When you run a restaurant or diner of any sort, you know that you constantly need to balance the time and cost it takes to prepare certain dishes with the satisfaction of your customers. While it can be cheap and easy to microwave soup from a can, chances are very few if any restaurant customers will want to pay you for it!
While making certain dishes and preparing certain foods from scratch can mean tastier menu items that make your customers happy, it's also good to consider if there are prepared foods that you can use and which won't affect the quality of your menu items. Note when and why you might consider prepared or prepackaged foods for your restaurant or diner.
1. When they'll be cooked and not just heated
Reheating sauces and soups might not be very pleasing to the palate, but you can often invest in prepared and packaged foods that you will cook rather than just heat. As an example, you might buy wholesale pre-prepared potatoes that you'll use for French fries, or precut vegetables that you'll add to make your soups and sauces. Buying premade cookie dough can mean better tasting cookies than those that come from a box, as you will still be cooking the dough for the end product. If your items will be cooked and not just heated, buying prepared or prepackaged products can be perfectly acceptable.
2. When you serve too much and prep work takes too long
While it can be good to make as many foods from scratch as you can in your restaurant or diner, there are times when the prep work for certain dishes takes so long that you're paying employees too much money for the profit you'll make. For instance, having employees peel hundreds of potatoes every day in order to serve your very cheap fries can mean that you really don't make much profit from those fries.
The prep work required needs to be considered along with how much of one dish you might serve. For example, if an employee needs to make fresh chicken fajitas just a few times every shift, then the added time it takes to make them from scratch might not be an issue. However, if your restaurant serves fries with just about every meal or offers free refills on French fries, then you need to consider the amount of this lengthy prep work every day. Buying prepackaged, prepared foods such as peeled and cut potatoes can be a better option in those cases.