Use Portion Controls to Cut Food Cost

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Food Costs, SMART Systems, Video Blog

You’ve heard portion controls cut food cost, but you’re not sure how to enforce them in the kitchen. Or maybe you’re not sure how to explain to your kitchen manager or chef that portion controls ensure food cost doesn’t get out of hand. Watch this video or read below to learn how to effectively use portion controls in your restaurant.

Let’s say following the recipe costing cards, knowing your menu mix and what your customers actually purchase, you can figure out your ideal food cost – assuming you have no waste or theft or spoilage (which there is always a little of this). Then let’s say you’re having a hard time hitting that target, even though all the other pieces are in place. Look to your portioning because even over portioning by as little as 10% can throw your food cost off.

Yes, food costs are always rising. But if you have the proper systems in place, such as recipe costing cards, you can absorb those costs. Stop screaming at your food distributor for your out-of-control food costs. Instead, get a mirror. Part of your food cost problem is you!

It’s time to clean up the processes in the kitchen. It’s time to use food portioning systems.

Here is why food portioning is important. If you run a 30 percent food cost and over portion by 10 percent, you will raise your food cost to 33 percent.

If you’re using recipe costing cards, but your kitchen isn’t following them – using 6 ounce portions when the recipe calls for 4 ounces – you’re losing money. If you aren’t holding everyone accountable to the recipe costing cards, you’re losing money, I guarantee it!

  • Some examples of portioning techniques:
    Always use measuring cups and understand that eight fluid ounces is not the same as eight ounces by weight.
  • Make sure to always have a properly calibrated scale. A pound of butter will register 16 ounces if your scale is working properly.
  • Reusable plastic deli cups are great for stacking and they’re waterproof, so you can use them to portion fish.
  • Use standardized vessels if you are portioning on the fly.

Do some portion testing with the staff. Make the dish you are questioning in three different sizes, if the larger portion is the way to go for the dish, just price accordingly. Avoid cutting back on those dishes that the staff feel should be bigger; they will just make it bigger when you are not looking.

Just like with any system, you have to make sure portion controls are being followed. Hold your managers and your kitchen accountable. It’s the only way to control your food costs.

If you would like to learn more systems like portion controls to cut food cost in your restaurant, 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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