Friday, March 30, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Gaining an advantage from commodity market price management can lead to profit boost for a limited time but does not address the long-term effects of food inflation and higher beef costs.
One way to get the most from a little beef is by using “ horsetail ”. Now this can be thoroughbred Angus, Arabian, Paint or even Appaloosa no-roll, just as long as you purchase chemically lean tail from a certified U.S.D.A. packer. If you are looking for a low food cost percentage, serving “horse” is a marvelous way to make money from a little beef.
The Meat Buyers Guide does not yet recognize "horsetail" as real beef, although there is a strong lobby group lead by “Chefs Cooking for Profit”, group based in Baltimore, MD pushing for this recognition. They claim that any casual or fine dining restaurant can achieve a 26.5% food cost using the “horsetail” menu.
Purchasing consultants are always looking for new cost reduction methods, but this “horsetail” jargon has really thrown me a curveball, so I sought the council of friend and Master Chef working at the Palmetto in New York City. I said to Chef Mykal Gruber, “ It doesn’t sound very appetizing Chef, what’s up?”
Chef Mykal explained when he served "horsetail", he was talking about the tasty foods that accompany meat entrees, and that this was a pre-90’s CIA term for reducing the amount of meat needed per serving. Then he gave me some examples: the rice pilaf served with stir fry beef, the celery-onion stuffing mounded under thin slices of roast beef for a roast beef diner; the slices of bread and the scoop of mashed potatoes and all that good, rich gravy poured over everything (this bogglers personal favorite, the All-American, hot roast beef sandwich)
Our firm has several client chains upgrading steak and burger toppings or developing special sides to utilize this “plate-filler” concept. Now that this purchasing consultant has learned a new cost-management tactic, I realize there are horsetails everywhere!
Not only will these high-quality fillers increase interest in your menu, but they will lower your food cost substantially. In fact, it you offer top quality sides, customers may never miss the absence of larger portions. Once you start thinking “horsetail”, you can cut beef portion size and plated cost. You can also help keep your purchasing manager bonus in place, as he won’t have to buy as much $2.45 lb., 80/20 ground beef or high-price beef cuts.
How to make a lot of money from a little beef and “horsetail”:
Armed with this cost-cutting concept, I approached a successful emerging chain near Santa Anita, CA to test this menu engineering theory: that less beef is more profitable. I agreed with the owner, Diane Crump, that the maximum beef utilization would be to use the top (inside) round. Chefs will know how to cut the top round properly, once the distinctive parts are separated, it’s very important that the beef be cooked with care. Now, the accompaniments, in the words of Auguste Escoffier, “in cooking, care is half the battle”.
The use of more high-quality healthy plate fillers makes a lower food cost possible and enhances your menu offerings.
To Higher Profits!
Fred Favole, is Founder & President of Strategic Purchasing Services (SPS), a firm specializing in purchasing outsourcing, commodity price management and distribution program audits. His contact information: ph; 912.634.0030, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Connect on Linked IN & follow Fred’s blog at https://purchasinginsights.blogspot.com/