My Library and Courses
Last Update: Monday September 20, 2021

Key Idea: Implement Cost Accounting

Cindy McEntee turned her grandmother's hobby into a real business by asking how much they were paying for clams. Mo didn't know and apparently didn't care. 

Key Question:


Figure out what it costs you to deliver a product or service.  This wasn't happening when Cindy started to learn about the business.  Her grandmother, Mo, was having fun feeding her friends and the fishermen. She merely paid whatever she had to pay for all the ingredients needed to cook up what ever she was cooking that day.

Q: Does a small business need a cost accounting system?

A: You bet!  A lemonade stand needs a cost accounting system. It doesn’t have to be fancy but if you don’t know what your costs are, how can you price your product or service? And if you can’t price your product or service profitably AND competitively, you probably shouldn’t be in the business you are in. Cindy, with no formal training, put cost accounting in place. It’s not rocket science. There are your raw material and labor costs and your overhead expenses. Each sale has to cover its raw material and labor (direct) costs, contribute to the overhead (indirect) costs of rent, insurance, utilities, etc., and contribute to the bottom line profit.

Think about it

Do you know what your costs are? Are you satisfied that your pricing strategy is appropriate within your market? Don't be afraid of your numbers. Learn how to benchmark, find a favorite key ratio and follow it closely.

Clip from: Mos Chowder

Newport, Oregon: Cindy McEntee came to our attention because she was the state of Oregon's Small Business Person of the Year. Then, when we looked further, we found many more awards and citations. To be selected as the study for a show, a business must come up on everyone's list as being " ... loved by their community and respected within their industry."

In this episode of the show, we continue our walk down the Main Streets of America to see how one person with a vision has transformed the town where she was born and where she has chosen to stay. Life here is so rich with the intangibles that even her children have returned to this little seaport town and are helping to build the business and family legacy.

From a little joint on a narrow little street to the big White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, we discover how a fisherman's hangout becomes a national treasure.

Go to all the key ideas and video of the episode...
Go to all the homepage for this episode...

Mo's Chowder

Mo's Chowder, A family

622 SW Bay Blvd.
Newport, OR 97365

Visit our web site:

Office: 541-265-2979

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1951

Implement Cost Accounting

HATTIE: Cindy's grandmother, Mo, opened a 24-hour diner on the waterfront in 1951. Since 1975 Cindy has been the force for growth.

CINDY: When she started this restaurant, it wasn't the same type. I mean, our whole lives were different.

HATTIE: What do you mean?

CINDY: Well, this waterfront was full of longshoreman and fisherman and there was no tourism.

HATTIE: And it was 24-hour -

CINDY: It was 24-hours cafe. And so our focus was a little different.

You know, we worked out of the till.

If you had money in the till at the end of the night – you made money. I mean, it was different then.

HATTIE: When did you have that "ah-ha" that you had to get your handle on the financials?

CINDY: I was probably 22. It was just the questions in my mind, I just -- I needed to know. I thought it was so loosely wrapped. Basically, my grandmother's whole management style was very loose, it was kind of -- carefree. It just didn't give me the answers I needed. And without her need to know the answers, I thought -- well, it is not going to disrupt anything. I can do these at home at night and it won't disturb her way of doing what we do here. Everyday you stand in the kitchen – I was the cook. And there is a line out the door the entire time that I am working. "Is this money going to stay with us? Are we paying for the goods that we are buying? Are we going across the street and buying one can of crab for $45 or are we getting a whole case that makes it $30 a can? You know, what are we doing here?"

Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!