Tips for Portion Control and Recipe Scaling
Getting plating right helps with customers’ perception of value – and your operation’s profitability. It’s also important to revisit your portions periodically; don’t assume that the optimum size two years ago is the optimum size today! Here are some practical tips.
If you’re depending on portioning scoops, spoons and food scales, the main task is to train kitchen employees to use them – always. That said, make sure you have enough of these items so that during the busiest times, all prep cooks have the tools they need. Also, check regularly that plating is consistent, and make compliance part of job evaluations.
Small, Medium, Large: Portion Control
Optimum portioning can be achieved by letting your customers choose – and pay accordingly. At Charley’s Philly Steaks in LA, three sizes of cheesesteaks are available. When it comes to meat, let the expert cutters at Gold Canyon Meat Co. get you the perfect fit in ounces for all of your recipes. And relying on quality brands such as Regal Crest Farms® for chicken and Pierport® for seafood means you can order top-selling proteins with consistent portioning-package to package, day after day.
Savvy operators are using “no special occasion” tasting menus that include established dishes along with tryouts. It’s a great way to determine 1) the appeal of proposed items, 2) the best proportion of ingredients, and 3) the preferred types of chopping (julienne? rough chunks?). It’s a good time to evaluate different containers and presentation strategies, too. Which in turn leads to plating with the portions that make the most sense and the most money.
Step on the scaling
Are you looking to increase – or decrease – overall quantities on a recipe? The first step is to have all recipes standardized and available in writing. It’s a must for quality control, and it makes converting for slower or busier days very much easier (Catering, too.) Then you can go from 20 servings to 110 servings with confidence.
Note: Ingredients such as salt, pepper, herbs and other seasonings should be tasted during preparation. When doubling the recipe, expect to use about 1 ½ times the original amount of seasoning; to triple a recipe you’d figure about 2x.
Last but not least: Pan size, cooking time and temperature, ingredients and altitude may affect your ultimate proportions. Practice may make the recipe perfect. To scale baked goods, the safest route is usually multiple batches. Professional bakers work with ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, yeast and butter every day. Otherwise, scaling can be difficult. That’s a compelling reason to purchase items like breads and muffins from Brickfire Bakery®.
Rounding Tips and Yield
When scaling, sometimes you’ll get an uneven result, like 25.4 ounces of chicken broth. Go ahead and round up to 26. Or did your calculations put you at half an egg? Many recipes will work when both halves are added in. Do you need assistance to learn or optimize scaling techniques? Consider scheduling a Business Solutions consultation with Shamrock Foods.
Doing the numbers gets you from a basic recipe to one that feeds a crowd.
Step 1 : Divide the desired yield by the current yield 11 0 (desired yield) —: 20 (current yield) = 5.5 (conversion factor)
Step 2: Multiply each ingredient by the conversion factor 48 oz. chicken x 5.5 = 264 oz.
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