Business Insights

Balancing Workflow Needs & Costs

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Labor efficiency. It sounds good, but for a chef protecting their concept it's anything but easily executed.

So we sat down with the ultimate resource for our customers – Shamrock Foods Business Consultants and Culinary Teams – to get their candid thoughts on balancing needs and costs within restaurant workflow.

1. What's the biggest mistake you see people making?

Making decisions that aren't data driven! Picture this: You have five fingers on one hand. You want to be more efficient, so you cut away some fingers. But the more you cut away, the less you're able to grab what's out in front of you. You can't begin to cut until you know exactly what the cost of that cut will be.

– Chef Angel Morales, Shamrock Foods Corporate Chef, AZ

2. Are there any "safe" cuts?

I consider anything that doesn't directly affect your end-product a safe cut. Broccoli florets, lettuce – will chopping those yourself affect the end result? Probably not. But if you're known for fresh-cut French fries, you can't buy a frozen fry.

– Matt Ryland, Shamrock Foods Business Solutions Manager

3. What is your experience with lightly-prepped foodservice items?

I was one of those chefs who refused pre-prepped stuff, but now I see the benefits. You actually get a better overall product that is more consistently fresh.

– Brandon Biederman, Shamrock Foods Business Review Specialist, CO

Lightly-prepped items provide a known cost. If you buy a 12-pound box of chopped romaine, I can tell you the exact cost per ounce put on a plate. If you have an employee cutting romaine, there's no way you know the exact cost per ounce.

– Matt Ryland, Shamrock Foods Business Solutions Manager

4. Any favorite tips you like to share with operators?

I have two big ones. First: Focus. It may seem like you have to be all things to all people to attract a large audience, but that's not the case. Do one thing really well, and you'll start a following. Second: Think of the benefits of lightly-prepped items beyond known costs. With all of today's regulations, each pre-prepped food item comes with a complete history. You know exactly who has touched it, how it was cleaned, when it was harvested, etc. It's powerful to be able to share that knowledge with customers.

– Chef Angel Morales, Shamrock Foods Corporate Chef, AZ

I like to encourage operators to incentivize staff whenever they introduce an efficiency. Why? It pays off! Think of it this way: Staff are used to spending a certain amount of time on each task. Give them an incentive to be speedy when you first introduce a labor saver, and you'll boost your efficiency to a whole new level.

– Chef Kelli Welby, Shamrock Foods Business Review Specialist, NM

5. What about untapped resources operators should think twice about?

The biggest one is their staff! Millennials enjoy peer-to-peer training and respect an authentic walk through the kitchen way more than a polished video or manual. Need to train? Grab a smartphone or put on a GoPro and take a walk through the kitchen – it really is that easy!

– Chef Kelli Welby, Shamrock Foods Business Review Specialist, NM

6. Finally, if there was one takeaway you'd want operators to understand when it comes to efficiencies, what would it be?

Efficiencies aren't about stripping your menu or your restaurant of its character. It's actually the opposite. We want you to have the time, money and staff you need where it counts – dedicated to providing an unforgettable dining experience for your customers. Efficiencies make that possible.

– Chef Angel Morales, Shamrock Foods Corporate Chef, AZ

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