The labor situation in foodservice is at a critical level. With both labor costs on the rise for the past five years, in conjunction with record-low unemployment rates, operators are facing more difficulty than ever staffing their facilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, wages and salaries for private industry workers increased 3% for the 12-month period ending in September 2019, and also increased 3.1% for the 12-month period ending in September 2018. With this trend showing no sign of slowing, operators have to work hard to get the most out of their labor spend.
Another area of continued cost increase is food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that prices of commodities such as meats (including pork, lunchmeats and more) and fresh fruits have gone up the past two years and that food-away-from-home costs are expected to continue rising through 2020.
One way operators can save on labor and food costs is by using speed-scratch ingredients such as premade pizza crusts, ready-made pasta sauces and prepared frozen soups. By leveraging speed-scratch solutions, operators can trim the amount of labor needed to prepare foods and help lessen the cost of purchasing many ingredients, while still offering a wide variety of foods. Here’s how.
Saving on labor
Offering a variety of menu options every day is a grueling task for foodservice staff. Guests want the taste and feel of scratch cooking, but that isn’t always realistic. Preparing everything from scratch requires not just extensive training and prep, but also a lot of ingredients.
The reality is, of course, that this isn’t always feasible or in the budget. But rather than turning to fully prepared meals, such as a frozen chicken entree with pre-portioned sides and sauces, chefs are able to meet halfway by using speed-scratch ingredients. For instance, cooking pasta and toppings fresh but pairing them with a prepared or speed-scratch sauce means staff doesn’t have to worry about preparing every component in-house. This reduces the time—and labor—needed to prepare a given dish.
Reducing food costs
In a similar vein, using speed-scratch value products such as frozen soups can help to limit food costs for dishes. For instance, instead of preparing Broccoli and Cheese soup from scratch, using fresh cream, chopped broccoli, shredded cheddar cheese and more, operators can use Campbell’s® Customizable Soup Bases—in particular, Vegetarian Classic Cream—and simply add broccoli, cheddar cheese and pepper.
As it says in the name, soup bases allow operators the opportunity to create a variety of dishes using ingredients already on their line. Using the same Vegetarian Classic Cream base, for example, operators can add potatoes, bacon, cheddar cheese and scallions to create a Loaded Baked Potato soup; or corn, black beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and cilantro to make Southwest Corn Chowder.
By using versatile soup bases, operators can create craveable menu items that align with their brand—and can even create signature menu items.
For operators looking for a solution to the ever-present budget crunch, using value products such as frozen soups and frozen soup bases can free up time and labor as well as reduce overall food costs for a recipe. Find out more about frozen soups from Campbell’s at campbellsfoodservice.com.
This post is sponsored by Campbell's Foodservice