Speed-scratch ingredients create recipe for kitchen efficiency

speed scratch
Photograph: Shutterstock

From Hormel Foodservice.

Speed-scratch ingredients can help noncommercial foodservice operators improve many aspects of their operations, including minimizing labor costs, ensuring product quality and consistency and enhancing menu versatility.

In foodservice venues such as those found in colleges and universities and hospitals, which often have high-volume kitchens with high employee turnover rates, training workers to prepare complex dishes can be impractical. Foodservice operators are often challenged to maintain a staff that has the capabilities to create and execute menus that offer the variety and quality that today’s consumer demands. In addition, scratch cooking and preparing items to order are costly luxuries, especially in the current environment of low unemployment and rising labor costs.

Consumers are looking for on-trend menu options and variety, and this is especially important in many noncommercial foodservice settings, where kitchens are seeking to satisfy a captive customer base that often returns to the same cafeteria day after day. Operators need to keep things interesting for these customers so that they have a reason to stay on-site for their meals.

Many operators also often face challenges with space utilization in their kitchens, both in terms of the prep/cooking areas and in storage. So how can operators enhance their menus to accommodate consumer demand under these conditions, without driving up ingredient and labor costs?

The current foodservice environment more than ever calls for turnkey solutions that help simplify the back of the house to maximize labor efficiency and space utilization, while at the same time delivering on-trend menu appeal and product quality.

Maintaining an inventory of speed-scratch ingredients, such as fully cooked proteins, that can be cross-utilized in multiple dishes allows operators to increase the productivity of their kitchens. Fully cooked proteins can also help enhance food safety, reduce waste and streamline inventory costs.

Scratch-quality, prepared proteins

One such solution is Ultimate Ingredient, a unique collection of scratch-quality, prepared proteins from Hormel Foodservice that are designed to address the specific challenges and expectations of today’s foodservice kitchens.

The collection, developed alongside industry culinary professionals, includes more than 30 pork, beef, chicken and turkey products that are prepared using time-intensive methods. These products are slow-smoked, flame-seared and braised, and globally inspired and can be used in a variety of dishes ranging from Korean and Mediterranean to classic and contemporary.

These fully cooked proteins are ready to heat and serve and can be used just as they are, or combined with other ingredients to create new recipes. Either way, foodservice operators have the confidence of knowing that the proteins they serve will never be undercooked or lack flavor.

For today’s foodservice operators, the challenges around staffing and customer expectations can be daunting. Speed-scratch ingredients help meet those challenges with versatile, cost-effective solutions.

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