Profitability Food Service Restaurant

Tips For Improving The Profitability Of Your Food Service Operation

By Anna Skyttä

Profitability is a precondition for operations and continuity regardless of the industry you are in. At a minimum, a profitable operation ensures that you can cover costs, and pay for your employees. Profitability that rises above the minimum level enables you to improve your operation through investments. Related to restaurant or food service operations, external factors influencing the profitability are often brought up. Such as the costs for the property, costs related to your employees, taxation, and competition, to name a few.

You cannot deny the influence of the external factors. Still there are many factors that are within the operator’s scope of influence. The right sized margin enables you to cover the necessary costs, and by minimizing waste you can make savings. And you shouldn’t have too much of ingredients lying in your inventory, as it ties up your capital. There are a lot of details related to all of these, which enable you to fine tune your profitability and make it better. And as we know, small streams have their own significance in the big picture.

Margin Calculation Forms The Base For Profitable Operations

menu online - JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence SystemThe margin is what is left in between the sales price and the costs. With the profitability in mind, you should always define a target level for the margin. Often the target margin is defined in percentage. Some times it might make more sense to define it in dollars.

You are often forced to set the sales price following the market situation or the competitors’ pricing. In order to reach your target margin the costs should not go over a certain price point. If the target margin cannot be reached with the current costs and you cannot raise the sales price, you need to find out if you can reduce the costs in some way. For example by changing some ingredient or supplier into another. If you are not forced to set the sales price into a certain level, you can calculate it based on your costs and the target margin. So depending on the type of operation or the competition, you can look at the margin calculation from different perspectives.

The margin calculation is basically quite simple mathematics. Simple can still become complex or at least challenging if there’s a lot of information to be managed in the background. A kitchen system will help you with this, as it calculates the costs and margins for recipes, portions or whole menus automatically and accurately. With the system it is also easy to experiment how different sales prices effect on the margin, or how different sized margins effect on the sales price.

Profitability Through Optimizing The Menu Items And The Portion Sizes

Serving JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

The food that is left uneaten on the customer’s plate ends up in waste. This waste equals to ingredients, that have been prepared for nothing and tossed away in the end. However, these ingredients have already created costs and weakened your margin. So the food waste coming from the customers’ plates eats up your profitability in addition to putting strain on the environment.

In order to reduce the food waste from the leftovers you should look into your menu items, as well as the portion sizes. Is there some part of the dish that is left uneaten more often than others? If it is left uneaten completely, you might consider replacing it with something else or leave it out altogether. If it is left uneaten partly, you might reduce the amount of it in the portion. In a service line operation the previously mentioned are similarly valid for reducing the waste from the service line, and partly for reducing the leftovers on the plates, as well. For reducing the leftovers on the plates in a service line setting, reminding the customers to ’take only what you can eat’ is important, as well.

When you have the recipes and the menu items in a kitchen system, it is easy to make changes to them. When you change the portion size, the system automatically calculates the ingredients, the costs and the margins according to the new portion size. If you want to experiment a menu item or a recipe with a modified content, you can copy the original one as a base for the new version. This makes it easy to create a new version, and the original will still be available in the system, as well.

Sales Forecast To Promote Profitability

Menu Items JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence SystemWhen you are able to forecast sales as close as possible to the actual sales, you won’t be ordering too much of ingredients or preparing too much of food. The first mentioned will help you to reduce wastage in the inventory, and the latter wastage from the leftovers. Sales data from the past is often useful when forecasting future sales. When you have that data in your kitchen system, you can easily utilize it for planning. In the JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System you can easily utilize sales data from the past directly as the production quantities on the upcoming menu.

Despite precise and accurate forecasts, every now and then you experience situations, where the previously made plans are not valid anymore. With regards profitability, especially a need to downsize your forecast might lead to excessive amounts of ingredients ordered or excessive amounts of food prepared. In the JAMIX System you can easily make changes to the portion amounts even at the last minute. The system will automatically calculate the need for ingredients according to the new portion amount. If you made the changes before ordering ingredients, you will be able to order the right amount of them. If the need for changes turns up just before production, you can easily adjust the production quantities with the system.

Drive Profitability By Taking Control Of Your Food Inventory

Food Inventory JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence SystemWhen you are able to keep the quantity of the food items in the inventory at a level corresponding to the need, excessive capital won’t be tied up in the inventory. You could utilize that capital for something that develops your business. When the inventory balance is at an appropriate level you shouldn’t be experiencing problems coming from outdated items. JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System automatically calculates the need for ingredients based on the portion sizes and the portion quantities on you menu. You can use the shopping list directly as a base for you orders in the system. This makes it easy to order ingredients just according to your need.

The system helps you to stay up-to-date with the food items you have in the inventory. When you register deliveries, as well as withdrawals in the system, you will have the real-time inventory balance right on your screen. If you have several storage locations, the benefit of the system is emphasized even more. In addition to registering withdrawals related to production, it is important to register the wastage that originates in the inventory. Waste can be generated for many different reasons. When you register those reasons in the system, it is easier to get a grip of the big picture. Monitoring waste coming from the inventory enables you to set targets for reducing wastage. And less wastage drives you to better profitability.

A Kitchen System Increases Efficiency Which Leads To Improved Profitability

JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

A kitchen system is a great tool for managing the previously mentioned things, which already improve profitability as such. Utilizing systems and technology comprehensively in the kitchen operations increases efficiency. In addition to the earlier mentioned costs related to ingredients and wastage, technology brings savings related to your staff. With the help of a system, you can perform many tasks in the kitchen simply faster, and partly even automatically. This reduces the need for staff related to those tasks. The system also reduces the amount of possible human errors. This in its part enables your operation to run more fluently.

In the labor intensive food service industry you should utilize the possibilities of technology to the fullest. In the kitchen there are still a lot of things to do, which the systems or the equipment cannot handle. If you are able to delegate part of your work to technology, you will have more time for the tasks which it cannot do for you … as decide, which means you want to implement in your restaurant in order to improve the profitability.

cost control kitchen software - JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

Kitchen Management Software Provides Tools For Cost Control

Cost control is one notable benefit you get from using a kitchen management software system. Costs are linked to several functions in the commercial kitchen. Orders, menu planning and inventory – they all play their own role in kitchen cost control.

By Matleena Autio

The Covid 19 pandemic has definitely had an impact on all of us, one way or another. In the turn of the year few of us could guess, that a new type of corona virus identified in China would have an impact on the whole world in this scale. At the moment the tightest restrictions are being removed in Europe and it seems possible that the restaurants will be opened step by step in the beginning of summer. Even if most of the societal functions slowed down or stopped completely due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, many public food service operations have been functioning almost as before despite the restrictions. Food is being prepared and served ongoingly in hospitals and different types of service facilities. Large amount of schools have also maintained food services in some form.

Benefits of kitchen management software?

Luckily the pandemic has had only little effect on my own life. The biggest challenges seem to have been related to scheduling and serving food – despite the fact, that I have got a decade of working experience in commercial kitchens. When you have to arrange food twice a day into the same table, which during this state of emergency has also been working as my office desk, I have many times missed the routines that are familiar from working life. Often that essential ingredient needed for preparing a certain meal has been missing from my pantry. Or some item has expired, even if I thought that I just bought it a few days earlier. Money and time is wasted – I know, that in the commercial kitchen setting this type of activity would not be appreciated.

”JAMIX is like a multi-tasking employee” is a quote from Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis – in my case maybe a colleague, whom I’ve been missing. With JAMIX it is easy to plan your menus so, that you won’t be accidentally serving soup on five meals in a row (as happened to me). The system also helps you in ordering the right amount of ingredients at the right time – so that you don’t have to replace a part of the wheat flour with corn flour (this has happened to me, as well). Oh, I also managed to ruin one pot of soup, because of slipping too much salt in it. If I had followed a standardized recipe and measured my seasoning, this would not have happened.

With the Food Bank functionality in the JAMIX system you can take food that has been prepared earlier into consideration when planning production. In its part, it helps in minimizing food waste. I missed this function for communicating to my youngsters, that the casserole I made the day earlier was really meant for being heated and consumed.

Kitchen software helps in cost control and saves time

Even if, little by little, life starts to get back to normal, many things have changed. And in many aspects the work is just beginning. Economical effects of the pandemic are extensive and we need new innovations. Luckily, ”old buddies” can help a lot, as well. Kitchen management software system helps in cost control in many ways. You can minimize food waste when you make orders based on the portion sizes and portion amounts, that you have planned on your menu – as well as based on the real inventory balance versus gut feeling.

In addition, the post-production function helps you in serving your customers food they prefer. It also enables you to predict the real sales or consumption of different menu items. For example, mac and cheese might be more popular among students compared to baked beans. This is worth taking into consideration when setting the portion sizes. You don’t have to start planning special diet foods each morning from the scratch, as the kitchen system provides you the information regarding special diets: For which special diets the menu items of the day are suitable, and what special diet foods still need to be prepared. In addition to costs, a notable amount of time is saved, which generates cost savings, as well.

We at JAMIX are ready to help, when it is time to roll your sleeves again. Let us find together, how the system can help your business in the best way. Together we are more.

Food production planning becomes the roadmap to getting things done

Food production planning in a foodservice setting aims at preparing the menu. It is linked to several key functions starting from orders. This is one of the topics in the following newsletter by Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis.

Food Is Just the Beginning™
by Ron DeSantis

Volume 2 Issue 2
February 2019

200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405

Come On, Already!

So, the carrots intended for oblique cut carrots are the size of little league baseball bats. Now what!? In that split second of silence the youngest chef in the room says, “tourné?” Now all eyes are on the Chef (me). Everyone is thinking – is he going to freak out???

Nope, just start tourné.


Master Chef Insights

Production Planning

Food production planning is one of the most important functions of a foodservice operation. This function directly impacts operational costs. With a food production plan, the culinary team knows quantities needed for each day’s operation. Production planning also ensures that staffing is adequate, that food is in-house, early preparation steps are done, foods are thawed properly, and many other functions are completed.

Production Planning success is linked to several key functions of a foodservice operation:

  • Menu development
  • Date of event
  • Number of guests
  • Standard of service
  • Recipe development
  • Ingredient sourcing
  • Food orders
  • Staffing requirements
  • Preparation timeline
  • Plating diagrams
  • Service line set up diagram
  • Posted job/task schedules

A Production Planning Framework will generally focus on the following functions:

  • Food orders
  • Staffing requirements
  • Preparation timeline
  • Plating diagrams
  • Service line set up diagram
  • Posted job/task assignments

At the end of this newsletter is a comprehensive “Production Planning” paper.

Culinary & more…

Flavor & The Menu 2019 Trend Report

The 2019 Flavor & The Menu magazine top 10 trends is available on-line.

Flavor & The Menu looks at the food industry through flavor. This is the foundation of why we cook food. I’ve been included in this very talented group of industry professionals. The link about will take you to the website and is a great starting place to explore the world of flavor.

Our Food Journey by Hormel Foods

Old-world Knowledge is a wonderful story and podcast  from Hormel Foods featuring Columbus Craft Meats’ Evan Inada. Evan is “The Salami Guy” and when you start talking about cured meats with him, it becomes obvious why this name suits him. In the podcast Evan shares important information about traditional salami such as “can you eat the white outside of salami?” The answer is, yes. But there’s so much more to learn about salami.

Please click on the link to read and listen.

Porturken for Super Bowl 53

If I had a newsletter around this time last year, you would have known about my Super Bowl 52, 52 Ingredient Sandwich for Hormel Foods. That baby was the size of a full sheet pan (18” x 26”) and weighed 52 lbs. It didn’t have a name but could have been 523. The 52 was a hit with the media pit at the Mall of America and got several on-air shout outs.

This year I kept ingredients at a more manageable level. After brainstorming with creative friends and churning through a bunch of different ideas, the one that resonated with the Hormel team was – Porturken.

Porturken is a perfect party dish for a big event like Super Bowl. It’s hearty, very satisfying, and has something for everyone. Here’s the breakdown:

A foundation of Black Label Bacon Grits and Mexican street corn holds a skewered tower of (from the tower foundation):

  • Fire-braised pork shoulder
  • Roasted cauliflower steak
  • Fire-braised turkey breast
  • Grilled vadalia onion steak
  • Fire-braised chicken breast
  • Dill pickle

This is brought together with red-eye gravy and a Tabasco aioli.

This is a Super Bowl crowd pleaser. And great fun with food.

Ingredient of the Month


The world of food never ceases to please me. Food is an on-going learning experience. ‘nduja is just another great ingredient that is a fun experience. It is something like spreadable salami with a spicy kick. I’m discovering that the preparation is flexible and that it’s made from fresh or cured meats. As with most cured meats, it’s packed with flavor and you don’t need a lot to be satisfying.

‘nduja is great spread on bread or used as an ingredient in recipes. I recently spread ‘nduja on halibut, seared it and then served it in a cioppino. The fermented, spicy ‘nduja gave the right amount of flavor boost to the fish.

Cooking Tip


Yes, schnitzel! Think of the last time you had schnitzel….and it was well prepared. Golden outside, crispy, and tender, juicy pork or chicken cutlet inside. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice. FULL STOP. It works! So how to get to that point?

Start with a 4 oz piece of pork or chicken (choose light or dark meat, whatever you like). Place it between plastic wrap and lightly pound with a meat mallet (smooth edge) until 1/8” thick. Drip some water on the meat side of the plastic wrap to help lubricate the meat while pounding. And don’t use the mallet like you hate the meat. Just be firm enough to get it thin. You’ll be amazed at how large the cutlet becomes. If you don’t have a mallet, the back of a fry pan works or a rolling pin.

Next is the standard breading procedure. Flour, egg, bread crumbs. Season the flour and the egg. I mix panko and regular bread crumbs (I feel that it covers the meat better). Start by dredging the cutlet in the flour, shake excess off. Dip in beaten egg, then into the bread crumb mix to coat completely. This can be made ahead and kept refrigerated until time to fry.

Pan-fry in fresh, clean oil. The temperature is key. The oil should be hot so that the schnitzel fries quickly. The temperature is right when is browns in 2-3 minutes on each side and the coating lightly souffles. The souffle part is desirable but not a deal-breaker. Just keep trying, you’ll get there.

Here’s how to test the oil temperature. Place a slice of bread in the pan. If nothing happens – too cold. Let the oil heat up more. If it gets black in seconds – too hot. Let the oil cool or just add additional oil to cool everything down. Once a piece of bread fries quickly (2-3 minutes) to a gold brown, the oil is ready. Now, fry the schnitzel 2-3 minutes on each side.

Lastly, eat it right away. Schnitzel is one of those “Eat it Now” foods (September 2018 newsletter). The crisp of the crust, with the moist cutlet inside, and fresh lemon is a timeless combination.

Guten appetit.

Keep scrolling!

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.

Production Planning

Once a menu has been determined, production planning becomes the roadmap to getting things done. “Plan the work and work the plan” has been said countless times for good reason. Planning provides everyone in the operation with a clear overview of production. Planning also defines how all the parts come together and provides the team with an understanding of their role in the operation.

Successful planning starts with the end in mind. In a foodservice setting the menu is the end. Planning then works in reverse. The creation of a planning timeline starts when foods are served. The chef plans plating times, cooking times, preparation times, food orders, and scheduling based on the service time. Other elements of planning include, plating diagrams, service line set up, and posted job/task schedules.

Production Planning success is linked to several key functions of a foodservice operation:

  • Menu development
  • Date of event
  • Number of guests
  • Standard of service
  • Recipe development
  • Ingredient sourcing
  • Food orders
  • Staffing requirements
  • Preparation timeline
  • Plating diagrams
  • Service line set up diagram
  • Posted job/task schedules

A Production Planning Framework will generally focus on the following functions:

  • Food orders
  • Staffing requirements
  • Preparation timeline
  • Plating diagrams
  • Service line set up diagram
  • Posted job/task assignments

Food Orders

Using kitchen management systems, the production team can scale recipes for the selected menu and review inventory for on-hand supplies needed to produce the menu. Then food orders are placed early to allow production team to trim, marinate, thaw, or other pre-preparation procedures.

Staffing Requirements

Production staffing is based on production needs leading up to the event. Generally, these are more streamlined than event day staffing. Event day staffing will vary according to the standard of service of the event.

Preparation Timeline

The timeline is the core of the production schedule. The timeline is created by starting at the scheduled time of food pick-up by waitstaff or buffet set-up (standard of service) and scheduling preparation and cook-times from that point. Here again, kitchen management systems provide functions to automate the production schedule framework.

The event day timeline is a granular schedule clearly scheduling each time-block of the day. The production team determines the structure of the time-block and then builds the timeline. Event day timelines include information such as:

  • plating time for cold items
  • inventory of china
  • cooking of each menu item
  • service line set up

Production Timelines are always publicly posted so that all team members have access to the information.

Plating Diagrams

Diagrams of photos of the completed plate, platter, or other serviceware are excellent tools for the production and event day team. This tool allows the culinary team to see the finished food.

Service Line Set-up Diagram

Posting the set-up of the service line depicting each menu item to be plated (pick) has multiple functions:

  • Easy service line set-up
  • No picks are forgotten
  • Placement of picks is clearly determined
  • Tools required for plating are identified
  • Picks are placed in proper plating sequence

Posted Job/Task Assignments

Each job assignment pertaining to production and event day preparation is posted for the culinary team. This assigns responsibility and accountability for each menu item.

Success isn’t guaranteed with production planning, but it is a tool that significantly contributes to an operation’s success. Many elements of the process are developed or documented once, then used as a standard operating procedure – SOP – for future production. Best practices include reviewing SOPs periodically for adjustments and/or revisions. Planning is a crucial part of a chef’s responsibilities.

JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System is an intuitive and comprehensive restaurant software that will help you run your kitchen more efficiently. Versatile features include tools for efficient food production planning, as well.
Contact us for more information on JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System