First and foremost, portion size should matter to a restaurateur as it ties directly to your menu and your profitability. Knowing your costs is important when pricing each of your menu items. But if portion sizes are not consistent the price is no longer relevant.
Take the time out of your busy schedule to review your menu and break down each line item. Determine if it is making or losing you valuable labor time and profits. It is a simple equation that is often not utilized. Analyze each line and calculate every ingredient’s cost in the creation of that dish. These costs also include production trim and waste, meat or vegetable trimmings for example. Then multiply the result of that by three, and BAM you have your selling price. This simple formula will literally keep the lights on. That is only if you can keep your portion sizes per dish consistent. I also recommend reviewing your menu regularly, as food costs rise your menu prices should rise too.
Then there is learning what portion sizes are appropriate for each menu item based on your establishment. As a customer, I would expect larger portion sizes in a pizzeria, than I would in a fine-dining establishment. It’s very important to note how your menu items read to your customers. Clear communication on your menu is key to keeping your guests happy. Happy guests always return. Sometimes they will return with more friends in tow. For example…
A customer is going to expect an extremely generous portion if a menu item is intended for sharing. If the item reads clearly as a small plate, they might be inclined to order more than one item.
An appetizer should be a smaller portion than menu items labeled as entrées. Maybe, in some instances, it is appropriate to offer two different sized options for guests to choose from.
If you offer salads, I suggest having two size options. A small salad may encourage someone to add it to their meal as a side or appetizer. The full-sized version is intended for the person who wants it as their meal. The bottom line is, you need your customers to feel satisfied in both their bellies and their wallets.
Offering size options also allows customers to tailor the meal to their own personal eating habits. This will leave them feeling satisfied. In the end, I believe size does indeed matter.
Smaller portions also allow your local foodies to taste more of your creations and allow for social media photo-worthy plate presentations.
Larger options satisfy big eaters or allows the leftover crowd a take-home lunch for tomorrow.
Why Chef Blog October 2021