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The Importance of Portion Control

Our restaurant consultants are advocates for portion control--and it's not just for your health.

By Sarah Ann Noel - April 16, 2018

There is always a lot of discussion about portion control in restaurants across America. With good reason: In New York City, you can get a pizza slice as big as your face. Los Angeles has destination burger joints with sandwiches a foot high. And in Nashville and Kansas City, you don't have to look far to find an all-you-can-eat BBQ special. Americans are obsessed with more, more, more, and it's a craze that is causing the more health-concious of diners to pay attention.

But our restaurant consultants say it's not just the diners that need to watch out. If you're a restaurant owner, portion control can mean a big deal for your costs and profits. 

Restaurant consultant Jared Flowers says, "When we go onsite for an Operations Analysis, we often can see a consistency issues with food and bar costs." In menu development, prices for dishes should be set based on the costs to make a certain portion size. "We'll see that at some point, proper plate costs were figured," Flowers explains; but slight, seemingly insignificant alterations can throw those numbers out of whack.

It's all in the details, Flowers says. "It's the specific portions that are on the plates. But then you also have to watch the operations. Are bartenders making drinks without jiggers? Are cooks building food without the proper tools? It's impossible to remain consistent if you have multiple people making plates and drinks without proper tools."

In a recent Pizza Today article called "Portion Theory", there is a convincing case made for a cup system or the weight system--and it's for exactly this concern. The article specifically addresses portion controlling cheese, a high-budget item that can quickly drain money if not measured properly. 

"Measuring is why large chain restaurants are so successful," Flowers mentions. "They have a system and tool for every task." Yep, that even includes cheese.

Often when addressing the operations of a restaurant, these details--like weighing cheese by the gram or scooping guacamole with a specifically-sized spoon--can seem unimportant or even comical. (Oh yes, we've seen the guacamole memes.) But in business, the money is in the details.

"While it is often inconvenient, a portioning system is one of the most important to adopt if you want to grow and be profitable," says Flowers.

Our restaurant consultants are experts at stopping the money drain, and it's thanks to the little details like portioning. If you have a question about our Operations Analysis or if you want to find out how to hang on to more of your money, contact a restaurant consultant today.

Photo by Edward Guk on Unsplash