Portion Control

We’ve just started using Big Dave’s portion cup method at one of our stores. But getting (all 4oz) 200 cups of cheese, 200 cups of chicken and 200 cups of mince ready every day seems a lot of work! We go through about 100 pizzas per day. Would i see much benefit in using portion control?

One of the normal pizza makers is complaining like hell and says its slowing him down and its a “pain in the a**”". The problem is that pizza accounts for 40% of our sales and therefore all the staff are cross trained which helps save on labour. When one of the new guys is on pizza duty, the portions per pizza rise dramatically so we’ve had to introduce the portion control. How did you guys handle the compaints?

Anybody tried the portion cup method and found it useful? Did it slowdown orders?

I use weight as a portion control and the message is clear either you use the proper portion control standards or you are done, fired ,down the road hicking horse apples.

yes it can slow down the line but it dramatically increases profit.

Ditto. Either you do it “my way” or not. If you don’t, you find your own place to do it your way, it won’t be in my store.

And, frankly, if the cheese is preportioned, how can it slow things down??? Just empty the cup, no weighing.

My main problem with that method comes from doing sometimes 500 pies a day. Or more. Too many damned little cups to buy and keep track of, much less keep clean!

Do you portion control sauce and toppings as well as cheese, and how do you do it ?

. Would i see much benefit in using portion control?

When one of the new guys is on pizza duty, the portions per pizza rise dramatically so we’ve had to introduce the portion control. quote]

I don’t quite understand why you would need 600 portion cups for only 100 pizzas. If you are using 2 cups per pie, then just get bigger cups.

Also, I think you answered your own question when you asked about the benefits. They are huge on many fronts. First your food cost stays in line, second you customers get a consistant product, third it IS faster. I don’t know of any shops who are so busy between 3 and 5 that they can’t make portion cups. 100 cheese cups should only take you a few minutes to complete.


Maybe consider this…rather than pre-weighing all of these cups, get one cup, weigh out the amount of cheese you want for your small pizza (not sure if you have multiple size pizzas or just one), and make a mark on the side of the cup, now go get a hacksaw and cut the top of the cup off at the line and then place the cup back on the scale and zero (tare) the cup weight (when you take it off the scale will read the cup weight as a negative number), now scoop up a cup of cheese and rake it off at the top and see if it weighs the correct amount (make sure you just rake the top of the cup and not press cheese down in it because it will create weights that vary). See how close this comes and if it is right on the target weight, simply use one cup for weighing out cheese all night and don’t worry about preweighing. If you have different weights for different sizes, simply preset a different cup and mark them with a Sharpie. About the chicken, is it diced, cut strips, etc? Maybe you can do the same with it as well as sausage crumbles and other toppings. As far as sauce, use spoodles (spoon/ladles that you can buy in specific measurment sizes such as a 6 oz. spoodle). I think you can get those at Pizzatools.com.

We used Tom’s method while we were saving up to buy scales. It worked very well.

We still use the cups to ballpark the cheese and speed our make time, and then just take a little off or put a little on when we see the reading on the scale. The weights can vary by ± 1.5 ounces or so - depending on how long the cheese has been in the bin - so the cups aren’t an exact science. Much better than no portion control at all though.

Everything even salads

Been using it for a couple of days now. Topping speed is about 90 seconds for a 12" 6-topping pizza, and 30 seconds for 12" Margherita.

One complaint i did have was from my partner who said “Dominos don’t weigh-out or cup their toppings”. any suggestions for the reply?

Also, do you guys use the same oz of topping for a 1-topping and a 5-topping pizza?

I don’t know what domino’s he has been at but the ones I have seen do use cups.

Many Domino’s do weigh out cheese on every pie, and many use cheese cups. The main reason that most do not wiegh every pie is because of training and constent attention to detail.

Most of the Domino’s shops with no portion control (cups or a cheese spreader) will wiegh out the first 5 pies they make EVERY DAY. I can still grab a consistant volume of cheese 9 times out of 10, but I know my staff can’t so I have cheese cups.

Yes, I could yell and stomp every day and have people weigh pizzas constantly to get them to be consistant so I could do away with cheese cups, but then I would just have to train in the next pie maker, and the next, … With cheese cups I can train someone in 5 minutes or less.

If your guys are asking why they need cheese cups and Domino’s doesn’t, then by all means grab the scales. If you have a guy who can go 10 for 10 with the proper cheese weights then let them free throw cheese. Make it a status thing. But I gaurantee you that if they haven’t weighed pizzas in the past they will be all over the board in cheese weights. When they see for themselves that they can’t do a consistent job of cheesing, then hand them an cheese cup with thier name on it.


When I was at Little Caesars, they had cups/scoops for everything. I know Papa Johns also used cheese cups, I forget about the other toppings, though I seem to not remember them using them at the time. LC was franchise, PJs was corporate-owned.

The downside to cups is how you load the cup. If you scoop the cup into the cheese, you get more than if you pick the cheese up and drop it into the cup.

As others have said, it’s not a perfect science, but it is at least a form of portion control vs none at all.

For those doing 150/300 pizza hours, how do you portion control without a scale, do you still portion out cups or do you use a scoop on every pizza? If so, doesn’t this slow the orders down?

Latest compaint from first employee to complain. He’s saying that he will not or can’t make pizzas using the portion cup method. Although I’ve got to say every time i’ve weight his finished pizza it’s near perfect. But the problem is the other 9 employees who are not so good with accurate portioning. Should i just stick this employee on other jobs or stick him on pizza all the time?

He says “I won’t”—he’s gone. But, if he says “I can do better without”, maybe he needs to be the lead all the time.

BUT, since cheese is by far the most expensive ingredient, it MUST BE WEIGHED ALWAYS. No just throwing it around for any reason, whether a pizza, cheese bread, or a sandwich. If it’s not weighed or somehow other portioned, it’s WRONG. Yes, I can pick up 10 oz of cheese almost every time, but I still weigh. No question.

Unless I’m making something for myself! :wink:

Also, do you guys use the same oz of topping for a 1-topping and a 5-topping pizza?

grande cheese makes a cup already mark.I use it for every pizza.If you use there cheese they will give it to you.It saves me a lot of money.

Also, do you guys use the same oz of topping


It depends on the topping, and the cost of that topping. To make a blanket statement of yes or no is irresponsible.

Generally, I’d have to say no. But, that’s not an absolute. Spinach, basil, garlic would be examples where we use about the same amount no matter what.

It’s called “portion control” for a reason–to make sure every dish served is as identical as possible. Too much product adds to the food cost; too little cheats the customer and probably makes a less-desirable product. (well, possibly may be the better word.) But, the idea is to have a set quantity of ingredient on each product served.

We used to weigh EVERYTHING. In the time between my original time here, and my return, they’d gotten away from routine weighing, which is a shame to me. Most of the make crew is good, and know the portions well, as much by look and feel as by actual weight. But, every once in a while, a pie is undercooked, often a combo or other large number of topping pie.

If they don’t weigh cheese, they don’t work the make table until they realize they WILL weigh cheese. No questions asked there.

HI Guys,

Just wanted to put my two cents in re: portioning pizza cheese. I am a new to the business and just returned from the Las Vegas show. If there was one thing I learned from the seminars that I attended was “you gotta portion out your pizza cheese!” As soon as I returned from the show I had a meeting with my staff and we played around with different methods of efficiently portioning cheese using a scale. So now, during slow times I have my counter girls go in the back and start weighing the cheese in different re-usable cups according to pizza size ie., personal, small, medium and large. It was no trouble at all!!!

We started portion control on cheese and our most common/expensive toppings 3 months ago. Here are the results (this is our total COGS because we do not yet split out paper): The last month shown is february


If you’re keeping tabs at home we went from an average of 37.9 in the previous 5 months to 34% in the past 3 months. And cheese has gone up…

So yeah, it works. My strategy has been to attack the low hanging fruit first - cheese, pepperoni, and sausage. I then started working my way through the whole menu, introducing portion control on each item.

The Torrey Pizza Scale is the one Dave Ostrander used at the Expo. It has a foot pedal for tare and a raised readout so you can put the whole pie on the scale, tare, add cheese, tare, add pepperoni, tare, and so forth. It’s only $150.00 +/- and is a really invaluable tool.

We’re going to start cost-coding our paper goods separately from our food very soon so I’ll get some better information on what our “food cost” really is.



I hurt when I read what you posted. For the year ending 2010, our total COGS (includes all paper & alcohol, beverages, T-shirts, etc… ) was right at 21.5%. So far this year (thru 13 Mar), we’re at 20.5%.

While proper portion control is paramount, so are your price points. Try cutting some of your ‘deals’ and ‘coupons.’ Good Luck & Best Wishes.