Controlling food costs and labor are two of the main challenges facing restaurants. And one way to address these issues — frozen foods.
From to-go cocktails to meal kits, the pandemic ushered in a new era of restaurant creativity. Chefs and restaurant owners are applying that same level of innovation to frozen products. Frozen inventory can help control food costs and make the prep process easier. It has the potential to increase profits and reduce waste, all without sacrificing quality. This frozen food guide offers a quick look at the cost-saving benefits as well as tips for incorporating them into your menu.
There are some preconceived notions in the industry about frozen foods being of lesser quality than fresh items. But this isn't really the case. For example, Performance uses innovative systems to ensure that meat, seafood, pasta, even produce, bread, and desserts have the same great-tasting quality and freshness as any other product. These processes result in less moisture absorption and items that actually contain more vitamins and antioxidants than their fresh counterparts.
Along with maintaining great flavors and freshness, frozen foods also help lower food costs. In many cases, frozen foods tend to lock in some level of cost certainty, while fresh items depend on more traditional markets. In addition to helping balance out food cost volatility, here are a few other ways frozen can help you save:
- More consistent product ordering
- Extended shelf life compared to fresh
- Added flexibility when changing menu items
- Less worry about product spoiling within days
Decrease Labor Costs
Labor costs are often some of the most challenging for restaurants to manage and forecast. It can be difficult to lower costs if the kitchen staff spends excess time on prep tasks such as peeling potatoes or shucking corn instead of meal creation.
By utilizing food that has already been prepared and frozen, your cooks can quickly heat and serve the meals for your patrons in less time. This also allows your kitchen to remain lean and cuts down on the number of chefs you may need for a given shift.
Frozen foods can decrease labor costs in several other ways as well, including:
- Improving the consistency of the meals
- Cutting down prep time needed to prepare complex recipes
- Allowing your team to prepare large batches of popular items such as soups or sauces
Adding Frozen to Menus
It makes sense that some restaurants are apprehensive about focusing on frozen, especially if they tend to use fresh ingredients. However, frozen products are a great way to maintain a high-quality dish at a lower cost. Thanks to continued advancements in technology, the flash-freezing process, for example, is better than ever in the past. Items like seafood, fruit, and vegetables are frozen right after being processed, which allows them to maintain their natural flavors and the vitamins and minerals within the food.
To start, try rolling out specific seafood dishes, pastas, apps, or desserts that are made with frozen ingredients. After tracking their popularity and labor savings, you can begin phasing in more frozen options where appropriate. There’s a good chance the savings, along with quality flavor and the sustainable benefits to the environment, will make sense for your business.
Performance Foodservice offers a wide range of high-quality frozen products from pizza dough to crusts, to entrees and desserts to help restaurants serve the best food while considering costs.