Comp vs Void: What’s the Difference?

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Food Costs, Increase sales

Comp vs void is an important distinction for restaurants and will impact your food cost. Watch this video to learn the difference between a comp vs void and why they’re used incorrectly all the time.

Too many times people in restaurants use the terms comp and void interchangeably and the intention of what the action is becomes unclear. Restaurant employees just end up selecting whichever one they like the best, not caring what the impact is on the business. More often than not, they’re being used incorrectly.

Comp vs void defined

A void is an item that wasn’t made, wasn’t delivered and shouldn’t have been on the ticket. (two hamburgers instead of one)

A comp is an item that was rung up on purpose, made on purpose, delivered on purpose and maybe it’s a free meal because you love the customer and says, “Hey man, let me buy your dinner.” Or someone hated their meal and you decide not to charge them. It still shows up on the ticket, but the dollar value charged is $0.

I see one mistake a lot. Confusion over whether to void an item or comp it.

Comps are items or discounts taken off the bill on products that are actually delivered to the table. Items that are not made and taken off the bill are voids.

Why it matters

So why is it so important to understand the difference between a comp vs void? Because how you book gross sales, comps and voids affect so many other calculations in your operation that are necessary to run profitably. If you do it incorrectly, you are making decisions based on faulty intelligence, ultimately making bad decisions that will cost you money.

Think about it this way: If you are voiding items that are delivered to the customer instead of recording them as a comp, you will reduce your gross food sales. These voids make it so that the sale never happened.

By reducing your gross food sales, your food cost calculation will show that more food left the shelves without a sale. This will have the same effect as wasted or stolen products, depleted inventory with higher food cost.

The kitchen runs on recipe costing cards that say if you sell an item at the price set in the menu, and they follow that recipe to a “T,” with no waste, no theft and no spoilage, they will run an ideal food cost percentage based on item-by-item sales mix.

If you void food sales that have been delivered to the guest, rather than comp them, and the sales amount does not show up in gross food sales, it will look like the kitchen manager or chef isn’t controlling costs.

The same is true if you record the sales in the gross food sales category AFTER the comp amount has been removed. In the case of a 50-percent-off coupon, the result will be doubling that recipe’s cost of goods sold percentage.

This too will look like the kitchen manager or chef isn’t controlling costs.

If you would like to learn more about things like comp vs void and how to lower your food cost, read our free special report, Breaking Away from the Insanity: How to easily take control of your restaurant and make more money. Download it here. Be sure to visit our YouTube channel for more helpful restaurant management video tips. 

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