Better Portioning Means a Better Restaurant
Product portioning is one of the most important activities in any restaurant. It effects your guests' experience, food quality and food cost.
When someone receives a smaller filet than the person across the table or a down-sized serving of pasta is served when generous portions are the norm, customers usually notice and their mood goes down.
During the preparation process, inaccurate quantities of ingredients in recipes can alter the food's flavor and texture. Have you ever heard a regular ask, "what have you done to the pomodoro sauce?"
Then there is the issue of food cost. Consistently overportioning a $6.00 per pound product just half an ounce adds almost 19 cents to the serving cost. Say you serve 100 a day, that's $133 lost per week or almost $7,000 in a year and that's with just ONE product!
Anything you can do to help your staff do a better job of portioning is usually money well spent. Does your staff have the appropriate sized cups, scoops, ladles and other measuring devises at their disposal and are they consistently using the correct ones?
Technological advances in scales and slicing equipment keeps making it easier for employees to portion products faster and with much greater accuracy. The newest digital scales are portable, easy to read, have automatic counting functions and can be equipped with push button or hands free tare capabilities ( which allows for zeroing out the weight of containers or individual ingredients).
Also, never expect what you don't inspect. One sharp operator I know has a habit of pulling one item off the line each shift and weighing the key ingredients. If something's not right, he addresses the issue immediately with his kitchen staff. He says that this one practice, more than any other, helps him control portion sizes and keep his food cost in line.
How's your portioning? Any improvement in this area should result in happier guests, lower food cost and a healthier bottom line.