One of the toughest aspects of managing a restaurant is getting the right amount of stock for your kitchen. Too little might mean not being able to serve certain dishes and too much will mean wastage and consequently, losses. Calculating how much it costs to make a particular dish is tedious and tricky. Most recipes require over a dozen ingredients and most food materials have an ever-fluctuating price in the market.
The best way to be ahead of these wavering, inconsistent food costs in your restaurant is to implement portion control. That is, to control your portion sizes to streamline your stock purchases. Here are a few measures you can take to help you master portion control within your own restaurant.
Buy with Contracted Pricing
A good place to start on your portion control efforts is contract pricing. This includes yearly price freezing contracts thatyour restaurant business can do with suppliers for particular food items. This helps in maintaining food costs, even if the price of the items fluctuates in the market, keeping you one step ahead of any nasty costing surprises from your suppliers. It will also help you plan menus and dishes better as you will know exactly how much a particular ingredient will set you back.
Made to Measure
Every dish on the menu in your establishment must have a consistent, fixed portion size to keep ingredient cost in check. This is also a helpful way to ensure consistency in plating up dishes during every shift. Each food item on the plate should have a definite portion size that does not waver, no matter who is cooking and plating up. For example, if an entrée consists of masala dosa, sambar and coconut chutney, to streamline your portion sizes, you should organize your entrée like this; one dosa stuffed with 1 cup of bhaji, one cup of sambar and two tablespoons of coconut chutney. No matter who is cooking or plating up, the portion sizes will not change, making it easier for you to keep track of the food cost of each dish.
Understanding per portion costs and pricing accordingly
Once you establish fixed prices from your suppliers and streamline the portion sizes in your restaurant, the next step will become far easier – calculating per portion costs. Calculating the cost of making one cup of sambar, for example, can keep you aheadof the curve and help you anticipate daily costs of different dishes.
It will also help you carry out food cost analysis which will help you revisit your menu pricing in case any modifications are needed to make it more profitable. Each restaurant will have different price points, but it is important to figure out a price range that works for your restaurant keeping your locality, target market and type of food in mind.
The Torqus software offers a dish and recipe management moduleto calculate accurate and ideal stock consumption. This helps you keep a tab on the stock items used in a particular recipe. It also helps you calculate the ideal stock consumption in each scenario.
Ensure that your kitchen is consistent in their use of utensils. For example, make sure all the chefs use the same sort of ladle, to make measuring out your soup easier and more consistent. Using utensils which by themselves are a measure for the quantity that you want to serve is a convenient, fast and easy way to keep track of your portions and keep your portion sizes consistent for all your dishes. Ensure your employees get rid of the ‘free throw’ mentality – that is, throwing ingredients into the pan by instinct rather than by measure. This will help you save some serious expenditures in the long run. You can start off small by purchasing a digital weighing scale as well as cups with ounce gradations.
Audit your stock:
Revisiting you finances, especially where your stock and inventory is concerned is always a good idea. Doing constant audits of your stock on a recurring basis will help you stay ahead of unnecessary price increases as well as help you figure out better ways of managing your stock. If you notice any discrepancies, taking action sooner rather than later will help avoid some losses in the future. Running a restaurant is all about effective inventory management, and regular audits and stock-taking will help you be on top of your stock.
Regular auditing can also help you predict how much stock you need for the future more effectively. This will help you make sure that you do not buy excess stock that gets wasted or expires. Similarly, you can avoid buying less stock such that it gets over and you are unable to cook and serve certain dishes in your restaurant.