Sponsored by Anchor Food Professionals
It’s hard to run a food-based business when the economy is in flux, and every generation of consumers seems to want something different. Change is inevitable in our industry, and those who are flexible and nimble seem to beat the odds when it comes to improving the bottom line.
It’s understandable that many chefs (and owners) have their “holy grail” products that they don’t want to mess with. Taste and consistency are imperative to maintain reputation – especially with today’s always-on, social sharing consumers. Fortunately, there is a growing trend of high quality convenience products, making preparation easier and giving you new ways to manage costs.
Serve More with What You’ve Got – and Use it All
No business owner likes to walk into the back and see case after case of product about to expire. Sometimes balancing packaged and fresh ingredients based on expected turnover just doesn’t pan out. But, now there are newer pre-made, pre-reduced and pre-portioned products that can help manage inventory, decrease waste and get a higher yield per ounce from pan to plate.
Try using a pre-made broth. Consumers are buying it like crazy – from the promised health and diet benefits to the convenience of having broth or stock on hand for their own meals at home. So why not do the same? Many pre-made broth/stock products are made with the same great ingredients you use, but save you hours in the kitchen.
Serve a lot of cream-based dishes? Reducing conventional cream takes time and you can lose up to 40% of the volume – so you’re not using two-thirds of what you paid for. That’s just counterintuitive to making a profit. High quality creams, at an already reduced consistency, are available and perform beautifully while providing nearly 100% yield. Once brought to temp, these creams are ready to serve. They also remain stable over time, so they can sit on a hot table or bain-marie and maintain a creamy consistency.
Smarter Ingredients Require Less Attention
When you don’t have to worry about perfectly seasoning your stock or reducing your cream sauce consistently, you can hire more staff members with less experience. This also gives you more time to pick your battles – to focus on the big stuff like cooking your proteins perfectly. Fail-proof products mean less production time and more tables turned. Using products like liquid eggs means no breakage, no eggs on the floor, faster prep and reduced labor.
We hear it all the time – different staff means different methods and different results. Take cream reduction for sauces, soups and more. One cook reduces too much, one not enough, resulting in lack of consistency for the same dish… so your customer who loved it last week will send it back this week. Your reputation takes a ding on social media every time a dish looks or tastes wrong because of prep inconsistencies.
Control What You Can on Social Media
Great social media is both cost effective and good for business. Bad social media can do the exact opposite. Taking control of the variables you can control is a great way to expand your “advertising” without spending money on actual ad space.
How do you create raving fans and get great social posts from your customers? Make sure you serve consistently great tasting food that looks amazing and is well-plated. Make sure the lighting and ambiance front-of-house is conducive to taking attractive photos. And finally, make sure to keep innovating and experimenting with new flavors to bring new options to your customers, because they won’t post if there’s nothing new.
Focus on Take-Out and Delivery
With expanded options to get food to their doorsteps, consumers are eating restaurant food at home more than ever. Controlling the look and taste of your food gets even more difficult with delivery or take-out. You need to think about how to maintain the quality of your food so that it looks just as good leaving your kitchen as it does when it gets to the consumer’s table. One way to tackle this is to use ingredients that hold their own. For instance, a stable cooking cream that holds up over time and won’t split or curdle will make sure your great-looking pasta is still creamy and delicious when it gets to someone’s door.
With so many factors to consider in your busy kitchen, finding easier ways to reduce prep time and still serve great food is a challenge. But, today’s innovative food service companies are on your side, providing more and more ways to save money, time and your reputation.