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Cost-Saving Measures

Kitchen Hints that Save Time and Money

With the cost of food and labor increasing, the more efficient you run your kitchen and the more you train your staff in simple culinary techniques, the more cost effective your food program. Here are a few ideas food service directors have shared that save their staff time.

Processing ideas

  • Grate, bag, and freeze cheese in quantity.
  • Prepare double batches of sauce or yeast dough at a time and freeze the extra.
  • Donated zucchini (doesn’t everyone get some?!): grate and freeze in batches for later use in breakfast breads or soups. No need to blanch before freezing.

Production Time Savers

  • Assign like tasks to one employee: if onions or other vegetables are needed in several recipes or for several days in a row have one person prepare the entire amount.
  • Hang a chart by the slicer listing some commonly sliced foods, the weight of the food and the correct slicer setting.
  • Use the slicer for as many jobs as possible: ice box cookie dough, tomatoes for sandwiches, cucumber slices for the salad bar. Carrots sliced thinly lengthwise will automatically curl and make a nice garnish.
  • Use the proper knife for the job being done; remember that scissors are often better than a knife or tongs are better than a for.
  • Cut unpeeled onions in quarters from top to bottom. Remove skin from each quarter in one easy stroke.
  • When large quantities are involved, weigh rather than measure.

Serving Efficiencies

  • Determine the size of the portion in advance and use a standard server (spoodles, numbered scoops, etc.)
  • Mark a yardstick clearly with commonly used portions. Lay the stick along the pan to mark the product for even portioning.
  • Use carts and trays to gather ingredients, supplies and tools at one time.
  • Adjust recipes to use the most convenient method of measuring.
  • Checklists of cleaning duties aid workers in determining what needs to be done.
  • When pans have a “baked-on” mess, steam them in the steamer for few minutes to loosen the food.


Controlling Costs (.PDF)