In these days of leaner budgets, we’re all looking to reduce costs. Most of you are serving inmates for somewhere less than $1 per meal already and reducing that even more is a challenge. But like Barry Martin, food service administrator for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, you are striving to shave costs. Mr. Martin was recently featured on TheLedger.com in an article titled Prisons, Jails Change Meals to Meet Budgets, Stay Within Guidelines. Along with food substitution and purchasing savvy as covered in an article posted on Cooking in Corrections that was written by Linda Mills, of CEC International, you can also maximize your budget with proper portion control.
To understand the impact portion control can have, consider this scenario: if you are feeding 300 inmates and you reduce the cost of each meal by just a penny, you would add $3,285 to your bottom line every year. Having the right size serving every time ensures that you’re not giving away pennies with every tray. To help you get portion sizes under control, we’ve rounded up the TOP TEN portion control tools for the correctional kitchen:
- Rite-size 8 oz. Disher – made for heavier, sticky foods and great for starches like mashed potatoes, rice, macaroni and cheese or casseroles. Heavier foods with appropriate nutrition at low costs.
- FMP FIFO Portion Control Bottle – want to cut costs quickly, stop buying prepackaged condiments and dispense perfectly measured portions directly into trays with the Portion Pal. Dispenses portions from ¼ to 1 oz.
- FSE Pancake Dispenser –uniform pancakes every time. Dispenses as little as ½ oz and up to 3 oz of batter.
- Revolving Dough Cutters – precise cutting of biscuits or rolls with minimal scrap.
- Cook’s Brand Cake Marker – sheet cakes are cost-effective but not if you have to throw away the ends because the pieces aren’t evenly cut. The Cake Marker ensures every piece is identical in size, every time.
- ISI Flex-it Measuring cups – we like these for corrections because they are made of silicon, like the Flex trays, so they cannot be broken or shattered.
- Vollrath EZ Dishers – available in a 6 oz. and 8 oz. size, with a spring free, inmate-safe design.
- Carlisle Measure Mizers – ideal for the serving line, in 1 oz to 8 oz. sizes. Flat bottom design easily spreads sauces or toppings. Long or short handle and solid or perforated bottoms.
- Cook’s Brand Square Rite-Size Servers – perfect for use with Flex trays or trays that have a square or smaller rectangular compartment. Stops the practice of ‘topping-off’ a serving because food fell outside the food compartment to decrease waste.
- Edlund Poseidon Digital Scale – we selected this scale because you can total submerge it to keep it clean and this scale will re-calibrate itself to ensure accuracy.