KEY POINTS:
* Accurate estimation of cost per serve can reveal some surprises — premium ingredients often work out to be a more economical choice than lower quality alternatives due to better yield
* A good quality pizza cheese will offer superior melt and coverage
* When Mario Libertini of La Piazza changed to Perfect Italiano Mozzarella he found his staff used 20 per cent less cheese per pizza, which equates to a big cost savings
* To ensure he was switching to a superior product Mario conducted comparative tests between Perfect Italiano and the cheese he’d been using previously - no prizes for guessing which came out on top!

THE ABILITY to accurately estimate cost per serve is an essential tool in the running of any foodservice operation. Armed with this information, you can identify your most expensive ingredients and determine areas where you can save money.
Accurate estimation of cost per serve may also bring some surprises — premium ingredients often work out to be a more economical choice than lower quality alternatives due to better yield.
In the case of pizza and pasta, the core ingredients of Mozzarella (a key component of almost all pizzas on your menu) and Cream (essential for your cream-based sauces) are perfect examples.
A premium quality pizza cheese like Perfect Italiano will offer superior melt and coverage — meaning you can use less cheese than a lower quality competitor product to achieve the same amount of coverage when melted over your pizza. In the long run it’s a more economical choice for your business.
It’s the same with cream. A pre-reduced, extra yield cream like Anchor Extra Yield Cooking Cream offers up to 30 per cent more yield than conventional thickened cream, which again makes it a more cost-effective choice over the longer term. And because it’s pre-reduced, you also save on preparation time and labour costs in the kitchen.
“In our industry there’s no cutting corners when it comes to quality — if you do, you eventually end up with nothing,” points out highly successful restaurateur Mario Libertini who runs La Piazza, comprising two popular Italian styled eateries within Sydney’s Bankstown Sports Club - Belluci pizzeria and Stuzzichino restaurant.
“We’ve been here for 10 years and what’s kept us going over that time is our consistency. It’s important to keep the quality up, keep the products fresh and keep giving customers value for money. We haven’t fiddled around with our recipes or our pizza dough — the only thing we’ve changed is our Mozzarella, and that was when we found Perfect Italiano, which was a change for the better.”
Mario emphasises that switching to Perfect Italiano helped him to ensure value for money due to its lower cost per serve. “Once we changed to Perfect Italiano we found we were using up to 20 per cent less cheese per pizza when compared to our usage of the previous product. We serve about three and a half thousand pizzas per week, so that equates to a big cost saving.”
To ensure he was switching to a superior product, Mario conducted a series of comparative tests between Perfect Italiano Mozzarella and the cheese he had previously been using, with the assistance and support of his Fonterra Foodservice sales rep.
“There are a lot of things you look for in a cheese when you want to make the perfect pizza,” Mario says. “You don’t want any burning on top of the Mozzarella when it comes out of the oven, you don’t want blistering on the cheese, and you want a nice stretch. With the cheeses we used in the past, it was trial and error, but we haven’t had any more problems since we’ve been using Perfect Italiano.
“When you’re running a restaurant you need to be very aware of costs but when you consider the savings you can make by using a cheese which delivers great yield and therefore less cost per serve, it’s clearly a very attractive product.”
The same principle applies with Anchor Cooking Cream which Mario uses in many pasta sauces. “With the Anchor Cream we are able to reduce our sauces much quicker, which in addition to reducing the waiting time for customers means less work for us in the kitchen. The cream performs consistently so staff don’t need to know how to reduce cream or have to keep an eye on it, and the extra yield means we use less compared to regular cream, which again equates to better cost per serve.”
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