The chef is in charge of the kitchen–the heart of the restaurant. By taking the time to evaluate the menu, update serving standards, and educate staff, it's possible to set all kinds of positive changes in motion.
Set a new standard
Ultimately, controlling portion sizes is the chef’s responsibility. By implementing this easy, five-step plan, you can help everyone in the kitchen prepare orders consistently and appropriately.
Develop specifications for each ingredient you use. (What size of potato, filet, or bread loaf should be ordered?)
Write up standardised recipes that include specific weights and measures of each ingredient. Make sure the tools your staff needs to reproduce those weights and measures are readily available in the kitchen.
Create a plating guide with photos or diagrams to model appropriate servings for your culinary crew.
Prepare each order by following the recipe and plating guide. Use standardised measuring tools to serve up the food.
Make a habit of monitoring actual portions served, comparing them against the standard to train staff, decrease waste, and manage food costs.
How much is too much?
Over the past few decades, serving sizes have risen dramatically. As portions increase, it becomes more difficult for a person to accurately guess how many calories a serving contains, so they end up eating more.2 A guest who ordered the same menu item in 1995 and 2015 could easily have doubled the number of calories they consumed, as shown in the comparison below.3
Make a Plan
It’s not necessary to take a radical approach to changing everything at once. Instead, try a long-term plan to gradually reach portion size goals without upsetting guests or disrupting their value perception.