Why Use Daydots Portion Bags
By Cindy Rice, RS, CP-FS, MSPH Eastern Food Safety
Profits ending up in the trash is often what motivates people to change behaviors, and a portion control program can be the key to immediate savings in the kitchen.
One manager reported watching her employee make a sandwich for a customer and cringed as he grabbed a thick layer of turkey slices from the deli container, stacked it on a roll and topped it off with lettuce and tomato. The customer was obviously pleased with the sizeable sandwich he was receiving, but the manager saw dollar signs inside that roll, as her employee just doubled the portion of turkey breast that she had allotted for each sandwich. This threw her food cost projections out the window -an excess of 2 ounces of protein in a sandwich represented an extra $1.25 food cost per sandwich. Multiply this by 20 times in a day, and she was looking at $25/day on cost overruns on this one sandwich item alone. The manager also worried that this same customer might be disappointed if he didn’t receive the same overly generous sandwich portion the next time.
You may be surprised at the inconsistency in your own operation. When one chef was asked if he portioned his proteins, he quickly replied, “Of course, the serving size for steak tips is 10 ounces. I don’t have to weigh them out because I know that five steak tips equal 10 ounces.”
I pulled out a scale, and asked him to show me. He smiled smugly and placed five tips on the scale - 11 oz. The next five strips weighed in at 9 oz. A little concerned, the chef weighed another five tips on the scale at 13 oz. He continued two more times, each time getting a different weight, and his demeanor changed. A light bulb went off in his head, as he saw his food costs soaring up to 30% in over-portioned steak tips. The need to carefully weigh out his proteins into consistent serving sizes and place into day-of-the-week portion bags was crystal clear.
Using portion bags to control protein servings for a sandwich, salad or entree, is the best way to defend against practices like these. Approximately 50% of food operations use portion bags with these obvious benefits:
- Regulates food costs by standardizing portion sizes
- Ensures consistency and customer satisfaction, as they’ll know what to expect on every meal at that establishment
- Streamlines food preparation- food workers can quickly and thoughtlessly assemble a dish using pre-portioned items
- Helps prevent cross-contamination from individuals dipping into a pan of raw meats with utensils or hands, possibly contaminating surfaces along the way
- Portioned meats, rice or veggies can be microwaved in the bag, saving time, money and cleanup
- Portion bags can be labeled with use by dates or other information, so that following FIFO principles for prepped foods is made easier
Weighing or counting out protein portions for a sandwich, salad or entree is part of practicing Active Managerial Control, and protecting your food operation. In Part 2 of this series, we’ll review how to use Portion bags properly and train your staff to help control food costs, food quality, and safety in your food establishment
Continue reading to learn how to use Daydots portion bags.