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3 ways to cut back-of-house costs without cutting quality or taste

Photograph: Shutterstock

Keeping restaurant costs low has always been top-of-mind for operators. But with the global pandemic impacting restaurant sales and operations in unprecedented ways, operators are likely looking for more ways to trim costs.

In the back of the house, one way to trim costs can involve substituting less expensive ingredients. But substituting less expensive ingredients, while it may save money, may not always be the best way to go. If operators choose to go this route, it is important they choose the products carefully to ensure they won’t be sacrificing taste or quality. Using different products can offer big benefits for operators, but it’s crucial to be strategic when choosing alternatives. In fact, sometimes an investment in more expensive ingredients results in cost savings overall.

Here are three ways choosing different products can help trim back-of-house food costs without sacrificing quality.

1)     Use mayonnaise and dressings as “mother sauces”

Operators can trim costs and reduce the number of products they stock by using products they already have on hand, such as mayonnaise and other dressings, to create signature sauces and unique flavors for dishes. For example, operators can use mayonnaise as a base to create an array of different dipping sauces—mix in sriracha or jalapenos for a spicy kick, or stir in fresh garlic for an irresistible aioli-like option. Other dressings, such as Italian dressing or ranch, can also be tweaked with other ingredients to create all-new options. For instance, add chipotles and their sauce to ranch dressing for a tasty, craveable Southwest-style ranch dip or dressing—perfect for taco and chicken salads, among many other dishes. By using an ingredient such as mayonnaise as a “mother sauce,” operators can create a variety of different dipping sauces and dressings without having to start from scratch every time and ensure consistency. Speed-scratch sauces can set restaurants apart as diners seek out sauces they love. 

2)     Use premium frying oils

Commodity oils may cost less up front—giving operators a false sense of saving money—but the truth is that premium oils last longer and improve food quality. Frymax® Sun Supreme Sun Oil, from Stratas Foods, for instance, is recommended for all deep-frying applications and is made from 100% high-oleic sunflower oil, providing a neutral flavor, exceptional fry life and easy cleanup. By using a fry oil that’s designed to last longer, operators end up saving money despite a higher sticker price—fewer oil changes and a longer fry life mean the oil goes farther and costs stay lower in the long run. To determine potential cost savings—operators can compare the oil they’re currently using to Stratas oil with Stratas’ Fry Test Calculator.

3)     Use butter-flavored oil

Butter’s rich, indulgent flavor is a big selling point for many consumers when they are ordering a dish. The  cost of using butter can add up quickly, especially if restaurants use it in a variety of applications, such as basting, sauteing and baking. Operators can substitute butter-flavored oil to save money without sacrificing flavor. Statas Foods’ Whirl butter-flavored oils are perfect for an array of uses—Garlic Whirl® is perfect for delicious garlic bread, Sodium-Free Whirl® is great for creating buttery, indulgent sauces, such as those used on Buffalo wings, and Original Whirl® lends rich, buttery flavor to entrees such as shrimp scampi, as well as pizza crusts and more. By using butter-flavored oil, operators can save costs without giving up that rich, buttery flavor diners love. To learn more about how much restaurants can save by using butter-flavored oil instead of butter, use the Whirl Calculator.

For operators, there has never been a better time to work on trimming costs. By using Stratas Foods products such as premium frying oil, butter-flavored oils and more, operators can cut food costs and prep time without sacrificing flavor or quality.

To learn more, visit www.stratasfoods.com.

This post is sponsored by Stratas Foods