Thursday, March 8, 2012

Are your profits going in the trash?

There are a number of ways that restaurant profits simply walk out of the door. They include but aren’t limited to servers under ringing sales, taking home supplies or product or not charging their friend’s beverages or appetizers. What about product that’s going directly in the garbage at prep or being returned because of over portioning?  

According to, a myth of restaurant profitability is “Using Trash Cans in the Kitchen are a Good Way to Dispose of Trim and Waste.”  Often referred to as “black holes of profitability” any restaurant, including yours, is at risk for losing good, usable food products to kitchen trash cans. If there’s a training gap or people are careless when slicing, dicing or prepping anything in your kitchen, good, usable (and expensive) products can end up in the dumpster.
Say someone is preparing a piece of fish or meat and inadvertently makes a slice in the wrong place. Might they be tempted to hide their mistake in the trash? You bet! It could be happening all the time unless you're doing something to control it.

I know of operators who have removed all the trash cans in their kitchens and replaced them with clear plastic food boxes. They start by assigning a food box to each prep cook with their name on it. The prep cooks are instructed to place all of their scraps, trimmings and waste into their own food box.

At the end of each shift, a manager briefly inspects the contents of each employee's food box. If good, usable product is discovered, it's immediately brought to the employee's attention and, if necessary, they receive some on-the-spot training.

As they say, "don't expect what you don't inspect." Ditching your kitchen garbage cans for plastic food boxes, even for a just week or two, will give you the perfect opportunity to find out exactly what's leaving your kitchen and ending up in the dumpster.

Are you throwing away your profits?

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