Do you know, if your customers are satisfied?

By Salla Arffman, Trainer

How many times have you skipped a restaurant after hearing that the food they serve is not that excellent, the portions are too small, or the customer service poor? There you have it. They say that all publicity is good publicity, but in foodservice business it can be difficult to get rid of bad reputation and it can have a significant effect on your customer count.

As you know, If you’ve had a good experience you mention it to a few others, but bad experiences are spread much further as you talk about them at workplace and with friends. But how to get this information to the service provider?

How often do you give negative feedback directly to the service provider? Surely there are exceptions, but I personally belong to that group who actually lie straightforwardly to the waiter when asked ”How is your meal?”, even if half of the plate would be left untouched. And I don’t believe I’m the only one doing this.

 

Why should you collect customer feedback?

If the customers are coming in in a steady pace and you receive negative feedback a couple of times per month, then do you need to collect customer feedback separately? Yes, you do!

By collecting customer feedback systematically you will know about individual failures but also about successes. When giving feedback is made easy for the customer, they will be more likely to give positive feedback, as well. If the feedback process is complicated you are prone to getting feedback only from the customers who have had an especially bad experience.

A customer feedback survey enables you to emphasize the issues that are important to your business. If the aim is to develop the menu, you can ask in your survey what types of food the customers would like to see on the menu. If again you are aiming to improve customer satisfaction, you can ask questions on that issue particularly.

Collecting customer feedback and especially reacting on it is an excellent marketing tool which is worth to be utilized. The customers appreciate if their opinions are taken into consideration and these stories are told forward at the coffee breaks, as well.

5 rules for collecting customer feedback

  1. Make giving customer feedback as easy as possible for your customers. For many of us it is difficult to give negative feedback face-to-face, so you should be able to give feedback in writing and anonymously. The time has passed by the carton feedback boxes and many businesses are moving on to electronic customer feedback applications. You can give feedback through applications designed for this purpose for example with your smartphone, and the service provider will easily get reports on the feedback for analysis.
  2. Keep the survey simple, design the questions carefully and ask the right questions. How many of us has left a customer feedback survey unfinished because there have been too many questions? How many of us has been annoyed because the survey has not been consistent and it has included several questions meaning the same thing? You need to design the questions so, that the customers will find it easy to give answers and that they won’t enable ambiguous answers. Always ask one thing at a time. A good rule of thumb is not to ask about things on which you are not going to do anything or on which you cannot do anything.
  3. Engage your customers into answering the survey. The survey is not of much use, if only 2 % of your customers answer to it. The more you get feedback and the more versatile your survey is, the more useful it is. In many feedback surveys the customers are lured into answering with the help of a small prize, for example a sweepstake. On the other hand, if the customer feedback survey is marketed in the right way (for example: ”Suggest a new plate for the menu, 5 of the most popular ones will be added to the menu”) you shouldn’t be lacking answers.
  4. Make the survey visually good looking. Do not forget that customer feedback surveys are one of the most visual parts of customer communication and for this reason the survey should be in line with the visual appearance of the organization. If the questionnaire is dull and old-fashioned, this is what you will be communicating of your business, as well.
  5. React on the feedback as promptly as possible. What could be more annoying than getting a lame answer saying ”we’re sorry” to a feedback given over a month ago. You need to analyze the feedback and answer promptly to those who have left their contact information, and use the information for developing your operation. Always aim at turning a customer’s negative experience into a positive one by using a refund, for example. Promote the actions you have taken based on the feedback, for example bring it up on the menu if some plate has been included after a customer request.

 

JAMIX MENU Customer Feedback Service

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT program includes an additional feature for collecting customer feedback. The feedback is linked to the menus in JAMIX MENU service so the customer’s feedback is targeted at a specific menu in in the program. The customer can give feedback on a whole meal (for example ”Really friendly customer service at lunch time!”) or a part of meal (”Macaroni and cheese was especially good today!”). The customers can give feedback with their own smartphones, for example.

You can design and create as many questions as you need to have. Question type options include stars, smileys and text. The customers can add pictures on the feedback, as well. Reports on feedback can be found in JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT program.

Contact us for more information on JAMIX MENU Customer Feedback Service: info@jamix.com

“Jamix is the most innovative total kitchen system I’ve ever worked with”

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 2 Issue 3
March 2019

CulinaryNXT
200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405
203-415-9190

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

Burnt ends. Many of you reading know just what that means. And if you know what that means, you’re having happy burnt ends memories.

I was in Queens last week for a quick project. Luckily, I have a very good friend in Queens that did the driving. On the way he said we’re going to pass a BBQ joint with great burnt ends. And while I was executing my project, he was going to get some burnt ends. Oh baby! They were magnificent.

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

2019 NRA Kitchen Innovations Award

Jamix Kitchen Management Systems is the recipient of a 2019 NRA Kitchen Innovations Award. Full disclosure – I’ve been working closely with Jamix CEO Mikko Jaatinen since mid 2017. Jamix has set up business in the US. Boston to be precise and is establishing itself as the industry leader in kitchen management systems.

Jamix is the most innovative total kitchen system I’ve ever worked with. Not only is the functionality completely intuitive, it is also totally cloud-based. I use it for CulinaryNXT and I only need a computer, tablet or handheld to access all my culinary-centered data.

I’m personally very excited to see Jamix as a part of the Kitchen Innovations’ award group.

NAFEM 2019

After a hiatus I attended the 2019 NAFEM show in Orlando. Once there, I remembered why I enjoy NAFEM – I’m an equipment junkie. The show is like being a kid in a toy shop…just with BIG (and expensive) toys.

My key take-aways were: delivery/ bringing outdoors indoors/ robotics.

Delivery

The food delivery boom is on. Several manufacturers offered delivery solutions for food operators. Whether food needs to be kept hot or cold, there are multiple solutions. What delivery solutions don’t do is guide operators to offer delivery menus that eat well off-site. However, the ability to stabilize the service containers and keep food at appropriate service temperature is excellent.

Robotics

Robots will continue to find a place in foodservice. At NAFEM robot arms mixed and served drinks. Although these set ups seemed more inclined to create a wow effect rather than a solution (like the burger flipper at NRA many years ago), they will find their way into daily operations. I was in Boston recently and visited Spyce restaurant. The food is prepared by robots and is VERY good. From the  placing a food order on the kiosk you will have your hot food in 3 minutes. Daniel Boulud and a team of MIT grads  developed the concept. This is a restaurant where robots are in full production mode and the food is very good. NAFEM showed robots in additional settings and that they are going to be a part of our landscape. Incidentally, one of supermarkets in my town has a robot named Marty. It cruises the aisles and if it finds something on the floor at least a large as a quarter it generates a page to clean up in that aisle.

Outdoors Indoors

Very interesting to me was the effort of manufacturers to bring the outdoors indoors. The natural open-flame grills, wood-burning hearth ovens, charcoal-fired ovens, and  plant growing cabinets are now main-stream. Last year one of my predictions for foodservice was – Fire. That meant that the use of natural open-flame cooking will continue to grow. At NAFEM these types of equipment were front row.

The other piece of outdoors indoors looked like a glass-door refrigerator that was designed to grow microgreens or any other plants that could be used for food production. The implication of fresh wholesome food is clearly on display with this piece of equipment.

One other bonus. NAFEM is in Orlando in the dead of winter in New England and is a welcome day to get some warm weather!

Culinary & more…

Blending Meat with Other Ingredients

By now the industry has heard of the blended burger. The inception blended a specific amount of meat (beef) with mushroom duxelles. The result was beef that tasted better! The umami effect of the duxelles boosted the natural flavor of the beef and provided additional moisture. I was leading the culinary efforts at Yale and launched the blended burger as a regular menu item a couple of years ago.

Here’s a fresh blend that has really resonated. I call it a Philly Cheesesteak Burger. In this case it is made with Hungry Planet plant-based beef. In other words, it’s all vegan. I caramelized small diced onions and blended that with the plant-based meat. It was served with a toasted sesame seed bun, secret sauce, thinly sliced spicy dill pickle, vegan cheddar cheese, and fresh tomato. I loved it.

But don’t take my word for it. This was presented to a panel of tasters in NYC recently. Not only was it regarded as delicious, but most were doubtful that it was vegan…it was.

This isn’t about vegan food, directly. It’s about using daily ingredients to build and deliver delicious, and satisfying food. In this case it happens to be vegan, and I’m sure adding the caramelized onions to traditional beef will result in equally delicious results.

Ingredient of the Month

Potatoes

Yes, potatoes. Why? Because potatoes are not created equally. The obvious potatoes are baking potatoes and red skin potatoes. The first for, well, baking and the red for potato salad. The list of potatoes available to the professional chef is getting better. These potatoes are:

Mozart/Norland/Yukon Gold/Colomba/Ivory Russet/Burbank Russet/Sifra to name a few.

Potatoes have flavor characteristics such as: aroma/bitterness/sweetness/dry/solid matter/wateriness/waxy and of course flavor. Each potato’s special characteristics allow chefs to use potatoes that are best suited for the preparation application, and for the best taste to compliment the other ingredients in a recipe or menu.

Finally, fries are, arguably, king when talking about potatoes. Face it, we LOVE fries, but potatoes are extremely versatile and are naturally compatible with so many foods. From parsley buttered potatoes to pommes souffle, potatoes have a place at the table.

Cooking Tip

Using a Home Food Grinder

Freshly ground beef for a burger is almost a thing of the past. I still remember working in the local supermarket and watching the store’s butcher grind beef in a gigantic meat grinder. The look of that freshly ground meat stayed with me.

Fortunately, meat grinders are smaller and suitable for home use. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that a lot of people have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. If that’s true, then get a grinder attachment if you don’t already have one.

To get great ground meat, chicken, fish there are a couple of tips to ensure the meat is ground and not pureed through the grinding plate. Also, part nomenclature is probably worthwhile.

Parts:

  • Grinder housing – this is the part that attaches to the stand mixer.
  • Auger – this is the large “screw”-like part that slides horizontally into the grinder housing.
  • Knife – attaches to the end of the auger and actually cuts the meat before pushing through the grinder plate.
  • Grinder plate – a round heavy metal disk with holes. The plates come with different sized holes.
  • Collar or Retaining Ring – a heavy gauge metal or plastic that screws onto the end of the grinder housing to hold all parts in the housing.
  • Plunger – used to push meat, fish, poultry into the auger.

Tips to a great grind:

  • Have all ingredients and grinder parts chilled.
  • Cut all meat, fish or poultry into 1 ½” cubes.
  • Add cubed meat a few pieces at a time, press gently with plunger.

These tips will ensure the meat grinds evenly and doesn’t smash against the grinder plate. If your grind looks like a puree coming out, turn off, clean it all out and start again but this time only add a few pieces of cubed meat into the auger ensuring it grinds before adding more.

Now enjoy the best ground meat.

CulinaryNXT is a food service advisory practice drawing on Ron DeSantis’ 30 years of experience in all facets of the food industry.  Ron is one of only 70 Certified Master Chefs worldwide and has advised organizations of all sizes and types. His strengths include culinary innovation, menu and recipe development, culinary assessment, bottom-line results, and communication skills that allow him to implement solutions effectively.

CulinaryNXT’s base is in New Haven, but its reach is truly global. CulinaryNXT’s relationships extend to numerous countries around the world in a client and alliance network that has been built over many years. These relationships provide both global support and local knowledge.

JAMIX honored with 2019 Kitchen Innovations Award

National Restaurant Association Show® Announces the 2019 Kitchen Innovations® (KI) Award Recipients

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, this prestigious foodservice industry award recognizes innovative new equipment that delivers advancements in speed, efficiency, safety, and more.

(Chicago)— The National Restaurant Association Show today announces the recipients of the 2019 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards, honoring progressive equipment that increases efficiencies and productivity. Each recipient and each product honoree will be showcased in the interactive Kitchen Innovations Showroom at the 2019 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®, to be held May 18-21 in Chicago at McCormick Place. The KI Showroom allows attendees the opportunity see emerging back-of-house trends in one dedicated area.

The KI Awards program has earned a reputation for defining the gold standard of foodservice equipment innovations. “Forward-thinking and cutting-edge, this is the equipment that generates industry growth through a focus on factors such as automation, efficiency, safety improvements, sustainability, waste solutions, and more,” says Scott Redler, COO and co-founder of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and Co-Chair for the 2019 National Restaurant Association Show. “We are honored to showcase their dedication to the industry.”

Chosen by an independent panel of judges comprised of industry leaders and internationally recognized food facility consultants, multi-unit executives, and design experts, the 2019 KI Award recipients reflect the trends and topics most important to foodservice operators today – and showcase the future of the industry. The 25 selected award recipients address operator concerns including labor, inventory management, cleanliness, energy and water efficiency, food safety, sanitation, cross-functionality and space-saving measures.

JAMIX is one of the 2019 Kitchen Innovations Award recipients

Jamix
Kitchen Management System
Choosing KMS software can be challenging, but Jamix sets itself apart on several points. Whereas many offer recipe and menu management and costing, Jamix also ties in inventory management and procurement. Plus, it’s true cloud-based, and can be accessed with any browser, any operating system, any mobile device. Perhaps best of all, it’s extremely intuitive.

Read more on JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT software

See the 2019 KI Press Release

JAMIX will be exhibiting at the National Restaurant Association Show May 18-21 in Chicago

Visit us at the Kitchen Innovations Showroom or our booth 7075 to learn more about JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT software covering several sides of restaurant operations.

More information on the Show and registration at: show.restaurant.org

New England Food Show in Boston March 3-5, 2019

JAMIX will be exhibiting at New England Food Show in Boston March 3-5, 2019. Come and visit our booth 145 to learn more about comprehensive JAMIX software managing several sides of restaurant operations.

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT is a cutting edge restaurant software for managing any size and type of restaurant, catering business or other establishment within foodservice industry. Comprehensive JAMIX software manages several sides of restaurant operations including recipe management and costing, menu planning and nutritional analysis, inventory management and procurement. All this in one system and with all information seamlessly linked together.

Read more on JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT features:

Recipe Management and Costing

Menu Planning, Management and Costing

Restaurant Inventory Management and Procurement

Restaurant Chain Management

Food Production and Production Requisitions

 

Contact us for more information on JAMIX software

Kitchen management system supports sustainability and provides answers to consumer needs

 

At present, efficiency in the foodservice industry is a major problem. Estimates show food waste totaling 63-million tons per year across the supply chain, amounting to roughly 218-billion-dollars in waste.

 

Sustainability is a hot topic in the foodservice business, as well

– The food service industry is one of the largest employers in the United States as a whole. Everything we do has an impact on so much that takes place, states Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis. Food waste starts way down at the beginning of the food string. How we order things, what we order, are we using enough technology to help us see what the menu mix is, and order the right ingredients for the amount of food we need to prepare.

– Sustainability has to do with reducing and preserving or recycling resources. If we are able to protect the resources anywhere through the production and distribution and service of the food to the consumers, we’re impacting overall the environment and the economy in a significant way, explains Rafi Taherian, Associate Vice President, Yale Hospitality.

 

Consumers want information and transparency

The industry is also faced with evolving consumer demands. With concerns about diet and nutrition, food allergies or sensitivities, and sourcing of ingredients, consumers want want transparency in the food they consume.

– Consumers are aware of food through social media and other outlets, so they can see what’s going on in food and people want wholesome ingredients. We can track the boat that a fish came from, we can track vegetables back to their origin to the farmers. No matter what it is there are people behind all of this, making these foods for us on a daily basis. So that kind of transparency is very important. And I think it’s great for the industry across the board, reflects Ron DeSantis the current trends.

 

Technology provides benefits to restaurant operations comprehensively

– The food industry for many years relooked at the technology for better communication, better planning and better process efficiencies. We are using technology not only to gather information but to also create predictability of future performance. So technology has become a key aspect of operational needs, states Rafi Taherian.

Thanks to advances in technology, kitchen management systems now enable managers to have more control over food production, providing data for restaurants and their customers.

JAMIX is Finnish software company which has been developing and making software for professional kitchens for almost 30 years now.

– We have created a complete, versatile and dynamic software which can be used by any kind of restaurant or restaurant chain, tells Mikko Jaatinen, CEO JAMIX Inc, and continues:

– We have a totally web based system which is supported by apps which we can give to mobile phone users in the kitchen and take everyone on board to using the system, which is so easy to use with this modern technology. It is not just a tool for the managers, it is everyone’s tool in the kitchen every day.

– If you go to any supermarket today, you see more and more people looking at the labels – they are interested in what is in their food. You have to have that information in normal food you buy in the supermarkets. We provide that same data through our system to anyone who visits a restaurant. The ingredient list of a recipe, allergen information and dietary requirements. In addition, the program calculates automatically calories and other nutrients based on the recipes, explains Jaatinen the benefits of the software system.

Jamix software also calculates the carbon footprint, that is the CO2 value of recipes.

 

Managing items is easy with a restaurant management system

The restaurant inventory and management procurement software helps businesses manage all items easily in the system. It can automatically create purchase orders based on a menu and can then calculate quantities to be ordered, according to what is needed.

JAMIX software is also used in Kay’s Kitchen restaurant chain in Ireland. Bart Glover, Director of Kay’s Kitchen appreciates the benefits for their business:

– JAMIX software gave us the ability to price a plate of food and then be able to link that with back of house. To be able to control the quantities that we are buying.

Allowing recipes and menus to be managed by site, by chain, or by concept, provides the headquarters with control over costs and quality of food served throughout the chain.

– The JAMIX MOBILE allows senior staff members, like chefs and managers to make decisions on the spot, immediately. You can order inventory from our suppliers without having to go to fax machines or sending emails or making telephone calls, it is instant control, explains Bart Glover.

– JAMIX for me is the right type of kitchen system. By having the information there – recipes, ingredients, building menus, inventory control, tracking cost, having the real-time cost from purveyors come in – those are all tools that I can do to manage waste, to manage production and control energy usage. Everything comes from that ability, the right kind of technology. Having it centralized, for me is a very important tool and very important part of what the future of the food service industry is going to be about, summarizes Ron DeSantis.

With 30 years of experience within the foodservice industry, JAMIX continues its mission to make work in the restaurant kitchen easier.

 

JAMIX was featured in an episode of Innovations with Ed Begley Jr., broadcasted on October 27, 2018 on Fox Business channel. Innovations is an award-winning television series hosted by actor, director and environmentalist, Ed Begley Jr., and is dedicated to bringing viewers the most up-to-date, cutting edge information across a vast array of industries. From health and wellness to global business, renewable energy, and more, Innovations features practical solutions and important issues facing consumers and professionals alike. More information: innovationstelevision.com

Innovations featuring JAMIX on Fox Business Oct 27, 2018

Jupiter, FL—Innovations with Ed Begley, Jr. will broadcast on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 5:00p ET via Fox Business. Check your local listings for more information.

Learn how Spruce Capital Partners is helping producers make the food system more sustainable and responsible to consumer demands as Innovations explores recent developments in crop technologies. Viewers will learn how products like Amfora, and others within Spruce Capital’s portfolio of companies, is enhancing nutritional value of food and feed crops.

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT is a cutting-edge restaurant software for managing any size and type of restaurant, catering business, or other establishment within the foodservice industry. This segment will feature how JAMIX’s comprehensive software manages several sides of restaurant operations, including recipe management and costing, menu planning and nutritional analysis, inventory management, procurement, and more.

Watch to explore Easy Energy Systems, Inc. (EES), a company dedicated to producing new solutions that will reduce dependency on fossil fuels, reduce pollution, and improve the lives of people throughout the world. The show will look at how EES designs, manufactures, operates and sells its patented 1M, 2M, and 5M gallon-per-year, small-scale, modular biorefineries called Modular Energy Production Systems (MEPS®) for the production of alternative liquid biofuels and biogas from organic waste streams.

In response to the lack of truly natural skincare options, Innovations will explore Enso Beauty Company and will educate viewers on its 100-percent USDA certified organic beauty products, which are known for its high-performance and for having zero trace of toxins and irritants.

“From food service to beauty care and beyond, developments in science technology truly are truly transforming our world and enabling us to do more with less,” said Will Spilecki, senior producer for the Innovations television series. “We are excited to feature these innovative ideas on our show.”

###

About Innovations & DMG Productions:
Innovations, hosted by award winning actor Ed Begley, Jr., is an information-based series geared toward educating the public on the latest breakthroughs in all areas of society. Featuring practical solutions and important issues facing consumers and professionals alike, Innovations focuses on cutting-edge advancements in everything from health and wellness to global business, renewable energy, and more.

Backed by experts in various fields, and a team dedicated to education and advancement, DMG Productions consistently produces commercial-free, educational programming on which both viewers and networks depend.

For more information visit: www.InnovationsTelevision.com or contact (866) 496-4065.

70 years of free school meals in Finland

By Anna Skyttä, Marketing Director

First in the world to introduce free school meals

In 1943, Finland was the first country in the world to introduce a legislation on free school meals. The legislation aimed at offering a free meal on each school day for all elementary school students in 5 years’ time. The legislation also ruled that the students had to grow and harvest food on their spare time in order to have ingredients in the school canteen. One example of contributing to school meals was that each student had to bring 2 litres / 70 oz of lingonberries to school. The berries were then used for a porridge made of rye and lingonberries, which was a common dish at that time.

 

School dining is not only about nutrition

After the 5 year transition time, starting in 1948, students in elementary schools started to get free meals. Typical dishes at that time included different types of porridges and soups. The legislation has naturally been modified during the decades. Still the core purpose of free school meals stays the same, and that is to provide nutrition to students. In addition, nowadays also the educational and social aspects of school dining are in focus. When dining together, the children learn both social and interactive skills as well as to take others into consideration. School dining provides also education on food culture, good manners and appreciation of food. And these days the students no longer have to grow or harvest food for school. Instead, they now have the right to contribute by providing feedback on the food that is served.

 

Kitchen management system makes work in the school canteen easier

Today nearly 1 million children and adolescents in Finland enjoy a free meal served each and every school day. Free meals are financed with taxes and the communities are in charge of providing the meals to students. In order to ensure the nutritional content of meals and to be able to cook food according to a given cost structure, most of the school canteens in Finland utilize a kitchen management system. In addition to nutritional and financial aspects, a software system keeps all the recipes in store and makes it easy to plan menus. From the system you can even publish weekly menus online for the students and their parents.

Most of the school meals are cooked either partly or entirely in commissary kitchens and then delivered to individual schools. A kitchen management system enables the schools to create production requisitions to the commissary kitchen. The commissary kitchen will then be able to see all requisitions in the system for production. The system also calculates the need for ingredients based on menus or production requisitions which makes ordering quick and easy. Over half of the communities in Finland use JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT software for managing their food service operations comprehensively, including school dining.

 

From soups and porridges to a diversity of dishes

In seven decades the school menus have become more versatile compared to the early years. When I was in school, my favorite dishes included spinach soup, spinach pancakes and fish fingers. Chicken fricassee was one of the undesirable meals on my list. My school years are already far behind but both my favorites and least favorites can be found on the top 10 school meals of all time in Finland (Source: Fazer Foodservice poll 2018):

  1. Meatballs and mashed potatoes
  2. Macaroni casserole
  3. Spinach pancakes
  4. Fish fingers
  5. Chicken curry with rice
  6. Vegetable patties
  7. Chicken fricassee
  8. Porridges
  9. Soups
  10. Pasta dishes

 

Reducing Food Waste will save you money and make your environmental footprint smaller

by Tuulia Heiskanen, Trainer

Food is thrown away every day in households, restaurants and the industry as well as already at the producers. You probably throw away large quantities of food yearly yourself, without even noticing it. Most of this food waste is a result of both unmade plans, but also of not following the plans that have been made. When you cook food in advance for more than one day, as you often do, you might end up eating something else the next day just out of an impulse. After a while, the ready made meals or untouched out-of-date packs are on their way from the fridge into the garbage bin. So there is a place for improvement.

I looked at some statistics on food waste and on the impact it has. Here are some figures:

  • One third of all food produced is lost or wasted (Source: FAO)
  • 150.000 tons of food is wasted each day in the United States (Source: The Guardian)
  • Households are responsible for almost half of the food wasted, but restaurants and other food service operations build up a notable 25 % share, as well (Source: Statista). Food waste could be avoided by better forecasting, or by preparing and storing food in another way.
  • Food that is produced for nothing puts a load both on the economy and the environment. Environmental effects are huge: the carbon footprint related to food waste is almost as big as the road transport emissions globally (Source: FAO).

Food waste is something that we most probably cannot get rid of completely, but it is clear that there is a need to reduce it.

 

New goals and legislation planned for reducing food waste

Fortunately the excessive amounts of food waste have been noticed in the past couple of years. The UN Sustainable Development Goals include cutting down food waste in half on the retail and consumer levels by the year 2030, as well as significantly reducing food waste within the whole production-distribution chain. Reaching the goals requires functional tools for continuous monitoring and reducing of food waste. Reaching the goal set by the UN, that is cutting down the food waste in half in a decade’s time, requires involvement from each food producer, business, retail store, restaurant and consumer.

Legislation needs to support the reduction of food waste. In France there is a legislation that forbids tossing food in retail stores and restaurants. Legislation really should be revised: The other day I heard from the radio that a part of food goes to waste already at the producers. This is caused almost solely by too strict quality standards for products: If the appearance of an item is not according to the standard, it doesn’t qualify to be sold in a store and it gets thrown away.

In addition to legislation, you need to educate people both at home and at work places, and provide tips and tools for reducing food waste. In Finland the Consumer’s Union has taken a grip on this and the national Food Waste Week is being arranged already the sixth time this year. The campaign aims at encouraging everybody in reducing food waste and at the same time increasing the appreciation of food by providing information and practical tips. The campaign welcomes businesses and organizations as partners, and JAMIX has also been participating the Food Waste Week for several years now.

 

Restaurant management system helps in reducing food waste

As mentioned before, the lack of planning or the lack of systematic practises cause a major part of food waste. This applies both to households and to restaurants or other food service operations. Just implementing a kitchen management system with basic functionalities often already results in reduced food waste. But you can also maximize the benefits of the system with regards food waste by exploring it more extensively, and utilizing all the functionalities provided.

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT system provides a great menu planning tool along with procurement management, which together aim at the best possible match between the amount of prepared food and the sales or consumption. The amount of diners and the portion sizes are easy to plan on the menu, and the program will automatically calculate the right amounts for recipes to be produced. The program creates a shopping list based on the menu, so you will have the exact need for ingredients for producing the meals on the menu. When you compare the list to the existing inventory, you will avoid ordering excessive amounts of ingredients which could end up in wastage.

In JAMIX software, you can also register the sales and wastage on the menu. This enables you to check the figures next time you are producing the same recipe, how much was produced for a certain amount of diners, how much was consumed and how much was left over. This makes updating of portion sizes on the menu easier. You can even let the program update the portion sizes automatically based on the sales and wastage registered in the system.

In addition to well executed menu planning, the inventory management functionalities in restaurant management systems and separate HACCP systems support food waste management. Inventory balance monitoring and inventory-take are useful tools in preventing out-of-date items from ending up in wastage, and by setting par levels for items you can prevent excessive ordering.

Customer feedback is another good tool for preventing food waste. Through collecting feedback either with a restaurant management system or otherwise, by listening to it and taking it into consideration in menu planning you can both increase your sales and prevent food waste.

By not producing food for nothing, or by not having out-of-date items to be tossed away, has an impact on the environment as well as on the costs for a kitchen. Ingredients are the biggest individual cost for a kitchen in addition to labour costs, and by forecasting the amount of food to be produced as precisely as possible and by monitoring the wastage you will quickly gain savings. The reduction of food waste might be pushed by legislation in the years to come, so it is worth while to start giving it a thought already now.

Kitchen manager – when is the last time you updated your menu?

by Salla Arffman, Trainer

”Well planned is half done” is a valid statement concerning menus, as well, and I dare to say that this is something everyone has noticed also in your kitchen at home. How nice it is to come home after a hard day at work, and know beforehand the answer to the following question: What are we going to have today?

In the professional kitchen the menu is one of the most critical elements of the operations. The menu defines the items and services offered to the customers, it provides the framework for the following weeks, days and shifts to come, and partly even specifies the tasks for the kitchen staff. For this reason, the menus need to be planned carefully and the impact of the menu evaluated in a broad perspective.

The basis for menu planning should come from the business idea of the organization, as well as from customer needs and expectations, and available resources. The objectives for different types of professional kitchens are different from each other and the quantities of food prepared vary from batches as much as thousands of pounds, down to single dishes, and this has to be taken into consideration also when planning the menu.

We know that when you have planned your menus successfully you can save time and money, and it has a huge impact on customer satisfaction, but it also has effect on the company image and on the employees’ well-being. The menu is one of the management tools, it leads the organization into the right direction and defines the need for staff. Menu plans are not successful if the equipment capacity and the human resources are continuously overloaded.

So you need to plan your menu carefully, but it also needs to be dynamic in this ever changing world. The availability of ingredients varies, new items keep popping up all the time and the food trends change. This is why you can actually never stop planning, and a good menu is flexible, as well.

 

The basis for menu planning in restaurants and institutional kitchens

The menus of restaurants and institutional kitchens differ from each other, so the focus needs to be different in different types of professional kitchens.

In a restaurant the business idea pretty much determines the content of the menu, and you can communicate the company values with the menu. The amount of customers might vary substantially and in addition to lunch you often serve dinner and à la carte dishes, for which the ingredient costs and cooking methods might be completely different. When the food is prepared in the same space, and often even by the same people, you need to aim at building your menu so that the ingredients, the equipment capacity and the human resources can be utilized efficiently. When choosing a restaurant, the customer makes his/her decision specifically based on the menu, and this is why the menu should be appealing and interesting to the customer.

In an institutional kitchen the basis for menu planning comes from the nutritional guidelines, the amount of diners and the ingredient costs. Menus are often rotating, and it will be easier to predict both the need for ingredients and the work schedule for the coming weeks, and to make sure that the same dishes are not recurring on the menu too often. If the customer base for the institutional kitchen is wide (ranging from toddlers to seniors), you need to plan the menu so that it can be utilized broadly to different customer groups. Equipment capacity and human resources have a big impact especially when planning the menu for an institutional kitchen, and new production methods enable utilizing the resources more efficiently. Gone are the days, when in an institutional kitchen you prepared lunch in the morning and the kitchen was empty for the rest of the day.

Whether we are talking about a restaurant or an institutional kitchen, when planning the menu, you should pay attention to the availability of ingredients, seasonal items, sustainability, food safety and of course the customer expectations and the company policies.

You can never be sure which dish will be a success, and even if a dish was popular in the summer time, it might stay untouched in the winter time. Furthermore, the customers appreciate variation as much as they appreciate stability, so the menu planning remains to be constant balancing between these two.

 

Restaurant management systems as a part of menu planning

Planning your menus with software systems is what you do today. Customers demand for more information on the nutritional aspects of food, allergens and ingredients, and the software systems enable providing this information quickly and effortlessly. Already building a week’s menu without a software system is exhausting, if you want to provide the customer with any other information than the name of the dish.

A restaurant management system enables you to:

  • monitor the nutritional values on your menu and compare them to the nutritional guidelines
  • do costing
  • estimate portion sizes and the amounts of diners, and print for instance your shopping list or instructions based on them
  • follow sales and wastage of food

Time will tell, how software systems evolve and what kind of impact it will have on menu planning in the future. You will be able to provide more information related to the meals and maybe artificial intelligence will revolutionize the whole functionality, and the software will suggest changes to the menu based on customer feedback, wastage, availability of ingredients and nutritional guidelines. While waiting for this to happen, deciding on the dishes to be served is still the task of the menu planner.

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT provides far-stretched visibility towards customers, as well.

Xamk catering services of South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences includes seven restaurants in total, located in four different cities. All restaurants provide lunch and coffeehouse services, as well as catering services for Xamk students and personnel and for other customers, as well. JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT software is utilized in Xamk both as an everyday tool as well as for customer communication

Xamk Restaurant Services Manager Minna-Mari Mentula says she is happy with the co-operation with JAMIX:
– JAMIX has been used in Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences already since 2013. We used to have another management system but we wanted to change to a more agile one.

”JAMIX is an everyday tool for restaurant managers and for those who make purchase orders”

Restaurant Manager for restaurant Kasarmina, Margit Neuvonen states that JAMIX is an unbeatable tool and you just couldn’t work without it. Not a day without JAMIX goes by, you’ve got to have it!

Easy to share your menu with customers

– JAMIX system is visible to customers, as well. In each of our restaurants, we have a JAMIX MENU display terminal located at the entrance, from which the customer can see the menu of the day. In addition, at restaurant Kasarmina we have a smart lunch line which is just another example of JAMIX’s compatibility with digitalization and practicality. In the smart lunch line customers can see the nutrient content of the food they have taken on their plate, tells Restaurant Manager Margit Neuvonen and summarizes:
Extremely far-stretched visibility towards customers.