How To Control Your Portion Sizes in Food Services Wednesday - 15th January 2020

As an event business or other food-service business, controlling your portion sizes is a matter of importance. Ensuring that your food designs are aesthetically pleasing to your customer includes making sure that each dish has a uniformity. One way customers will determine the quality of a dish is consistency presentation and design can be a make or break.

In addition to looks, portion size control can help you effectively manage your food costs. By knowing the exact amount of an ingredient you’re going to need for each dish will help you make better decisions when it comes to preparing for upcoming events and avoid waste.

It’s important to remember that any excess food that is added to the plate is going to have an impact on your consistency and profit.

How To Create Your Menu With Portion Control In Mind

While you are in the process of creating your new menu, you should make sure you attribute portion size and cost next to each dish, if not in the first instance, then at least in one of your revisiting phases. Ideal software recommends each dish costing between 30-40% of the selling price in order to cover expenses and make a profit. Each companies margins are going to be different depending on the level or surface or expertise that comes with the menu, so don’t sell yourself short.

If you are not making use of consistent portion sizes, then assigning an accurate figure to each dish becomes arbitrary. Think about utilising customer or staff feedback - make notes of any dishes that are not being fully eaten, on a consistent basis.

Opposingly, any dishes that are leaving your customers hungry will need to be dealt with. In this instance, simply adding more food to the dish may not be the right decision, always go back to costs and consistency. It could be that the dish will not be profitable to you, or will need to be adapted moving forward - it is always worth testing your menus before offering them to customers or clients.

How to Standardise Your Recipes

As we talked about above, make sure you have consistency in your recipes and food designs. You should, at least initially, have preparation instructions for your chefs. They should include:

● Weight and volume of each ingredient
● The serving size
● The recipe yield
● Which equipment and utensils should be used


Measurement is about consistency. It’s about using the right measuring tools and utensils, but not only the right ones, the same ones across all of your dishes. Cups, spoons, ladles and jiggers are essential tools in preparing and serving.

There are three measurement techniques you should be making use of:

● Measuring by count
● Measuring by volume
● Measuring by weight


It would be very useful for your chef to have the plating instructions put in writing, or displayed visually. This way, you can best expect consistency across each of your dishes. In addition, if you have specific elements within your food design which make it unique to you plating consistency is key.


When putting all of these ideas into motion within your menu design, you should not forget to keep your kitchen staff trained and up to date. All the advance planning, precaution and creative flair will go to waste if your staff haven’t been given the tools to carry out the demand.

Portion sizes in food services are integral to success. When we’re planning our next event, our food designs that go alongside it are meticulously thought through and are bespoke for each different event. Wether every event is different for you, or - if you’re running a restaurant - your menu is available every day for a set amount of time, making sure you’re rigorous in your portion control is a vital ingredient of a successful foodservice business.