How often do you have an issue with the portion size in a restaurant? Do you leave saying “the meal was great but there wasn’t an awful lot of it” or do you leave saying, “great meal but I couldn’t eat it all”? Portion size is critical and one of the main reasons that franchised chain restaurants are so successful is because they have strict policies on portion control. Whether you go into a KFC or a Nando’s you will be served the same food in exactly the same portion size and the customers like that, they know they can go in there and be served the same food, in the same quantity every time. By streamlining their portion sizes the larger franchises secure regular customers and a healthy profit margin. If you own a smaller independent restaurant, portion control is even more important factor in your business
Setting the portions!! – In the same way that we as individuals need to watch our portions sizes and what we eat, restaurant owners/chefs need to monitor the portion sizes coming out of the kitchen. Every item on the menu should have a controlled portion size in order to keep your food costs in line with budgets. Portion control is also important for making sure your menu is consistent for every shift, it will not sit well with customers if they receive a huge portion of a favourite meal one day and a measly portion another, it will lead to complaints. So say you offer a starter of deep fried brie, with cranberry sauce and a side salad. To ensure your portion sizes are consistent, the starter is broken down into: three pieces of brie, a saucer of mixed salad leaves and a tablespoon of cranberry sauce, so every time this meal leaves the kitchen it is consistent, whoever prepared or cooks it knows that this is how it must leave the kitchen, and that this is the portion size it must be.
The importance of Portion Control! – Can you imagine how annoyed a customer would be if they ordered the deep fried brie starter and instead of getting the three pieces of brie, they received two pieces but the pieces were slightly larger, they would probably be the same in weight, but the customer would know that last time he got three and this time he only got two pieces. People rarely complain about getting too much food, they might tell you it was lovely but they couldn’t eat it all, but they certainly notice if you are giving less, especially if price is the same. Portion control also helps you maintain your food costs and budgets, which will lead to overall profits. Say for example you offer a bowl of French onion soup for £4.00 and the price is based on a 10 oz. ladle of soup per bowl. That equals .40p an ounce. So… if five times each day, during the lunch and dinner rush, your kitchen staff use the wrong ladle and overfills a bowl by one ounce, that will equate to £2.00 a day in uncharged soup. This is not a massive loss, but if it happens every day, that adds up to £730 a year. So now imagine that happening consistently with all your menu items, across your entire menu, a piece of brie here, an extra table spoon of cranberry sauce, an extra ladle of soup, are you with me now? If you don’t keep your restaurant portions in line with your food costs, you will lose money.
So How Do I Control Restaurant Portions? Train your staff, to always use the correct serving utensils and dishes. Try setting up a chart in the kitchen breaking down every menu item, this will be helpful for new staff as well. List what goes with each menu item, 3 pieces of brie, saucer of salad and tablespoon of cranberry sauce with deep friend brie starter and so on. If you like you can try adding photographs which may help. But one of the biggest factors is pre packaged food, such as washed salads, chips, grated cheese etc. If your staff have to physically, cut up the salad in the morning and put it in cold water ready to use, or physically cut the chips, or grate the cheese, they will be far more careful with portion sizes knowing that if they give too much they will physically have to do the work the create more product to use!!
By controlling restaurant portions, you not only keep your food cost in line, you maximise your profits and ensure that customers will receive consistency when they order their favourite meal. If you would like to know how Bites to Banquets Hospitality Consultancy can help your business please feel free to call us on 01529 410522 or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org