Minimizing Food Costs: Menu Modification

As we discussed in our last blog post, assessing food costs in your restaurant can ultimately contribute to your bottom line, and in a big way. One of the biggest contributors to restaurant expenses is food, which is why we’re going to explore how to modify the menu to make more use of the ingredients you have. Before reading on, ensure your operation is secured with an Indianapolis Restaurant Insurance program.

Minimize food waste.

Rather than take the prime cuts of beef or chicken and tossing the rest, consider getting creative with the scraps. For example, you can make a stock with the leftover scraps of vegetables and proteins. Or, you can feature lesser known cuts of meat on the menu to balance costs.

Further, staff members can be trained on utilizing products quickly that have a short shelf life and ensuring the portion sizes are fair to reduce waste.

Portion sizes.

Reasonable portion size reduces food waste and is an essential component to menu modification. For example, training staff to know that one ounce—not two—of duck prosciutto goes on the plate or that each portion of salmon fillet should be four ounces and not any more, can make the difference to meet a food cost target, order the right quantities, not raise menu prices, and potentially have a profitable restaurant—not to mention a consistent dish for your patrons, explains Zach Allen, who heads up the kitchens of all three of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s Las Vegas outposts to Star Chefs.

Consistency and training across the board, and even minimizing portions that seem to go uneaten, can keep more money in your pocket.

Menu planning.

The best chefs know that quality ingredients and stunning dishes are what people crave. However, a poorly planned menu will not reap benefits for the restaurant. Focus on balancing high priced items with low priced items so that the dish balances out and you can charge a reasonable price.

Be smart about ordering.

Get a handle on exactly what you’re ordering, how much of each, and how each ingredient will be used. Being thoughtful about your purchase orders can not only save you cash, but will save you money in the long run from reducing scraps and waste. Next, try ordering items that are in season only.

Restaurant owners and chefs can keep an accurate inventory of their kitchens in order to make data-driven decisions.

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