Creating standardized recipes is a good way to maintain consistency and keep costs down.
It’s all about consistency. This is an essential part of food production and ensures that you meet food cost targets and maximize profit. Creating standardized recipes and maintaining consistency is easier said than done. Here’s a practical example from Canada in January! Working for a large hotel chain in Canada, our convention center routinely hosted large events. So here’s the deal. At one dinner function one of the garnishes on the dinner plate was three cherry tomatoes. This was what the menu was designed for and costed at. A couple of overly enthusiastic employees used four or five tomatoes to ‘make it look better.’ Well no big deal, it’s just a couple of cherry tomatoes. This particular dinner function was for 5,500 people, which meant that at least an extra 5,500, probably closer to 8,000 tomatoes were used, at a cost of $55 a case in the cold Canadian winter! And only a 70% yield, meaning up to 30 percent waste. The over-zealousness of the employees added a cost of over $2,200 on this one occasion alone! This is just one example where well-meaning staff can have a negative effect on food cost, and in this case, more was consumed then what was legitimately sold! Without a process in place to monitor consumption compared to the amount sold, you may be at risk of having a much higher food cost than what you planned, resulting in a lower profit margin.
Don’t let this scenario literally eat away at your profits! Review your menus and the portion sizes allocated to your targeted food cost. At the end of the day, it’s all about consistency, portion control and staff training. Do you see any discrepancies in your kitchen? Sometimes staff members feel the portion sizes are too “skimpy” and add an additional amount to make it look “better.” Is this happening to you? It’s even worse if employees add additional items in expectation of higher tips! Spend some time during service a couple of times a week (or more if possible) and watch what comes out of the kitchen. How do your menu specifications compare with what the guest is presented with? Not only does consistency impact your ability to maximize profit, it also speaks to the level of consistency your customers come to expect. Remember that having standards is a good thing, but only when they are properly enforced!
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Mike has worked across Canada as a food and beverage professional and currently divides his time between writing and teaching people how to start and run their own businesses.