Thanks for all the advice everyone, it was a blast! I took Shroomgirl's advice and made a show of it by dimming the lights and making sparks with the nutmeg and cinnamon. I will try to post some pictures tonight or tomorrow.
I agree with that, 2% is not really accurate...but I'm an hourly employee with the sole responsibility for costing, I have to take short cuts sometimes rather than spend time figuring out how much we spend on salt in each menu item. My oil lasts two weeks because I don't use, and we have such a high mark-up on the few fried items we sell, that 2% covers my cost nine times out of ten. But you are right, we lose a little bit of control and clarity taking those short cuts.
If you're increasing cost by 2% across the board you'll be doing it in a lot of cases when 2% is overestimating (such as when you're marking up just for salt and pepper), unless you're going through a ton of oil it probably balances out. I don't go through a lot so it works for me. If you are going through a ton you could figure how much oil you go through in a week and adjust your cost for the whole week accordingly.
I have a Creole buffet coming up this Saturday for a local historical society:
Passed Hors d'oeuvres:
Fried Dill Pickles
Cornbread & Andouille Stuffed Mushrooms
Shrimp Mousse Crostinis
Bourbon-Glazed Spare Ribs
Red Beans and Rice
Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Green Salad & Warm Baguettes
Bananas Foster, Cooked to Order over Vanilla Ice...
chefbillyb: I've actually tried pre-scooping the ice cream, but I've lost a few batches to an inconsistent freezer and the door being left open (of course, nobody fesses up to that one). The best I can do now is portion it out into a few bowls and just keep small amount on ice in the dining room.
everyone: this is all great advice! I think I'm going to borrow a little bit from everyone in formulating my plan for service.
I don't think it's normal, but I'm in the same exact boat as you. My inventory is essentially a symbolic action, a protest against the chaos of my working environment, since the executive chef refuses to use it in any meaningful way. I'm also the only person who has ever costed out food or written a menu in the past five years, so I'm sincerely hoping that this is not a normal state of affairs.
This weekend I'm running a Creole Buffet for a local historical society's Mardi Gras celebration. They've decided they want to have Bananas Foster in the dining room, cooked to order for dessert. I was wondering if anyone had advice on the smoothest way to run the line.
I have a large room where everyone will be seated, and a smaller room where I will probably have the buffet line at dinner. I could possibly have two attendants going at once. I'm thinking it might...
Ugh...I've been forced to use unskilled prep cooks for a while now so we can pay them minimum wage or not much more. Not worth the money saved in my opinion. I've gotten calls at home asking me how to boil pasta, and that was from someone who's been working with me for more than a year. In my opinion, sometimes it's worth spending a little extra on quality food or labor today if it keeps customers coming. Sometimes it's hard to take the long view when you've got a stack...
I think everyone who's ever run a banquet was a little intimidated the first time they ran a service, the trick for me is to is not to keep thinking about all the things I could possibly be forgetting and instead just go into every function with a plan burnt into my brain and just keep cycling over it. Eventually I started channeling the anxiety into an adrenaline rush and I love the stress of service now. These days my work-related nightmares are always about 1)...