Ask anyone what they love about their favorite restaurant and you’ll likely hear something similar to this:
“I’ve never had better lasagna.”
“Their nachos are the best in town.”
Your recipes are the cornerstone of your restaurant. That, along with your atmosphere and customer service, are what keep guests coming back for more. Recipe management, development, and adjustment are crucial not only for customer satisfaction, but also on your bottom line.
Here are 5 tips that can ensure quality and control costs for the best recipe results.
1. Research and Specify Ingredients
Are there ingredients in your recipes that come in different ‘grades’? For example, do you buy No. 1 grade avocados for your guacamole recipe? The difference between a No. 1 grade and No. 2 grade avocado has mainly to do with how blemished the outer skin is. If you’re using it for a recipe where the outer skin makes no difference to the final product, you can control costs by ordering the less expensive grade.
2. Adjust Portion Sizes
In the beginning stages, most recipes are a guessing game. You don’t know how your guests will react to the new dish until you put it in front of them. Make sure everyone in your restaurant keeps an eye on new recipes and how they’re received. Gather feedback from guests about new menu items. This will contribute to a successful rollout, and that high-touch moment is an opportunity to increase the number of repeat guests.
Do you notice guests leaving large portions of their meals uneaten? Monitoring the amount of take-home containers used can help decide if the portion sizes need to be altered to reduce waste, or at least reduce cost of goods. Are diners cleaning their plates and asking for more bread? Perhaps your portions aren’t large enough.
Consistently manage the portions. Portions that are not made according to specifications can eat up your cost of goods. Taking the time to revisit the portions and regularly reset staff expectations helps manage guest expectations too. Recipe management software like Decision Logic offers tools to maximize your profits in these areas.
3. Update All Staff of Changes
As recipes are tweaked, it’s imperative that everyone from the prep team to the line cooks to the servers have access to the latest changes. Even the smallest adjustment could have big consequences if not communicated correctly. Brand consistency from location to location is vital to fulfilling customer expectations. Customers want to have the experience they’ve come to expect from your brand. Consider using software that updates recipes down to ingredient-level measurements to all staff members, in all locations, on all devices, ensuring consistency and cost control.
4. Welcome Feedback
Those who develop the recipes aren’t always the ones who get the best feedback on them. For example, your prep staff could notice that a new recipe presents a problem in their department. Your servers could also notice diners are consistently salting the new dish after tasting it. Make sure management encourages feedback from all levels, especially on new recipes.
5. Phase in New Recipes
Learning every recipe on the menu is not an easy process. The more familiar your staff is with the menu, the more efficient and consistent they are in preparation. That’s why introducing significant menu changes at the same time can throw a kitchen into frenzy. Consider phasing in new recipes slowly so staff can get familiar with them before the next change comes along. Timing this menu change with trending sales is also crucial. Rolling out a new menu during peak seasonal traffic can be a recipe for disaster (see what we did there?).
Proper recipe management can save you and your restaurant operations team time and money and keep your customers coming back for their favorite dish again and again.
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