Coupon Sherpa recently ran a list of 23 ways restaurants cut back on expenses and after reading through some of them I found that it is pretty easy to make these same cutbacks in our kitchens. I haven't grabbed all twenty-three, but they are all interesting to read.
Kitchen changes - Reduce portion sizes by using salad plates as the main dinner plate; who doesn't like to go back for seconds! Try filling up beforehand with bread or soup before the main meal as well.
2. Meat Substitutes - "What you think is Veal Parmesan may actually be "Pork Parmesan. The look-alike meat is an easy cost-cutting substitution for diners who rarely taste veal."
Kitchen changes - Substituting turkey and chicken in dishes calling for meat is easy and cheaper. Instead of Pork bacon, try turkey bacon for a $1-2 less. Also use chicken in the place of ground beef for spaghetti sauce, it is delicious!
3. Weaker Drinks- Drinks with seltzer water, using smaller glasses and adding more ice are all ways to make a drink last longer.
Kitchen changes - Using more ice and smaller drinking glasses will allow the drink to stretch further. If you've made home-made soup, add in more water for the broth to fill up on.
4. Recycling Buffets - "Rather than toss uneaten food from yesterday's or last week's buffet, more restaurants are freezing everything for future use."
Kitchen changes - Don't forget to tightly wrap up the dinner meal left overs for a lunch on Monday or freeze it for a quick "frozen dinner" on the next weekend.
5. Cheaper Ingredients - "...the seaweed is really cabbage and instant potatoes have stretched the mashed potatoes."
Kitchen changes - all kinds of food substitutes exist if you to stretch a meal or don't want to run out to the store for that one item
6. Is it Fresh? - Restaurants aren't always getting fresh food every day, now they may get a larger order of food every few days to cut down on the cost of deliver.
Kitchen changes - Buying in bulk the items that are used often like cereal, bread or TP. Also look at replacing fresh produce with frozen foods for a better savings when foods aren't in season.
7. Recycling Food - "What happens to all those extras on a slow night? They end up in the buffet, reworked into meatloaf or worked into bread pudding."
Kitchen changes - Save leftover vegetables in a pot in the freezer for a weekend pot of vegetable soup. With fruits going bad, cut off the bad parts and make a fruity smoothie.
8. Cheaper Paper Goods - Restaurants are cutting back on napkins, if you want more you have to ask for them, they aren't sitting on the table any longer.
Kitchen changes - Use cloth napkins at the dinner table and toss in the wash at the end of the week. Same goes for the BBQ out back, no more paper plates when you can use regular plates and toss them in the washing machine
9. Begging for Sympathy - "More restaurants are posting signs asking us to appreciate they've had to make cutbacks and raise prices due to higher commodity and fuel prices"
Kitchen changes - Sometimes truthfulness is the best way to handle a party gathering, let them know about your creativity and you may be surprised at how relieved people are when they have to host next.