A profitable buffet table & buffet plan
Learn the tips to a profitable buffet table & buffet plan to lower your labour and food costs.
In considering profit on a buffet, the menu planner has a much more difficult task at hand than merely marking up an item for the menu. In a normal menu markup, the portion is predetermined. If all goes well, the exact cost, as well as the exact profit, is known. With buffets, the portions are left up to the customer. How much of which items will they select? The only answer to this dilemma is that it must be dealt with in generalities. In other words, the food cost and subsequent profit must be looked at in total rather than for each specific item.
Action can be taken, however, by the person responsible for buffet planning to control costs. Once the selling price is established, items can be selected in a cost range to adhere to that price. Take chicken, for example. A buffet in a low price range would have a chicken casserole, while a moderate range would call for baked chicken and a higher-priced buffet would probably opt for chicken kiev (not because of food cost but rather the labor cost).
Another action that can be taken to control costs is plate size. Given an empty space on a plate, a customer will fill it. A large plate will rapidly become filled on a buffet line because the customer is hungry when going through the selection process. This large plate may be filled to a point where the customer will not be able to consume it all. Thus wasted cost occurs. Conversely, with a smaller plate, while the customer is finishing his/her first plate and returning for seconds, the digestion process is taking place. The customer becomes filled, thus selecting a lesser amount on the return trip.
Another factor to consider in controlling cost is the arrangement of particular items on the table. Buffets should be merchandised to profit. That is, the lower cost items should be placed first and succeeding items placed in direct proportion to their cost. This should be done for each food category. Colour and texture distribution also need to be taken into account when arranging the table but not to the exclusion of cost. Some clever manipulation and well-conceived planning need to be taken into account to properly achieve this goal.
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