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The meat goes on

But quality is an overused word and under-delivered concept in most restaurants. How are you doing?

  • Is your food as fresh as necessary to ensure maximum flavor, texture and appearance?
  • Is your food as fresh as necessary to ensure maximum food safety?

A great quantitative measure of food freshness is the Inventory Turnover Ratio. The higher your ratio is, the lower your food cost, and the higher your food quality and safety. Ideal ratios range from 1.0 to 2.0. With 1.0 ratio, you have a complete turnover of dollars every 7 days. With the average shelf time for perishables is 2 to 3 days, that ratio is about right for a typical restaurant. Keep in mind, the higher the percentage of perishable products in your inventory, the higher your turnover ratio needs to be.Now that you've measured your inventory turnover ratio, take a look at your procedures for keeping food fresh and safe. When it comes to maintaining your standards for food freshness and quality, hourly kitchen employees will usually follow clear directions. But without direction, they will choose the easiest (or laziest) path — compromising flavor, freshness, health and even guest satisfaction.

What are the simplest, and most effective precautions you can take to ensure the proper storage, rotation and handling of raw ingredients and prepared foods? My recommendation list is on the next page. We've also included an audit for periodic check-ups.


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