Avoiding Hidden Expenses
Hidden expenses chip away at your restaurant’s profits. From inefficient setups to poorly-maintenanced equipment and unnecessary and expensive investments, restaurant owners should be constantly vigilant of these financial drains. A big expense that many overlook for a variety of reasons is using disposable containers for your side dishes. Here’s a look at why your restaurant should NOT serve sides in disposables and how to avoid this hidden expense.
As dining establishments saw a rise in regular and repeat business decades ago, many started looking for ways to cut out steps to the preparation process. One of these shortcuts included pre-packaged individual-sized sides. Before-hours or during slow business times, staff would break down bulk sizes of sides into individual disposable containers. Then, during peak hours, employees could simply pick up a side container and incorporate it onto the customer’s plate. In this manner, restaurants could cut out imprecision from quick preparation during peak hours (as sides were already measured out) as well as labor costs during busy times.
While restaurant owners may have seen this as a valuable gain, the costs of disposable containers for sides were secretly eating into restaurant budgets. Working on a small margin of profit, many restaurant owners are now looking for ways to cut down on those hidden costs!
Dispose of your disposable containers! Well, for dine-in customers, at least. Not only will you save on costs associated with purchasing these disposable containers, but your dishes will look cleaner and more upscale without disposable packaging! Also, consider the environmental impact of your disposables over time. Similarly, disposables use valuable storage space, and individually-portioned sides can spoil (whereas bulk stored items can be frozen). Here are a few substitutes:
Theme-Appropriate Substitution: Have a tropical dish? Consider investing in banana leaves to wrap sides in! In old England, they used to serve fish and chips in newspapers! In Myanmar/Burma in the old days, sticky rice was sold by the "bamboo joint" -- having been cooked, unsalted, in the fire and the char of the bamboo having been stripped off. There are many interesting and unique substitutions, but be prepared for a little extra prep time.
Reusable Dishware: Ramekins and small bowls are a simple way to swap the disposable for a reusable dish. While you may spend a little more upfront, the savings over time will vastly outweigh the cost!
Quick, Precise Kitchen Utensils: Tongs and portion servers used for each side dish can be purchased and allotted to their respective dish by size. With a single scoop or pinch, your kitchen prep worker can dish out an individual portion with ease - and with just as much time spent as pulling out your old disposable container!
E Friedman Associates Inc