Portion Control

I have been open for almost 6 Months and didn’t really worry about portion control, I showed people about how much cheese and other toppings to use. Now, I want to start doing some sort of portion control. Food cost is getting to high and consistency isn’t the greatest. Some employees think that if they load as much cheese on as possible the customer will appreciate it, I have to watch every pie closely to make sure that it is okay, too much cheese can be a bad thing. Anyone have any suggestion on how to implement some portion control without if causing a big headache and not slowing the cooks down?

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Portion controlling will save you a lot of money! If you don’t already have a good scale with a tare control get one ASAP. It is impossible for the human eye to be 100% accurate all of the time. Even portion cups aren’t always accurate (but they are better than free handing cheese). You need to get a good scale, it will pay for itself within a week or two. I have a Taylor pizza scale. It has a foot pedel that tares the weight back to zero each time you press it in between applying toppings. I got it for $175 on Ebay. Take a look at the following example. Right now my cheese cost’s me $1.79 a pound, which is 11 cents and ounce. Lets say my pizza makers are off an average of one ounce of cheese every pizza. I’m sending out around 500 pizzas a week so that would cost me $55 a week or $2860 extra in cheese. Lets say they are off an average of 2 ounces of cheese every pizza. (I did a test at my shop of all the employees including myself and the majority of us were off 2-3 ounces per large 16" pizza. If you do the math, the numbers are scary. By being 2 ounces off, I would be losing $110 a week or $5720 a year. 3 ounces off would be $165 a week or $8580 a year. That’s a lot of money to give up. By free throwing just cheese alone, you’re costing yourself a trip to the Bahamas each year! Now start adding up the savings from weighing out all of your toppings and you will be really amazed. You’ll start seeing major food cost savings all the way across the board. In this business you need to save money any way you can. Portion controlling will also provide you with a consistent product every time. In the beginning it will take you a little longer (maybe an extra 45 seconds) to make a pizza but once you get used to it, you won’t be slowed down at all.

I am going to portion control all the time because I know how incredibly important it is. I agree with the taylor scale, they are great. I want things to be as consistent as possible and you can’t really do that without portion control. I also don’t think portioning will slow you down in the long run either, and your customers will always know what to expect when they get a pie from you.

I heard Big Dave say in a food cost workshop that extra cheese on a pizza will improve satisfaction with that one pizza, but it causes dissatisfaction with every standard pizza the customer has ever gotten or will ever get. That extra cheese does more to hurt you than it could ever do to help!

Weighing out everything is a pain. The only thing we weigh out is the cheese. The rest, we use cups. To make it as simple and quick as possible, we have a one-size-fits-all system. One leveled cup per topping for small, one and a half per medium, and two heaping cups per large. (FYI, 4oz cups).
Tom R

Measure, measure, measure, did I say Measure? scale is the best cups are better then nothing!

You’re all so corporate. HAHAHA

Tom R. what to you do for a pizza that has say 7 toppings, you wouldn’t use a full cup for each topping, would you?

Yes, to a point, we cut down on some portions. Also, a Pepperoni pizza will get full coverage (under the cheese) but not overlapping, while a Hawiian will get the same treatment with the Canadian Bacon. When we make a Combo., we’ll put a little space between the slices of canadian bacon and fill in the gaps with pepperoni. Bottom line is, consistency sells.

Tom

I have been reading your posts for a long time and only recently started posting. This has to be the worst advice I have seen you give out so far, easily not worth the 2 cents.

I too was with the big guys, Domino’s for 11 years, Papa John’s and Caesars. Never worked at the Hut though. I hated portion control, though of it as a crutch for the weak, that I can weigh stuff with my hands better than any scale.

Well, I will take the pepsi challenge with anyone. I am sure I can put down the same volume of cheese on 10 out of 10 pizzas when I am measured. I can do that in my sleep. That system breaks down as soon as you get a rush though. It breaks down when a woman in a short skirt walks in the door. It breaks down when the cheese bin is overflowing (or when there is only a bit of cheese left).

I finally decided to put in cheese cups, and went with the decision for a month. When I saw the difference in my cheese costs, I fell out of my chair. I was sold, and I wondered how much cash I had missed out on as a manager all those years, and as an owner.

It takes almost no extra effort to weigh them out during the slow times, and the cheese savings will pay for the cups within a week.

Out of all the people on this board I thought you would jump all over this weigh it out band wagon. :?

Scale EVERYTHING! Track your Top 5 daily. I’m not a fan of cups but anything is better than nothing. Consistent weighing is the first step to consistent quality and service. Consumers hate surprises. If they order a double pepperoni pizza one day and get 80 slices and then order 2 weeks later and get 120 slices of 'roni they’ll notice that. And they may call and complain but my bet is they’ll do the talking with their wallet and not call back. Then again if you’re a low price high volume shop who cares right?

Bad advice. Previous post deleted. -J_r0kk

Portion control is HUGE. It affects so many different aspects of your business. Food cost, product quality(undercooking if too much, burning or drying out if too little), customers perception of value and consistency.

Portion control also let’s your employees know that there is a set way to do things. If you allow an employee to free hand it you breed the mindset that’s it’s ok to do things the way they want to. Nothing good can come from that.

Viva la portion controli