The key to saving time and labour while improving your profits, is to fast-forward your flavours.
Here are some of MasterFoods’ top tips to ramping up the taste and efficiency of your meals, without sacrificing your margin.
1. Buy in, or DIY?
Speeding up prep and cooking time by buying in certain ingredients will have a profound impact on the profitability of your venue. When you are evaluating whether to buy a pre-prepped ingredient, or make it yourself, consider how much time and skilled labour you have available. It’s crucial to analyse the cost differential, including wages, of both. For example, calculate how much you will have to spend on labour to have someone prepare a chicken schnitzel, compared to buying it premade.
You can also save on time and labour by sourcing flavour shortcuts, such as seasonings or marinades. As well as enhancing the taste of your meals, flavour shortcuts will help minimise the number of ingredients you need to stock, while at the same time reducing food safety risks.
2. Batch cook and optimise prep
Batch cooking can dramatically increase the number of meals your kitchen can turn around during service time, along with your profits. By doubling or tripling your batch during prep time, you can reduce how long you need to spend prepping, without affecting flavour. This means you not only save on labour costs, but you can devote your time to other, more valuable tasks.
It’s important to be smart when batch cooking – always be sure to use the meals within four days so there isn’t an appreciable difference in flavour.
3. Implement an accurate recipe program
One of the most common mistakes some chefs make is underestimating the importance of sticking to a recipe program. An accurate recipe program will make your flavours and financial forecasts more reliable. When your carefully calculated portion sizes begin to slip, your profits will too.
The trick to safeguarding your profits is to make it easy for staff to get portion sizes right. This means providing the right sized utensils for each ingredient. If a recipe program calls for one cup of mashed potato, take out the guesswork by having the one cup measuring spoon on hand.
4. Put your kitchen to work
Create more efficient, flavoursome meals by getting the most out of your equipment and using trusted recipe-tested products. Consider ways to work equipment harder, such as operating combi ovens or other tools outside of regular kitchen hours. This will take the pressure off prep time, as well as amplify your flavours.
Another way to get value out of your kitchen is by stocking versatile ingredients. Look for marinades, spices and sauces that can be used across multiple dishes and that can come together to create new variations. By crafting new and exciting combinations, you are not only maximising your flavour options, but increasing your overall productivity.
For more helpful tips and tricks, download MasterFoods’ rogue magazine here.