Controlling the Costs
With costs of ingredients and levels of waste both increasing, portion control is an important way for food outlets to manage their costs – while helping customers to manage the quantity they eat.
According to WRAP, an organisation which helps businesses reduce waste, the hospitality and foodservice sectors produce around 0.9 million tonnes of food waste per year. At a time when all food outlets are looking to reduce costs, careful control of the amount of food you serve to every customer could make you some serious savings – especially during the busy festive season.
Portion control is important because:
• It keeps food costs in check
• It reduces the amount of food waste
• It keeps plates consistent for every customer
• It helps customers control their diet
The size of portion you serve may depend on the type of establishment (for example family friendly pubs will usually serve larger portions than fine dining restaurants) and the quality of food (better quality ingredients often produce more portions).
Costs under control
Better portion control can save food outlets hundreds – or even thousands – of pounds every year. The cost saved simply by reducing the amount that is served on each plate can quickly add up if that dish is served many times each day. For example, by reducing the amount of chips served per plate by a monetary value of 5p, a restaurant serving 100 plates of food (including chips), per week, will save £260 a year. As chips are one of the items that a customer is likely to waste, it makes for a quick and easy portion control saving.
Audit your waste
For two weeks take note of what waste returns to the kitchen when the plates are being scraped. If garnishes such as salad or coleslaw keep returning then why not ask your customers if they actually want a garnish? If a regular meal, such as cottage pie, keeps returning with a quarter still left on the plate then why not reduce the size of portion or even do a survey with your customers asking if your portion sizes are too big? Instead of just serving a dish with chips and salad for example, when ordering ask the customer if they actually want both or either of them? By getting your customers to tell you what they want it’s a win-win situation; they are happy and you reduce your waste – saving you money in the long run.
Tips for controlling portion size
• Be aware of the different qualities of products available and the difference this can make to portion control
• Save kitchen labour and waste by buying in pre-prepared ingredients such as diced chicken
• Keep portion sizes consistent or offer different sizes to suit the customer
• When you can, order by number or weigh