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Food Portion Control: Healthy Business, Healthy Lifestyle

Controlling portion sizes is key to good business practices in the food service industry and also key to a healthy lifestyle personally.

If there’s one thing we can learn about nutrition, it’s that larger portions have more calories. That sounds strangely obvious, but controlling portion size, from both the perspective of a restaurant and a consumer, is anything but obvious. The fact of the matter is that large portions encourage people to eat more, and just by adjusting the portion size you can limit the amount of calories you’re taking in.

For the food service industry, it would seem less profitable to control portions as more food sold means more money made in some cases, but there are some major pitfalls there as well. On the business end, careful control over the amount of food served to every customer is essential to running your business efficiently and sticking to a comfortable profit margin. Through portion control, commercial kitchens can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year.

The best way to insure proper practice of portion control is to invest in a portion scale. Portion scales do exactly what they sound like: measure portions. But, in the world of the weighing industry there are many scales to choose from and all of them boast that they are the best. When it comes down to it, the entire point of a portion scale is to accurately measure exact portions, so it would make perfect sense to choose the portion scale that is most accurate and most dependable. The portion scales made by Detecto feature weighing accuracies down to .05 ounce increments. Detecto's AP Series Portion Scales are ideal for the restaurant that desires the best quality. These stainless steel, NTEP legal-for-trade scales are simple to operate, have a wide range of capabilities, and are easy to cleanup, making them ideal for a busy commercial kitchen.

There are a few factors to consider when deciding on the amount of food per portion in a restaurant.

The type of establishment:
The portion sizes will be different between a roadhouse diner and a café for instance, or the size of the beef portions being served for $40 on an à la carte menu at a steakhouse or part of a 2-for-$20 deal at a franchise family restaurant.

The buying price of the food:
Portion control is closely linked with food costs. Better quality meat, for example, usually yields a greater number of portions than poorer quality food, but will cost more up front. The trick is to know where the savings actually kick in when going for higher quality. A good example is lower quality stewing beef, which is likely to require a large amount of trimming that will yield maybe 4-5 portions per pound, whereas higher quality stewing beef would require less trimming and might yield as much as 6-7 portions per pound. Not only does this increase revenue by portions sold, but also saves time and labor involved in preparation.

The kitchen equipment:
The importance of an accurate quality portion scale cannot be stressed enough. Detecto's AP and PS Series are quality scales as unique and varied as the food industry. The rest of the equipment in a kitchen can determine how well a restaurant does. Scoops for mashed potatoes and ice cream, ladles for soup and sauces and specific sized dishes for soup and desserts help in maintaining accuracy across servings.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are potentially great rewards for smaller sized portions. Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of products being repackaged into lower-calorie smaller servings that are being sold at higher prices. There’s no difference in the amount of calories by weight between these smaller sized products and their big brothers, but it’s the fact that they’re smaller which makes them so appealing to shoppers. People are trying to limit their intake. A recent study from the NPD Group found that in 2012, 57% of consumers want to eat smaller portions, while 43% say they’re already doing so.

Meanwhile, there is an increasingly validated idea that portion control is the most effective way to lose weight. Calories are calories when you get down to it, and if people are eating less, be it from candy bars or vegetables, what matters is the size. So whether you’re in the food service business or a concerned consumer, the importance of portion control is not something to be overlooked.

For more info:
DETECTO Portion Scales

DETECTO   •   Ph. (800) 641-2008   •   •   203 East Daugherty St., Webb City, MO 64870

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