HH Ravintolat is a restaurant chain including different types of restaurants, such as restaurant Iso Paja in Helsinki offering lunch and catering services, and Panorama Bistro located in Europe’s busiest port in Helsinki West Harbour where the menu includes sandwiches and warm dishes prepared on the spot.
Consistency and efficiency for recipe management
– For me the best thing about JAMIX is that we can keep our recipes stored and in good order, tells Henri Häkkinen, the entrepreneur of HH Ravintolat.
– Selection of the active items on the menu varies but when we store the recipes in the system, we can bring passive items back on the menu because we will remember that we have good items in store.
– We want to offer a good and genuine experience to our customers, whether you’re visiting our restaurant Iso Paja or one of our cafés or bistros at the ports. We use JAMIX software for efficiency and maintaining regular practices. In this way, we can create recipes and make sure that the food is always made the same way, when we come up with a good idea.
Help for pricing and planning
– I like JAMIX because it makes pricing easier. I can see the ingredient costs in the system and when I calculate some labour costs there on top, I am able to price better, explains Teija Majanen, the restaurant manager of Iso paja.
– It is great that you can predict and make long-term planning. And then, if needed, you can still make changes. And it speeds up ordering.
Better customer experience
– With JAMIX we are able to control what we are selling and we have all the necessary information on the items and ingredients, and it’s available for the customer, as well, summarizes Henri Häkkinen the benefits of the system and Teija continues: We serve vegan food and have a relatively new set of recipes for that. We can store the recipes and keep track of all the allergens, and get an overview of the food with the help of JAMIX.
– Through all these we can offer better customer service, and have menus with regular variation. And as a result it is nice to have lunch at our restaurants, states Henri.
– And then this program is user-friendly, as well. I can use and manage the program well, even though I haven’t had any specific IT training, praises Teija the system.
Menu planning is one of the essential jobs in food service operations as the menu defines both the customer offering and the internal processes.
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.
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.
Aleksia is a public utility providing foodservices for over 40.000 people in the Finnish community of Nurmijärvi. Aleksia’s services include daily meals for children in pre-schools and elementary schools, for employees of the community and for senior citizens at care facilities. In addition, Aleksia provides catering services for meetings and events.
– JAMIX streamlines restaurant operations by assisting us in preparing right amounts of food and odering right things at the right time, tells Teija Määttä who is the Food Production Advisor at Aleksia Food and Cleaning Services.
”Good and tasty food of high quality”
– We have 12 commissary kitchens, and in total there are 50 sites where food is served and consumed. We prepare 14.000 meals per day. Each kitchen used to have their own recipes and own ingredients, so the quality of food probably varied. Now we are able to produce food of uniform quality and everyone is aware of the ingredients a certain meal contains, explains Teija Määttä.
The program provides time savings while taking care of critical calculations
– It would be impossible to manage this number of kitchens and sites without a kitchen management software. The program saves time as it calculates order quantities for us. You don’t need to gather any paper sheets or notes and calculate what and how much needs to be ordered, summarizes Teija Määttä the benefits of the system.
Menu in a mobile application
– Thanks to the free JAMIX MENU mobile application our customers can browse the menus of schools and kindergartens on their smart phones. In addition to the menu content, ingredients and nutritional values are available in the application. Our kitchens that serve meals utilize the mobile application, as well – it works as a tool for them as it contains the latest and correct information about the food, says Määttä.
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 Intelligence System is utilized in Xamk both as an everyday tool in the kitchen 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 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.
The obvious customer information is menu prices, but many customers want nutrition and allergen information that is easily available. This is one of the topics in the following newsletter by Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis.
During my first hand writing a newsletter a couple of years ago, I called the newsletter, “Come On Already!” This is something you’d hear me say for a variety of occasions – something amazing, something ridiculous, something unbelievable (to me anyway), and….you get the idea. I hadn’t realized I used this phrase until a trip to Spain some years ago and my host wondered why I said that, well because, it doesn’t make sense when translated. But, everyone gets the gist.
Here’s this month’s Come On Already!…give me feedback.
Are Small Plates Too Small?
Small plates are a fun way to eat. A group of friends get together and order a variety of small plates to share and experience flavor & textures. However, at some point the small plates are just too small. How do 4 people share 3 shrimp? The answer is, you have to order a second small plate of shrimp. Now I have 2 more shrimp, but that’s not too bad because I can cut them in half and each gets ½ shrimp. But, wait, who gets the tail and who gets the fat juicy end? But, you say, why not split the last 2 shrimp lengthwise?….why not indeed. When did dining become so complicated????
Master Chef Insights
Allergen & Nutrition Information
Providing customers with information allows them to make decisions when eating in our establishments. The obvious customer information is menu prices, but many customers want nutrition and allergen information that is easily available. My recent years in College & University foodservice underscored the importance of nutrition and allergen information. The customer population with food allergies must know what is in food.
Kitchen management systems provide managers with the tools to get critical allergen information to customers. Menu cards can be printed or digitally displayed at the point of access to provide diners with allergen information. This information is displayed as a list of ingredient and, in many cases, as icons. The icons are a great visual graphic that allows the diner to quickly scan the known allergens that might be in the food.
Nutritional information is the other piece of information diners use to make meal choices. Kitchen management systems can upload this information to mobile device apps so that the customer can see the information at any time.
I finally realized that I’m a geek…..a food geek. My recent collaboration with CIA Consulting and lentils.org made me realize I’m a geek, otherwise why get excited over lentils!? And I was/am excited over lentils. Together with certified master chef Tony Seta, we lead a group of top chefs through a series of talks, tastes, and team hacks to come up with delicious lentil-forward menu items.
The project yielded some interesting outcomes. The biggest surprise for me was that lentils blend well with ground beef. I went in thinking the lentil flavor would be dominant but in a 66:33 ratio the beef was the star and the lentil helped to make the burgers delicious. Green lentils (which look brown) also blended well with turkey, and pork, and red lentils were delicious with salmon.
Our process was to cook the green lentils, then puree them and use the puree to mix with ground meat. Red lentils were only soaked, then pureed and mixed with salmon.
The participants were set up into teams and given a market basket of ingredients to use. Teams created signature burgers, inspirational bowls, and craveable street food. For more information visit www.lentils.org
Cooking with light is at the core of the Brava cooking system. The light comes from powerful light bulbs inside the Brava. The power of the light can professionally caramelize meats and vegetables in a short time. The result is seared food cooked to a perfect predetermined doneness. And the food is delicious.
I was able to experience the Brava in action recently in Manhattan. The CEO, CTO, and Chef were in NY to demonstrate the technology. I got there as a 4 portion beef strip was being served with roasted potatoes and seared mushrooms. Here’s the coolest part – all 3 ingredients were cooked AT THE SAME TIME, and each was perfectly done. As if that wasn’t enough, the chef then cooked 2 portions of salmon filet with roasted tomatoes and asparagus. The salmon skin was cracker-crisp and the center of the fish was medium (as requested).
The process includes 3 cooking zones inside the Brava and technology that knows how much light intensity and time is needed for each ingredient. And the Brava has a video feed of the food cooking. I’m going to keep an eye on Brava. For more information www.brava.com
Chef Owner of East Wind Snack Shop NYC & Tansuo in Nashville.
Chris Cheung – cool guy, excellent chef, and mafioso! He’s all that and more. I first saw Chris on Anthony Bourdain’s show No Reservations in a Chinese restaurant in NYC’s China Town. THAT’S how cool Chris is. I got to spend time with Chris while taping cooking videos for Hormel Foods. Then I interviewed Chris for a Cooking Journey podcast also for Hormel Foods. Talking with Chris is like talking with a good friend. The conversation flows, the talk of food is always in the center and you find out quickly that Chris knows food.
Chris has SERIOUS culinary chops – Jean George Vongerichten, Morimoto, Wylie Dufresne – are notable chefs he as cooked with. He has traveled China to learn about Chinese cuisine, and he worked alongside a Master Chinese dim sum chef to fully understand the craft of creating dim sum.
Yale 3rd Cook, Chef Humberto Espinal took top honors at the 2018 NACUFS National Culinary Championship. This is especially meaningful to me for several reasons. Foremost is because Humberto is one of those joyful success stories. 6 years ago while I was Director of Culinary Excellence at Yale Hospitality, I had to inform Humberto that I couldn’t hire him without a high school diploma or GED. It was one of the most difficult messages I had to deliver. It was difficult because Humberto was, and is, a craftsman and I knew he would give everything to our craft. I told him to call me when he has his diploma.
2 ½ years after that meeting, Humberto called me to say he got his GED! His timing was right because we had a cook’s position open and Humberto was now on the Yale culinary team. Over the next couple of years, Humberto continued to hone his craft and this year he wanted to compete to represent Yale Hospitality at NACUFS.
The rest, they say, is history! Congratulations Humberto to your Championship!
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 68 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 Kitchen Intelligence System is a comprehensive software for restaurants and foodservice operations where nutrition information is seamlessly linked to your recipes and further to menus.