The hospitality trade and catering sector have seen many challenges over the last few years. The economic downturn led to many companies reviewing the way that it handled food sales to attract customers. Where previously high quality food was prepared at a premium many businesses have looked at ways to strip these costs down without compromising on quality when possible. Deskilling the workforce and the kitchen has in many cases led to cost savings.
What is Deskilling?
When a kitchen is deskilled it is effectively removing the requirement for a highly trained chef to make food when someone with basic training in food preparation and hygiene could make something instead. There often has to be an acceptance that quality may be impacted. Premade meals that require reheating will never taste as good as freshly cooked produce. The company has to make the decision as to whether or not it can absorb any lost custom whilst maintaining a healthier margin.
The challenge of course is that when economic conditions start to improve, and people have more disposable income once again, quality may rise to the top of the agenda. If your reputation has been tarnished with poor quality imitations, it may take a while to win customers back as you spend on better chefs. Indeed, recently as economic improvements have been seen the lack of quality chefs in certain parts of the country has been highlighted. If you want to hire a quality chef, you’ll have to pay.
Why Use Barbecues?
When possible however barbecuing can give you the opportunity to use a deskilled workforce to maintain high quality.
One of the great things about cooking on a barbecue is that almost anyone can do it, provided you are meeting the guidelines set by the food standards agency. Maintaining a hygienic environment, avoiding cross contamination, ensuring meat is being cooked from the right temperature to the right temperature is vital. However, if you are confident that staff are adequately trained for this and that sufficient systems are in place for food safety you can begin.
We would recommend as a minimum that a barbecue should be manned by a chef plus two helpers to run commercially. This allows for someone to control the food that is being cooked whilst two helpers can support with service, keeping the work station clean, in an orderly state and fully stocked at all times. When considering using a barbecue you should always ensure that hand wash is located close by for hygiene.
Once you have all your systems in place away you go. The use of a barbecue can ensure you deliver high quality meaty food at volume without sacrifice. It may not be the finest haute cuisine but burgers, sausages and other meaty grill ups are adored by hunger fuelled diners across the country. Sometimes a value beer and a burger is all the customer wants.
If you are considering margins and the challenge of maintaining quality, then think about using a barbecue. They are fun, perfect for the outdoors, and if you get a reputation for delivering great barbecue food then the punters will soon be queuing up for a taste.
What do you think? Have you used a barbecue as a mainstay of your food offering? Or are you considering switching to barbecue? Come and let us know your thoughts.