Simple Solutions Help Operators Stay Agile and Profitable
Staying relevant in the current foodservice landscape requires operators to be open to constant change and improvement. Keeping up with competitors and consumer demand requires these adjustments to be fast and simple for an operation to survive and thrive. For some, simply refreshing their prep line smallwares can have positive ripple effects across their entire business.
Aaron Sloma, owner and operator of Viand Hospitality, recently tested out the new Server Products ProPortion® Handheld Dispenser at two of his concepts in order to increase speed and precision for his back-of-house staff.
He was inspired to seek out a more accurate condiment and sauce portioning method after repeated frustration with the universally accepted squeeze bottle. “For the majority of the restaurants that I’ve ever been in, the old squeeze bottle was the way to go. But you have no portioning or portion control and everybody’s portion is different,” Sloma said.
ProPortion dispensers have a 25-ounce capacity for dispensing sauces and condiments, and they can be set to dispense 6 different portions ranging between ¼ and 1 ounce. Three unique valve sizes allow these units to easily dispense foods of varying thickness.
At Log Cabin Inn, dispensing sauces with particulates was a recurring issue that prevented the line from running smoothly. “When you’re squeezing something out of a squeeze bottle, like Thousand Island, sometimes those chunks can get stuck and trip you up and cause a bit of an issue,” said Kitchen Manager Alex Hartlaub. “With the ProPortion unit, you never have that problem.”
The test generated significant food cost savings across Parker John’s and Log Cabin Inn locations. Exact portioning gives operators the opportunity to calculate a precise cost per serving and easily measure and track food item usage, rather than relying on wasteful and inconsistent guesswork.
Both Parker John’s and Log Cabin Inn are high-volume operations with many items containing a sauce or condiment. With ProPortion, the staff at Parker John’s and Log Cabin Inn were able to set specific portions once and dispense the same exact amount every time. “There are multiple ounces’ difference in the portions we were doing on a free pour versus what we’re doing now. So that’s considerable savings right off the bat,” said Sloma. The food cost savings multiply rapidly at Parker John’s where ranch and blue cheese are portioned out into ramekins by the thousands on a weekly basis.
Hartlaub found the same to be true when using ProPortion in the Log Cabin Inn Kitchen. “One of the huge benefits is that it’s an inexpensive unit that basically pays for itself over the course of a few months with the amount of savings you get from all your sauces. Saving half an ounce to an ounce per entrée that we send out can add to hundreds of dollars in savings annually, if not more,” he said.
With labor challenges continuing to plague the foodservice industry, implementing simple solutions that improve line speed and food margins with minimal training can help take the pressure off owners and managers. ProPortion dispensers are proven to give back-of-house staff ease, flexibility and accuracy that other handheld tools are not able to provide.