Dec 12, 2017
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Step 4 – Production and Service

Production records, standardized recipes and controlled portions minimize waste and lowers food cost. Empower your staff to deliver a quality cost effective menu and meal service by establishing quality standards, conducting employee training, providing the necessary equipment and tools, and implementing a formal written production system.

To consistently produce wholesome, nutritious, and cost effective meals it takes more than a good memory. Successful food service operations maintain careful records of the amount of food needed and leftover. Production records are the fundamental tool of a cost effective food service. Production records inform the staff on what foods, quantities and what recipes to follow; and what portions to serve. After the staff records the number of servings prepared and the number of servings leftover, the manager uses this information to evaluate menu combinations and identify changes that need to be made within the menu to continually improve food costs and resident dining satisfaction.

The use of standardized recipes not only allows the manager to control food costs but it also ensures that the same results are achieved every time. But standardized recipes are only as effective as the person following them. Managers must train cooks and then supervise production to assure consistent and accurate use of recipes. A standardized recipe assures expected results and yields each time prepared. Any recipe can be “fitted” to the likes and dislikes for the population you are serving as long as the changes are authorized and appropriately documented. But every standardized recipe should include: a recipe title, list of ingredients, weight/volume of each ingredient, preparation instructions, serving size, recipe yield, and the equipment or utensil assigned to serve for proper portion control.

Portion control is important in controlling costs and creating and maintaining resident satisfaction. Inconsistent portions will cause food cost problems and resident dissatisfaction with food service. Provide the necessary tools for staff to complete the job properly. Provide scales, portioning tools and utensils to measure and weigh ingredients and serve portion sizes as specified in the standardized recipes. Charts like the following are available to help in determining proper tools and in training staff on proper portioning.

Portion Control Capacity Guide Chart


Portion Spoon / Ladle Size / Scoop Size

1/8 cup
1 oz

1/3 cup
2 oz

1/4 cup


3/8 cup
3 oz

1/2 cup
4 oz

2/3 cup


3/4 cup
6 oz

1 cup
8 oz

Source adapted from National Food Service Management Institute “Basics from a Glance” depts/nfsmi/Information/Posters/basics/basics_at_a_glance.pdf

Staff training and adequate supervision are both key to controlling costs. Train staff to follow the planned menus, production records, standardized recipes, and portion guidelines. Provide training, direction, and supervision throughout the production and service of meals to allow the food cost to be managed and the quality of the meals to be continually improved.

Complete the cycle with Step 5 – Accountability.

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