Private clubs can have food costs upwards of 40%, but there are still ways to optimize and control these costs without sacrificing the high-quality food and service expected from members.
For private clubs, the quality of food and the dining experience for members takes priority over maintaining a perfect food cost. Dining is considered an amenity in clubs, and while it is not intended to be profitable, it is still important for a club chef to manage these ever-increasing costs. There are many simple changes a chef can make in the kitchen that will have a noticeable impact on food costs.
Cross-utilization of products for menu items, daily specials, and employee meals are all key ways of moving through inventory and maximizing each ingredient and product. Inventory should be checked frequently to keep up with products that have been sitting longer than others. Daily specials and employee meals are effective ways to use up extra ingredients and reduce waste. When creating new menus incorporate the same ingredients in several dishes while still being able to make each dish unique.
2. Use Seasonal Ingredients
Using food items and produce that are in season will be less expensive due to their abundance. Rather than buying these seasonal products through vendors, it is best to purchase directly from local farms to save on costs. Doing so ensures you are getting the freshest products along with supporting local farms.
3. Manage Portion Sizes And Waste
Keep an eye on how much food is still left on the diner’s plates, if it is a constant issue then portions should be adjusted. Using tools like portion spoons and scales will keep dishes consistent and help reduce waste. Creativity and plate presentation are simple ways to balance out smaller portions while also appearing more upscale. Staff should also be aware of their waste while prepping food. The amount of waste might not seem like much at the time, but it can add up quickly. Also, when calculating the food cost of a dish, make sure every component on the plate is priced out, including sauces and garnishes.
4. Compare Products With Other Vendors
Never rely on one vendor for everything and always compare products with multiple vendors to assure products are being purchased at the lowest price. Chefs should have a strong relationship with their supplier and discuss the availability of price matches or discounts and any other savings or loyalty programs offered.
5. Change Menus
If there are dishes on the menu that are not ordered frequently and cause products to be wasted, then they should either be reworked, taken off the menu completely, or offered as daily specials instead. Most clubs change menus seasonally, so this transition is a good time to review which dishes are not as popular and need to be replaced. Investing in a POS system that provides sales reports will quickly show which dishes should stay or go.
An executive club chef needs the help of their kitchen staff to manage food costs. Informing staff about the prices of products and how their actions can affect a kitchen’s food cost will help everyone get on the same page of a chef’s goals. A kitchen needs to be efficient and organized with a committed staff in order to be successful in controlling waste and food costs.