Tough Times Call for Smart Measures Part 2

16 Oct

Part two of our “Tough Times Call for Smart Measures” series. Refer to our previous blog post for Part 1.

Use it, Then Use it Again

Having a plan for the food you order means having a back-up plan and another back-up plan. There are many standard ways to get rid of your product, and it’s important to be familiar with all of them.

· Reuse it in a soup: It’s amazing how many chicken soups are out there. Seafood can go in any chowder and any red meat combines well with vegetables. Don’t hesitate to trot a soup out for a few days and treat it kindly overnight.
· Reuse it in a stock: Foodies know the difference between a homemade stock and an instant powder. Non-foodies might also know the difference without being able to articulate it. Sure, you can make a beef or chicken stock, but a shellfish or seafood stock is a great sauce starter for entrees.
· Serve a buffet: There are many reasons to have a weekly buffet, and finding a home for your extras is one of them. Sure, buffets leave you with prepared food leftovers, but that’s what family meal is for. Just make sure it’s the end of the line for your buffet leftovers.
· Have specials: Every restaurant should have features as a way of trying something different or seasonal. Specials also let you buy a new protein and run it until it’s sold out. Be sure to vary your specials or challenge your staff to come up with new ways to serve the same protein.
· Sales contests: When you’re really trying to move a product, challenge your servers to sell it for you. You might be surprised to find out who is motivated on a given day.

Be Organized

An organized walk-in refrigerator and well-rotated reach-in boxes are the keys to throwing out nothing. That means you or a well-appointed employee has to manage the walk-in, and line cooks have to manage their work area. All of your storage areas should be cleaned every night, and all of your product should be rotated so that the newest is in the back and the oldest is up front.

Even well-organized and efficiently run kitchens have trouble with waste and spoiled food. This is especially true with produce that moves sporadically or which must be ordered in bulk. Ordering must coincide with a careful eye on revenue projections. In the end, organization and cleanliness really are a kitchen’s best friend.

These tips can also help you stay on top of waste.

· Use your freezer: You have it for more than just ice cream. If you sense protein you need to get rid of, don’t hesitate to toss it in the freezer until you’re able to use it.
· Put lids on trash cans: It may be an over-simplification, but lids tend to make people think for a moment about what they’re throwing away.
· Throw-away bins: Use a lexan container or other box to let employees place questionable food so that you can throw it away for them. A no-throwaway policy helps you decide when and why product is being thrown away, and how to discourage it in the future.

Follow these tools and you should be able to severely limit the food your have to toss. You might even be able to handle the holiday rush, turning that Thanksgiving turkey into five different soups, specials, casseroles and sandwiches before it becomes everyone’s favorite employee family meal.

Coming up in Part 3 of How to Endure the Hard Times:

How to Grow Your Restaurant the Cheap Way

Promotional Nights

Use Social Media

When Inventory Grows Legs

And more!

Also, don’t forget that Destination Restaurant Consulting is here to do all of these things and more for your business, so if you need help, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-653-8575 or send us a message through the contact form at

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