Speed-Scratch, Our Favorite Hack

Sunday, March 1, 2020

You know speed-scratch saves time/labor costs and ensures consistency. Now discover more ways to put this smart strategy to work for you. 
 

Barbecue ribs with dipping sauсes
©iStock.com/puhhha

In today’s foodservice economy, using speed-scratch offers many advantages. Combining high-quality prepared or semi-prepared convenience food products with fresh and housemade ingredients is a smart strategy to save both time and labor. It also:

  • Allows for more menu variety
  • Addresses labor shortfalls and training issues
  • Ensures consistency
  • Offers food safety benefits
  • Eases purchasing challenges (such as sourcing ethnic ingredients)
  • Permits customization
  • Frees up kitchen staff to be more creative

Replace High-Labor Prep Work

One of the most valuable uses for speed-scratch and value-added products is reclaiming labor that’s otherwise used for basic kitchen prep, such as:

  • Peeling and cleaning vegetables such as potatoes and carrots
  • Making stocks and sauces
  • Cooking off meats like roast turkey breast, bacon, or barbecued ribs
  • Assembling salad dressings
  • Baking bread and desserts
  • Preparing deli salads
  • Cracking and cooking eggs

Add a Signature Touch

Using speed-scratch allows the kitchen to offer diners premium dishes with higher price points without putting undue pressure on back-of-the-house staff.

  • Create a selection of signature sauces—à la carte or included—for steaks, fish, and other proteins by customizing basic sauces
  • Deepen the flavor of meats or introduce global accents for braising, grilling, or roasting with a marinade or rub
  • Upgrade cheese sauce into queso or fondue with inclusions like roasted corn or chipotles in adobo, beer or spirits, salsa, or a second kind of cheese
  • Fold shredded cheese, crisp bacon, sautéed onions or shallots, chopped dried fruit, chocolate chips, fresh herbs, everything spice, or pepitas into baking mixes
  • Turn seasoned rice-blend mix into fried rice or a pilaf with the addition of finely cut fresh vegetables, cubed meat or seafood, nuts, kimchi, beaten egg, or a cooked ancient grain
  • Build out a serve-yourself salad or food bar with prepared items

Create New Menu Items

  • Offer a shareable board of prepared charcuterie and cheeses, accessorized with crackers and breads, fresh or dried fruit, quick pickles, and mustard or other condiments
  • Use precut raw tuna or cooked shrimp to create an on-trend poke bowl or main course salad
  • Repurpose cooked proteins such as brisket, roasted chicken, or prime rib into premium sandwiches with gravy, au jus, flavorful glazes, or signature condiments
  • Build an à la carte bread service with specialty butter made with a flavor concentrate or a prepared dip like hummus or pesto
  • Launch a pizza/focaccia/flatbread program using a prepared dough or crust product, cheese blends, and toppings
  • Add an omelet program with ready-to-menu omelets and fillings

The information provided is based on a general industry overview, and is not specific to your business operation. Each business is unique and decisions related to your business should be made after consultation with appropriate experts.