Heart of the House

Monday, August 20, 2018

The chef is in charge of the kitchen–the heart of the restaurant. By taking the time to evaluate the menu, update serving standards, and educate staff, it is possible to set all kinds of positive changes in motion.


Set a new standard

Ultimately, controlling portion sizes is the chef’s responsibility. By implementing this easy, five-step plan, you can help everyone in the kitchen prepare orders consistently and appropriately.

Step 1Step 2Step 3Step 4Step 5
Develop specifications for each ingredient you use. (What size of potato, filet, or bread loaf should be ordered?)Write up standardised recipes that include specific weights and measures of each ingredient. Make sure the tools your staff need to reproduce those weights and measures are readily available in the kitchen.Create a plating guide with photos or diagrams to model appropriate servings for your culinary team.Prepare each order by following the recipe and plating guide. Use standardised measuring tools to serve up the food.Make a habit of monitoring actual portions served, comparing them against the standard to train staff, decrease waste, and manage food costs.



How much is too much?

Over the past few decades, serving sizes have risen dramatically. As portions increase, it becomes more difficult for a person to accurately guess how many calories a serving contains, so they end up eating more1. A study by the National Institute of Health in the United States highlighted that a guest who ordered the same menu item in 1995 and 2015 could easily have doubled the number of calories they consumed, as shown in the comparison below2. Sound familiar? 


Make a plan

You don’t have to take a radical approach and change everything at once. Instead, try implementing a long-term plan to gradually reach portion size goals without upsetting guests or disrupting their value perception.


  1. Chandron, Ordabayeva, 2015
  2. National Institute of Health, United States, 2015