Are you thinking of revising your menu?
Many Chefs and restaurateurs now are either tweaking or doing overhauls of their menus to
- retain the patronage of their loyal customers as they adapt to the “new normal” of the industry
- pique the interest of people who are looking for variety as ease and accessibility of pickups and delivery are evolving
- keep their businesses afloat
The restaurant industry continues to figure out what people will prefer to eat and expect on restaurant menus after this pandemic. However, the more pressing challenge that the industry faces now is survival. And survival takes shape in the form of profit.
How do you manage profit?
Manage your profit by controlling your costs and reducing wastage through cross-utilisation.
A not so original concept :
Cross-utilisation is the use of an ingredient across two or more menu items. For a Chef, this concept generally refers to using essential pantry items, to create new menu items or daily specials. Ingredients are used for one or two specific dishes for another dish or two where, perhaps, they are not expected, or are not usually used.
Here are some quick tips:
1. Do an Inventory Check
Regularly reviewing your inventory can help you find opportunities for cross-utilisation. When you identify which of your ingredients drive up costs, you’ll find that the main culprits are often the items that are used in only one or two dishes.
Through your inventory check, you will also find which items do you have in excess and need reduction. You can start from there. Have your Chef develop new recipes based on existing inventory.
RELATED READ: Optimise Your Inventory Game to Control Food Expenses
2. Choose versatile ingredients
Use fewer but versatile products to create multiple dishes. Meat and proteins are some of the most commonly cross-utilised items. Still, since more people are leaning towards plant-based recipes, Chefs are getting creative in innovating vegetarian dishes as well. Choose items that can be used at least twice.
Cross-utilisation applies not only to raw items but to prepared ingredients as well. Salad dressings, for example, can be considered as an excellent marinade. It can also be used as a dip or even serve as a pizza topping.
3. Explore other methods
Fermentation can make the most use of highly perishable items. You can also reclaim the lost value of parts not fit for an entrée portion by curing them.
One last tip:
When you revise your menu, describe your dishes in a way that you differentiate one from another. Use words that appeal to senses and create anticipation.
Check out this study on how menu descriptions influence customer attitude and increase sales.
As the current financial stress forces most food business operators to rethink their menus, the cross utilisation of menu items can help directly address your concerns on profit and wastage.
That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!
Ciao for now,