Most people think of building kitchen production formulas like building a recipe for a menu item. For instance. If you wanted to explain to your kitchen how to make a full pan of lasagna, you would list out all of the ingredients like Lasagna Noodles, Marinara Sauce, Ricotta, Mozzarella Cheese, etc. along with the quantities needed to make a full pan of lasagna. You would then list out all steps and directions to make the lasagana; like bring two gallons of salted water to a rolling boil, add in two pounds of lasagna noodles and cook for twelve minutes until al dente.

What To Make. Not How To Make It.

To the contrary, a kitchen production formula assumes your kitchen knows how to make the food. The purpose of these formulas is to guide them on how much to prepare. So if you run a deli and sell a catering item called a cookie platter, you would want your staff to know how many cookie platters to make for that order. 

If you owned a barbecue restaurant, you would want your staff to know how many pans, pounds or gallons of beans to make up for an order, not the recipe for the beans.

Examples of Prep Items: Lasagna, Pulled Pork, Ribs, Potato Salad, Turkey Sandwiches, Meatloaf. We will discuss units of measure later in this article.

Below is a screenshot of a list of Prep Items used to build Kitchen Production Formulas. NOTE: Only select items under the Prep Items heading and that have (Prep) at the end. This denotes it is a prep item.


Units of Measure & Quantities

So now that we know what the kitchen must prep, we must let them know how much to make and what unit of measure to use. A few rules:

1. Use "Kitchen Talk": This is a very basic, but simple rule. You must create these formulas using the same words and quantities you currently use to explain to your crew how to make food for a catering.

For instance, if you sell pasta salad on your catering menu, what is the exact word you use to describe that item? Pasta Salad, Greek Pasta Salad, Mom's Pasta Salad or P Salad? When naming your prep items, use the exact name you use when talking with your kitchen crew.

2. Use The Highest Unit of Measure: Once you come up with the names of the "Prep Items" you will use, you will then need to assign a Unit of Measure for that item.

Using our pasta salad example. If you calculate you need 4 ounces of Greek Pasta Salad per person, then an event for 100 guests would spit out a report telling your crew to make 400 ounces of Greek Pasta Salad for that order. 

I have yet to come across an operator who quotes quantities that large in ounces. So you would want to use Pounds (LBS) as your unit of measure. Later on we will teach you how to convert the 4 ounces per person into the percentage of a pound, expressed as a decimal, into pounds. For this example, you would need .25 LBS of Greek Pasta Salad per person.

3. The Rule of 100: If the above two rules are a little confusing, just always pretend you are building formulas based on an order for 100 guests.

Buns by the Each might be better expressed as Buns By The Dozen.

Ounces become Pounds

Liquid Ounces become Pints, Quarts or Gallons.

4. Stay Consistent: Since there are CaterZen Kitchen Production Reports that have the ability to add up all of the same items on a single ticket or multiple tickets, you want to make sure you are consistent in the names you use for Prep Items and the Unit of Measure you use. 

NOTE: The Sample Food Prep Report below is for an order of 100. Examine the names of the Prep Items and the Units of Measure Used.