Just as individuals are conscious of the food portions they consume, restaurant owners need to be conscious about portion sizes leaving the kitchen. Yes, food cost must be controlled under a tight ship, and the only way this can be done is through proper portioning. Sloppy portioning techniques will hurt the restaurant image in terms of your guests dining experience, along with quality of food, cost of food and how much profit you make. Every shift must keep restaurant portions consistent with the menu. Streamlining portion sizes, no matter who is on kitchen duty shouldn’t waver, ever.
Remember, customers rarely complain about being served too much. They will, however, complain about being served too little. This is especially true if the menu price hasn’t changed. For example, if a customer is expecting six ounce cup of boneless chicken, they would not be happy getting a four ounce cup instead. Then you have to consider food costs. Let’s say you offer clam chowder of 10 oz at $4. This means an ounce equals .40 cents. Your restaurant serves it 5 times per day, including lunch and dinner. Say during two shifts your kitchen staff adds an extra ounce using the wrong ladle. Uncharged chowder on that day equals $2. Now this may not seem a lot per day in terms of food cost. But, if it takes place every day, you have uncharged chowder amounting to $730. This is loss of money, unless you keep portions aligned with food costs.
How can restaurant staff control the portions?
Technology has advanced greatly and with it so has portioning equipment. Staff can portion product quicker and with greater precision with the latest slicing equipment and scales. The equipment is portable with automatic counting functions, easy to read and even have hands-free push buttons and capabilities.
Restaurant staff, however, needs to be trained to use correct utensils and dishes. You can also list down every menu item, breaking it down in a chart. For example, an appetizer is served with 4 mozzarella sticks, 3 cherry tomatoes with a salad, and 2 slices of cheese with a burgher and so on. Use same size serving spoons, scoops, cups, ladles and baggies consistently and commercial kitchen scales that are ideal for weighing cheeses and deli meats.
Also, don’t forget to inspect. Unless you don’t, how can you know what to expect. There’s an operator that is known to pull in an item per shift, to weight the key ingredients in front of the kitchen staff to make certain they have got it right. The sharpness on the part of this operator will certainly keep food portions and cost just right.
Keeping food portions at the correct size is not just about controlling food costs; it is also about ensuring your customers receive proper portions when they order their favourite meals.