Do you have a strategic purchasing process in place to maximize signature items on your menu without overspending or wasting food?

Food and beverage sourcing or purchasing services for the hospitality and foodservice industries play a vital role in the success of all restaurant operations – both associate with a hotel or resort, and self-standing. You have so many options when it comes to selecting products.  Add a strategic plan that you consistently use and you will be able to control your food costs.

According to an article on the StarChefs.com, Chef Chris Chung of AKA Bistro in Boston’s Lincoln Park summarizes his method to control food cost into four basic principles — “order as necessary, maximize each ingredient, cook seasonally and have more than one vendor.”

Chung also trains his employees to use every piece of a product and be creative with the scraps.

In the same article, chef Zach Allen, head of the kitchen at three Las Vegas restaurants, shares that he has been able to actually lower food costs at all of his restaurants by knowing his inventory, ordering wisely in bulk and training his staff to diligently practice portion control.

It is possible to consistently serve quality, delicious food and even offer new or seasonal items with some planning, testing and preparation. Hospitality sourcing or purchasing services, such as those provided by Source1 Purchasing, help track your food cost so you can focus more energy on serving customers.

There are three parts to the product selection process you need to consider: the ingredients, the recipe and menu planning.

Although the building blocks for selecting the right products are essentially found in these three areas, each element certainly has its own focus of quality and standards.

The Ingredients

For example, turkey breast comes in a variety of products, from premium, naturally basted turkey with little salt added down to a chunked and formed turkey roll. And these varying levels of products will apply to everything from butter to vegetables.

Ingredients are essentially the foundation. For ingredients, you’d be looking at a product’s flavor profile, yield and brand.

The Recipe

The recipe blends these ingredients in combination to ensure consistent flavor notes are presented in a consistent fashion. Recipes are normally proofed and tested to make sure they’re consistent in flavor profile and harmony. But how you spice one dish at a restaurant varies greatly from how you’d spice a large-volume dish for a college cafeteria.

The Menu

Finally, the menu offers a variety of items that reflect the concept and theme of the restaurant. It brings together all of the elements from the ingredients and recipes that the operators have selected.

Restaurants need to regularly conduct promotions and product testing to determine which new products will work support the theme or concept. These promotions allow the operator to see which new products can most improve the guest dining experience and offer instant feedback. Successful promotional items can be incorporated into the regular menu, ensuring that offerings are always evolving.

Every menu should include signature items that reflect the character of that establishment. These items demonstrate the restaurant’s uniqueness and offer a standout experience that helps to attract repeat customers.

This is where the primary benefit of smart purchasing practices comes in. Operators can deliver high-quality branded products — preferred products that every diner wants — for the price that they used to pay for medium-quality products. These high-quality products help restaurants create a strong reputation and deliver consistent service. Restaurants now have the ability to use a better-quality product and create better-tasting meals, allowing them to enjoy the halo effect this casts over their entire operation.

As you continue to improve your food and beverage operation, consider the benefits afforded by sourcing services or purchasing insights from companies like Source1 Purchasing. They work alongside their customers to procure or purchase the best ingredients at the best price possible from well-known suppliers that are known and trusted. That way, you can focus your attention of growing your business and exploring new promotions…confident that you are delivering a quality, memorable dining experience for your guests.

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