredient in a recipe change the entire nutrition report for that entire menu item, but depending on the suppliers you are using, an ingredient change could mean an increased need for allergen reporting. And that is just the beginning. Changes also come with a margin for error, and while our nutrition analysis reporting may be pristine, it will still report inaccurately if ingredients are entered incorrectly.

Saving User Entries

Each time a user logs into your recipe database, there should be a log for reference. This way, if any changes are made, it is time stamped with a date, time and user. This establishes accountability between those in charge of recipe creation and entry but is also a safeguard for user error. A report like this could easily be pulled to correct any apparent mistakes and trace it back to the user who entered and/or modified the data in a recipe. If a pattern of error emerges via a user, more training or a keener eye for detail may be required. Either way, it’s a valuable source of information to determine how to solve the issue.

Supplier Updates

When choosing a recipe database, it is important to have the option to perform updates across your entire recipe log in real-time as manufacturers change their recipes. This is not only for convenience sake, but for the purpose of gathering data. For example, if you have a chicken recipe that calls for an Asian-inspired marinade that you get from a supplier, but you also use that same sauce as a dressing for salad or as a dip for appetizers, if your supplier changes their sauce recipe, it is likely that the ingredient information for all 3 of these example dishes will change as well.

This really can become an issue when something like food allergens come into play. If the manufacturer’s original marinade was allergen-free but has now been changed it to include soy, that means 3 of your menu recipes now contain an allergen. If you are making it a point to appeal to consumers with a more allergen-friendly menu, then you have a serious issue at hand.


Numbers do not lie. That is the beautiful thing about data, it’s math. What you may or may not know is that each component of an ingredient contains a number value. Let’s use calories for an example. Each gram of protein contains 4 calories, a gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories and each gram of fat contains 9 calories. So if a menu item has 400 calories, and contains 20g of fat, 180 of the 400 calories in that dish are coming from fat. The caloric value of a dish is based on how many carbs, protein and fat it contains and then those numbers add up. Using that same fat example, if you have a dish that has 20 grams of fat but the caloric value is only coming out to be 160 calories for the whole dish, something isn’t adding up.

Now some recipe databases include a feature that will intuitively seek out these sorts of errors (it’s ours, we’re that recipe database, did you sign up yet?) but some don’t. And at the very least you should have the option to pull reports to check for accuracy and review historical changes. The data in your menu recipes are the foundation for everything from costing to purchasing, POS system use, and menu categorization. And this all hinges on one thing: Accuracy.

If you can’t rely on your recipe database, how can you be accurate?


There’s no way around it, we’re passionate about what we do. We are the most accurate nutrition analysis and recipe database platform in the industry. Rely on us to solve your pain points, it’s kinda what keeps us going. Contact us today for more information.

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