Bone-In Center Cut Pork Chops with a Michigan Cherry & Port Wine Demi-Glaze
by Chef Whitey
When you know that it's time to raise your prices to maintain the profitable viability of your operation, the question is how to do it with out your patrons suffering “Sticker Shock”. Some of your customers might not notice the change, realize that prices will change from time to time, or resent the new prices. Never the less it is paramount the implement the change as painlessly as possible. Some national chains raise their prices every three months on certain items by 10 cents. This modest increase is almost invisible and very soft even if noticed, though high volume items are price protected as not to draw attention to other changes.
People more readily accept change when you give them reason to embrace it, so perceived value can be a huge ally when it comes to reducing the push back of price sensitive customers. New plate presentations can help give your wait staff new found confidence when responding to questions. Servers can speak to the quality and recreation of the food instead of just defending the up charge for the same item prepared and presented the same way.
Studies have shown the perceived value of a table setting that is more elegant will bring a higher price on the menu. If the average life of a setting of flatware, a glass, and a plate was only 200 uses before it had to be thrown away, and the cost of all of those items was $15, it comes to 7.5 cents per serving. When changing menu prices, you can make an existing menu item ”New Again” by serving it on a different plate. Changing out an $8 plate with a $10, based on 200 uses, only costs you 2 cents per serving more, but can allow you to charge $1 more for the same item.
Customers are always looking for value when they spend their hard earned money and want to feel good about their buying decision. Since dining out is one of life's simple pleasures, giving the customer the perception that they are getting a big bang for their buck goes a long way. Serving food on plates that have been scrubbed to many times and have the scuff marks to prove can detract from the overall presentation, thus lowering the percieved value of the dish.
So make it fresh, make it fun, and increase your profits at the same time.
Deglazing is method of capturing the flavor of the juices and particles left in the pan after the food has been removed. When you have finished sautéeing or roasting, instead of taking your pan to the sink to scrape it clean, just pour off any excess oil or fat. The juices and the food particles stuck to the sides and bottom of the pan contain concentrated flavors that can be the foundation of a delicious sauce that will complement your food. Return the pan to the heat and add aromatic vegetables, such as chopped shallots, garlic, or mushrooms, if you desire, cooking them until most of the remaining juice has evaporated. Then turn up the heat and add a liquid, such as an appropriate wine or a flavorful stock, to the pan. The liquid will come to a quick boil and deglaze the pan by loosening all the particles. You should then be able to scrape the pan clean with a spatula or wooden spoon. When all of the particles come free, you may turn down the heat and further reduce the liquid or add other ingredients to make a more complex sauce from this flavorful base