Even during good times, keeping costs low is hard work when managing a commercial kitchen. But when inflation runs high, that goal becomes even harder to achieve—even for expert operators, managers, and chefs.
So, what can foodservice operations do to lower costs and avoid the worst effects of high prices and inflation?
The answer is simple: Reduce waste and increase the efficiency of employees.
Luckily, kitchens have multiple options for decreasing waste, cutting costs, and saving money and time.
Here are a few of the most effective solutions for fighting inflation and lowering costs.
Bring portion sizes under control
According to the USDA, food waste in the US costs the restaurant industry $162 billion each year. With profit margins already slim, that’s a cost the industry can’t afford.
However, minor adjustments can make a big difference. That’s where portion control offers a solution.
Even a simple tool (such as a bottle that squeezes out a standard amount of dressing for each salad) can guide kitchen staff away from using too much of a single ingredient. And when you do that, you cut costs in a small but incremental way.
Beyond cutting back on waste and unnecessary costs, portion control tools—such as Portion Bags from NCCO — help standardize back-of-house operations.
These color-coded bags make it easy for back-of-house teams to determine when an item was prepped so that it can be made into a dish before going to waste. And that helps your kitchen save even more.
So, by investing in portion control solutions, your foodservice operation can limit food waste, lower ingredients costs, and provide a more consistent dining experience. How’s that for a good deal?
To find an affordable portion control solution that fits your kitchen’s needs, check out our line of solutions.
Automate your waste tracking system
Reducing food waste begins by understanding where you’re creating waste. You might know through experience where waste accumulates in your operation, but having the numbers to back up your experience helps pinpoint precisely where you have the chance to save money.
So, what makes an ideal waste tracking system?
With its dependence on handwritten ledgers and binders full of ingredient information, waste tracking has always been time-consuming, cumbersome, and painful for employees.
To make waste tracking an easy habit for employees to adopt, you want to automate the process as much as possible. Beyond speeding up and simplifying the process, automation also drastically reduces the number of recording mistakes that plague analog waste tracking systems.
By making it quicker for employees to record waste, automated waste tracking systems help create more time for kitchen staff to attend to other responsibilities that impact the bottom line.
And because automated systems are easier to use, they remove the barriers that otherwise keep employees from using them. This ease of use leads to a higher rate of data collection, which leads to more informed, cost-saving decisions down the road.
Here’s another tip—if your waste tracking system does more than track waste, that’s even better. Beyond tracking waste, our DateCodeGenie® automated labeling system allows users to create custom food labels and stickers for everything from takeout orders and grab-and-go items to back-of-house prep ingredients.
There’s no sense in having two different solutions to track waste and create food labels. The DateCodeGenie does both. When you bundle your waste-tracking and food labeling needs into one solution, you save even more.
Automate your labeling system & increase employee efficiency
Food waste isn’t the only type of waste you can cut back on if you’re looking to lower operating costs. Cutting back on wasted employee time can save you even more, and that’s where an automated labeling system can help.
When you automate your labeling system, you drastically reduce the time it takes for your team to create labels.
These small savings in time allow your team to finish their work early or return to more important tasks with a more significant impact on the bottom line. In either case, your operation lowers labor costs and saves money.
And beyond saving your operation time, automated labeling reduces the number of errors and inconsistencies associated with handwritten labels.
Automated labeling systems create a sense of uniformity and are much easier to read than handwritten labels. And more legible labels make prep ingredients easier to keep track of, which helps reduce food waste even further.
Here’s one of the best parts, though—health and safety inspectors LOVE standardized, printed labels, and for a good reason too. Simply put, these labels look more professional and accurate.
Plus, they’re way quicker to create than systems that rely on pen and tape.
So, do yourself and your team a favor by automating your labeling system. You’ll love the user-friendly experience and the savings in time and labor costs. The only downside is that you’ll wish you made the switch sooner.
Keep a close eye on expiration & use-by dates
We’ve all forgotten about leftovers and ingredients in our refrigerators at home. But what happens when we do this on a commercial scale? It leads to serious waste and high costs.
However, implementing an efficient first-in-first-out (FIFO) system can significantly reduce waste in the freezer and refrigerator.
But what can you do to streamline your FIFO system in a way that leads to even more savings in cost and less food waste? Once again, you can consider automating your labeling system.
Not only do you save time when you print FIFO labels instead of writing them but doing so also leads to greater standardization and fewer errors.
The DateCodeGenie automated labeling system automatically populates FIFO labels with crucial information, such as an employee name, prep dates, use by dates, and the ingredient’s name. You can even color-code labels, allowing employees to identify dates at a glance.
Again, the DateCodeGenie makes the labeling of prep ingredients simple, quick, and easy, which saves time and helps reduce waste in the kitchen. However, it isn’t the only method for quickly labeling prep ingredients.
NCCO also offers a variety of color-coded day of the week labels that can be written on by hand. To view a complete list of these solutions, click here.
Find even more affordable, everyday foodservice solutions
There’s no need to let inflation get the best of us. By investing in cost-saving foodservice tools, kitchens can do more than survive times of high inflation. They can create more efficient and profitable operations that thrive well into the future.
To discover more affordable foodservice solutions to help your operation save on costs and time, visit our products page.