The pandemic has caused many changes to the restaurant industry, outdoor dining, increased use of takeout and delivery, but none may be harder to handle than the reduction of staff. The post-Pandemic reopening labor shortage has left many restaurant owners and foodservice operators scrambling to find solutions for their reduced staff. Cuisine Solutions believes that they have found one of those solutions: sous vide.
There are many pundits in the industry, that simply don’t buy into the idea that when many restaurant workers saw their enhanced unemployment benefits terminated last month, that they would be quick to return. “We are going to quickly find out that many of these folks have moved on,” noted Cuisine Solutions Chief Strategy Officer, Gerard Bertholon. “In some cases, they have found new opportunities in healthcare or construction.”
With that reality in mind, Bertholon and his Cuisine Solutions team have fine-tuned a sous vide solution to minimize the need for culinary staff while maximizing menu quality.
“We have grown our business around creating solutions,” Bertholon continued. “With sous vide not only are our chef and restaurant customers able to lock in consistent flavor, but they see their waste reduced by anywhere from twenty to thirty percent.”
Cuisine Solutions has also seen significant change in how sous vide can be added to hotel or restaurant’s food and beverage operation. “There’s no question that in the beginning sous vide made the most sense for a hotel or catering facility with a large party clientele,” the veteran chef continued. “What we see today, is the addition of sous vide to an a la carte menu. In many cases it is as simple as adding,” Bertholon explained.
“To see the benefits of sous vide you cannot be using the method to prepare one or two items on your menu. We find that you must have a certain percentage of your menu dedicated to having those items prepared using sous vide to see the benefits,” said Bertholon. “For example, we are working with Jon Taffer, and we have partnered with his team on creating the menu and helped to design his kitchen. On the menu, 70% of the items are prepared using sous vide. As for the efficiency of sous vide, on the weekend when the restaurant has 500-600 customers, the kitchen is staffed by three chefs and an expeditor. Those chefs can prepare the full menu, utilizing the benefits of our sous vide solutions. We say that our product becomes your line cook, helping to take over much of the necessary prep work.”
When considering purchasing a new product or making a change in preparation style, restaurant owners and food service operators may be asking one important question, how will my bottom line be impacted, and to that Bertholon has an answer. “When considering switching to sous vide, you cannot look solely at food cost, if you do, you lose the big picture. You have to look at the waste reduction, reduced labor costs, and the amount of prep time saved,” said Bertholon. “Our product reheats in one to four minutes, which compared to a traditional oven is a great time saver in and of itself. With that reduction in reheat time our product allows you to turn over tables faster than if you were using an oven. With our product you can turn over a table a minimum of three times during your lunch or dinner rush. This increased turn over can help to keep your customers satisfied and increase your profits.”
In addition to questioning the effects that sous vide cooking can have on your bottom line, Bertholon also has the answer to what equipment you will need to see the benefit of the Cuisine Solutions’ sous vide method. “With our products you do not need to reheat in a water bath; we work with what equipment you have in your kitchen. The American palate wants something juicy, but it also wants something seared, something with a crispy outer bark,” said Bertholon. “When I do trainings with my customers, I tell them that 90% of the time I reheat the product outside of the bag. I cook inside of the bag, but then I put it on the grill, in the fryer, in the TurboChef, or in the broiler to bring back a crispy feel.”
For the chef, restaurant owner or foodservice professional, that would like to stay focused on their guests dining experience and at the same time eliminate the on-going headache over staff recruiting and retention, sous vide from Cuisine Solutions is a recipe for success.