Find your “kitchen sink” menu item
When supplies are unpredictable and it’s more critical then ever to minimize waste, restaurants need to find ways to make use of every ingredient they have on hand – even when those ingredients are changing week to week and season to season. Being nimble with ingredients – and not necessarily hiding that from customers – can help. As described in a recent Nation’s Restaurant News report about how restaurants will be operating in the near future, Puritan & Company in Boston has gotten creative about adapting its menu to whatever stock it has on hand. The chef there has a $22 dish on the menu dubbed the “kitchen sink” lasagna. It incorporates whatever vegetables the restaurant happens to have available, as well as any excess meat it has at the time the dish is offered. If a kitchen-sink-type dish won’t work on your menu, think about how you might best cross-utilize ingredients across multiple dishes. It minimizes waste, utilizes labor more efficiently and typically improves overall business results. Restaurant brands ranging from McDonald’s to Olive Garden to Taco Bell have trimmed their menus in recent quarters. Instead of turning off customers, the move has improved performance across the board because it has enabled the restaurants to focus on churning out more of its most popular items to larger numbers of people.
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