Menu Planning

A well-planned menu takes care to utilize ingredients efficiently and in a way that avoids waste.When writing a menu, consider the following guidelines for total utilization of foods.

1. Use all edible trim.

Unless you use only portion-controlled meats,poultry,and fish and only frozen and canned vegetables,you will have edible trim.You can either throw it away and call it a loss, or you can use it and make money on it.

Plan recipes that utilize these trimmings and put them on the menu. For example:

• Use small meat scraps for soups, chopped meat, pâtés, creamed dishes, croquettes.

• Use larger meat trimmings for soups, stews, braised items.

• Use bones for stocks and soups.

• Use vegetable trimmings for purées, soups, stews, stocks, fillings for omelets and crêpes.

• Use day-old breads for stuffings, breading, French toast, croutons, meat extender.

2. Don't add an item to the menu unless you can use the trimmings.

This is really the same as the preceding item, looking from the opposite angle. In other words, don't put rissolé potatoes on your menu unless you also plan to serve an item that uses the trimmings, such as whipped potatoes or croquettes.

3. Plan production to avoid leftovers.

The best way to use leftovers is not to create them in the first place. Handling food twice—once as a fresh item and once as a leftover—is more expensive and time-consuming than handling it once, and it almost always results in loss of quality. Limited menus—that is, with fewer selections—decrease the likelihood of leftovers.

4. Plan ahead for use of leftovers.

Careful planning of production can keep leftovers to a minimum. But some leftovers are almost inevitable,and it's better for your costs to use them than to throw them out.

Whenever you put an item on the menu that could become a leftover, you should have a recipe ready that will use it.This is better than being surprised with leftovers that you don't know what to do with.

For example, if you served roast chicken for dinner one day, you might plan on chicken salad for a luncheon special the next day.

Remember to handle all leftovers according to proper sanitary procedures.

5. Avoid minimum-use perishable ingredients.

Minimum-use ingredients are those that are used in one or two items on your menu. For example, an operation might serve chicken breast topped with sautéed mushrooms but not use mushrooms in any other item.When the ingredient is perishable, the result is a high percentage of spoilage or waste. This situation can be remedied in any of three ways.

• Change the recipe to eliminate the minimum-use ingredient.

• Eliminate the item from the menu.

• Add other items to the menu using the ingredient.

Be careful not to unbalance the menu, however, by using an ingredient in too many dishes.Try to avoid both extremes.

Continue reading here: Managing Inventory

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