Explaining to your staff the importance of portion control is crucial to reduce cost and save money. Some staff will feel like mothering the customers and overloading their plates. Let your staff know that this extra food usually just ends up in the bin. Read these easy tips to improve your portion control:

1. Clear plastic bin bags

Set aside a clear plastic bin just for food in the dish wash area (no disposables). After service check the bin. Your staff may be surprised to see how much food is actually getting wasted every day.

2. Check plates for proper portion control

Frequently spot check plates for proper portion control. Walk the service counters every 15 minutes to check that staff are serving the correct portions. Also do spot checks with your cashiers. Do the cashiers know visually what a standard portion is for everything that you sell?

3. How do your staff identify and charge for double portions or extras?

Train and re-train cashiers on tariffs, specials, portion size etc. Can you serve extra side portions in a side dish, instead of piling them high on the plate and ensure that they are charged for.

4. Weight

All portioned meat should be weighted as prepared e.g. burgers when moulded.

5. Advanced preparation and portioning

Advanced preparation and portioning not only saves food cost, it also results in a more efficient kitchen, so portion as much as possible ahead of service in the preparation area. Your chefs will not worry too much about portion control when the kitchen is at its busiest. Pre-portioning is a very simple way to make sure that portions are always standard. Pre-portioning can be done during slow periods, saving time when there is a rush

6. Overloading plates

Self service can really speed up your service and reduce your labour costs, but are customers overloading their plates? Can you serve pre portioned chips, potatoes, onion rings etc in individual dishes if possible? What about having a display of pre-made salads at the deli bar and pre-portioned fruit salads during breakfast.

7. Do you have the correct portion control utensils?

Are your portion control utensils standardized? Don’t use portioning utensils that are too big. The customer expects to see a couple of scoops put on their plate regardless of the size of the portioning utensil.

8. Are your serving plates too big? 

Are you using the correct plate size? Smaller plates allow you to serve more manageable portions. On big plates the correct portion sizes can look mean. If you are serving a salad on a dinner plate, your staff will probably serve too much, since the prescribed portion will look small on the dinner plate and they will tend to add more.