A Berkel slicer can be one of the most important pieces of equipment that you have in your operation. Whether you are slicing meat or bread, it is capable of providing you with portion control as well as consistency within your operation. Slicers can be safer to use and easier to teach than knife handling skills.

Food cost is a significant amount of your operational costs as a restaurant. Depending upon what you sell, you may have a food cost of 20 percent or more. Learning how to calculate food cost is critical so you can begin managing your expenses more effectively.

There are four ways to improve your food cost, especially when you have a Berkel slicer on premises.

The first way to use your slicer is for portion control. If you have a meat slicer, you may want to ensure that a cut of meat is a certain number of ounces. Rather than relying on a cook to eyeshot a cut, there are settings on the slicer that can ensure the same cut is made consistently.

The same goes for using a bread slicer. You will want to use the same setting each time you break out the Berkel slicer regardless of whether you are using bread for sandwiches, French toast, or anything else. If you are slicing your bread by hand, you may not be getting the same number of slices out of each loaf and this can be a significant expense.

Another way to improve food cost is with a chart of settings. You can create a laminated chart within the kitchen so everyone knows about the settings for the Berkel slicers that they are using. This allows you to create specific measurements on the various foods they will be slicing to gain consistency.

Yet another way to improve upon food cost is to avoid using dull blades. If you are in need of a new slicer, you may want to spend the money as it can actually reduce the amount of waste that you have in the kitchen. Dull blades have the tendency to shred food instead of slicing it, leaving you with more crumbs – and these cannot be used in the dishes that you are serving to guests.

Finally, you will want to train all of your employees on how to use the slicer effectively. There are various models of Berkel slicers on the market and while employees may be familiar with automated slicers, it’s important to provide training on the model found within your kitchen. This ensures they know how to adjust the food inside of the slicer and how to adjust the settings to maximize on what comes out of the slicer.

You have to do what you can to reduce food cost throughout your operations. The smallest increase in food cost can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line.