Mark Kelnhofer

Mark Kelnhofer, President and CEO of Return On Ingredients® LLC, is an international speaker and author on recipe costing and menu engineering.

Photo of Mark Kelnhofer

Mark Kelnhofer, President and CEO of Return On Ingredients® LLC, is an international speaker and author on recipe costing and menu engineering. He has more than 25 years of experience in bottom line-boosting accounting. After graduating from Ohio Dominican University with his undergraduate degree (1993) he immediately went into manufacturing accounting. He spent eight years in a variety of industries including plastic injection molding, lighting equipment, transit buses, and tire repair products.


In 2002, Mark was brought into the Bravo/Brio Restaurant Group (NASDAQ:BBRG) to implement a cost control system based principles learned from his past industry experience. After implementation, BBRG experienced five consecutive years of cost reductions resulting in millions of dollars in savings. Mark started Return On Ingredients® LLC in January 2009 based on those same principles including accurate recipe documentation and costing, effective menu engineering, and process improvements.


The Return On Ingredients® methodology is proven to mitigate loss and increase profits. He spent 25 years in managerial cost accounting refining his methods including more than a decade in restaurant cost management. When these two areas of expertise are combined, his one-of-a-kind methodology was born. Return On Ingredients® is a leading management consulting company servicing the restaurant industry in accurate recipe costing, effective menu engineering, benchmarking and improving the overall profitability and efficiency of the operations.

In 2012, Mark started Restaurant Institute LLC, an hospitality education company. Restaurant Institute is a publisher of several books related to the hospitality industry including two of Mark's: Return On Ingredients and The Culinary Pocket Resource of Yields, Weights, Densities, and Measures. In 2016, Restaurant Institute launched an annual conference: the Food, Beverage, & Labor Cost Management Summit. In 2021 will celebrate their fifth year of the conference where Georgetown University will be the host location on Monday, 04/21/2021. In 2018, Restaurant Institute launched their own quarterly publication: [ FB&L ] Food, Beverage, & Labor Cost Control Quarterly which features articles written by various industry professionals in addition to culinary measurements and a hospitality technology section.

Mark holds a Masters in Business Administration (2005) and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Accounting and Business Administration (1993) from Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio. Mark is an international speaker addressing over 120 different tradeshows, expos, and events in the United States and Canada. Mark also is currently a Lecturer for The Ohio State University and Adjunct Faculty at Georgetown University instructing food, beverage, & labor cost controls. He also sits on several hospitality advisory boards including Ohio University (Athens, Ohio) and Hocking College (Nelsonville, Ohio). He has published articles in industry publications including Catering, Foodservice Equipment and Supplies, FSR, Today’s Restaurant News, Entrepreneurial Chef, Food Business Puerto Rico, and Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional. He is also the author of The Culinary Pocket Resource of Yields, Weights, Densities & Measures and Return On Ingredients: Controlling Food & Beverage Costs To Improve Efficiencies & Profits! In 2018, he launched a industry periodical titled [ FB&L ] Food, Beverage, and Labor Cost Control Quarterly.

Education & Certifications:

ServSafe Manager, Expires 10/2025, National Restaurant Association (NRA), Chicago, IL

Certified Bourbon Steward, 2020, Stave & Thief Society, Louisville, KY

Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA), 2019, Tourism Ambassador Institute

ServSafe Alcohol, Expires 08/2022, National Restaurant Association (NRA), Chicago, IL

Certified Food and Beverage Executive (CFBE), 2017, American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), Orlando, FL

Masters of Business Administration (MBA), 2005, Ohio Dominican University, Columbus, OH

Bachelor of Arts (BA), 1993, Ohio Dominican College, Columbus, OH, Majors: Accounting and Business Administration