Seasons Bounty: A simple way to increase cafe profit

Solutions for Operators

One of the easiest ways for a cafe to stretch it’s purchasing dollar is by putting food up, or preserving. At this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, the bounty of the season is readily apparent, not only at farmer’s markets, but also at the grocery or through your produce vendor.

Putting food up is relatively simple. Some basic equipment, some fresh cheap produce and some time will stretch your purchasing and create some intrigue with your regular customers.

Here’s a couple ideas… On any given week, do you have an extra half case of tomatoes that you need to use right away? Instead of waiting til the end and throwing them away, try making a ketchup, hot sauce or soup base for later in the year. Does the farmer’s market have a great deal on stonefruit, like peaches? Try making peach butter or peach salsa and serving it in the fall.

If you can or preserve often enough, it could lead to a micro opportunity to offer retail specials later in the year. An extra six 4 oz jars of peach butter in the pantry? Stick your logo on it and sell them.

There’s a number of great resources in the cookbook section of any good bookstore that will assist you in this easy move to greater profitability and less waste. One of my favorites is The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round by Margaret Howard. Of course, the Ball book of canning is a reliable standard as well.

As a professional chef, I discovered canning and preserving late in my career. It pains me to know that for over a decade I could have saved hundreds of pounds of tomatoes; instead of going to waste, I could have impacted the bottom line positively. Let us know what you try!

Jeff from Mocafe

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Categories: Operator Solutions

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