Recognize and Strategize
If a customer orders clam chowder, how much do you give him?
A generous single serving may not seem like a big deal. But if you multiply that one portion against all of the food an operation serves on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis, the question suddenly becomes vital. Food service operators can gain a real advantage by exploring the importance and methods of accurate portion control.
Calculate Your Costs
Food waste accounts for $30-$40 billion of loss each year in the commercial and retail industries*.
In conversations about scarcity of resources and rising food prices, there is one important piece that is often forgotten: conservation. Nearly ﬁfty percent of the food in the United States is wasted*. This may be a sad fact, but it also represents a remarkable opportunity for food service operators to take the helm in controlling their own costs, contributing to the environmental cause, and creating a buzz about their “green” operations.
“Consistently over-portioning a $6.00-per-pound product just half an ounce adds almost 19¢ to the serving cost. If you do that 100 times a day, you lose $133.00 a week or almost $7000.00 a year – and that’s just one product.”
Jim Laub – restaurantowner.com
THE OVER-PORTIONING ILLUSION
Perform the Ultimate Balancing Act
There is a tipping point at any meal where you’ve eaten just the right amount: any less, you would still be hungry, any more, your palate starts to become desensitized and the food tastes less and less appealing. Portion is a key issue every chef must consider in creating the perfect dining experience.
Restaurant portion sizes have doubled since the 1980s. Why? Operators have given in to the temptation to over-portion with the idea that they are adding value. But the truth is that too much food will actually leave the customer less comfortable and dull their palate, reducing their ﬁnal taste experience. If the food is good, it doesn't need a gimmick like over-portioning to get customers to come back.
It may feel like a leap of faith to drop the over-portioning crutch, but leveraged correctly it can save operators an enormous amount of money, create more satisﬁed customers, and do a much-needed service to the environment. Win, win, win.
TOOLS TO TAKE CONTROL
Jump Start Your Portion Control Program
Vollrath's broad line of portion control products features a color-coding system with speciﬁc colors to denote each utensil's capacity. This makes it easy even for kitchens with language barriers to create a rock-solid portion control program.
Vollrath products are manufactured according to rigid speciﬁcations to insure consistency, and are durable enough to start your portion control program smoothly – and keep it that way for a long time running.
*Source: Environmental Protection Agency web site (www.epa.gov)