City Livin'So I just moved to the DC metro area a little more than a month ago from 40 minutes south of Philly... Big change. The economy of metropolitan areas is certainly different from suburbs. No brainer. That being said, I live in a suburb surrounded by Red Lobsters, Hooters, Olive Gardens. The guys I talk to at those places say they are struggling to maintain business. Most spots around DC are still hopping busy. Right now, I'm a line cook with a sous back-ground. < No friends in DC when we moved down here> So I see the obnoxious amount of waste that the average line cook is responsible for. As professional chefs, in management positions, it is a total responsibility to maintain a menu, a portioning regiment, and most important an inventory management that does not allow for waste. I recently read Jauques Pepin's auto-bio that he stated every scrap was to be used meticulously in stocks, charcuterie, sauces or family meals. A careful eye applied to line cooks and prep cooks that have been in the kitchen long enough to feel a bit lax will save big money. The same goes for the crew at the end of the night or when shifts change, right? Do they flip the containers religiously? Do they keep inventory wrapped, rotated, stored and labeled correctly? There is nothing worse for food cost than pitching fill in the blank that has gone sour because a hack worker has failed to follow FIFO. Gas prices can dent business, but only the kitchen crew has the power to rise above or cripple the bottom line of the food cost calculator. You can scrape meat from fishbelly for croquettes, but a lazy line or prep cook will cost you more money than only serving the cheeks.