Robert madly flipped through his giant binder of recipes in search of his favorite pannacotta recipe. He hadn’t featured it on his restaurant’s menu for almost a year but a few of his regular customers made a special request, so he wanted to make it in time for the following day’s dinner service. He also wanted to play with it a bit to lighten its richness and add new flavors to the mix.
Crumpled, stained pages fell to the floor as he continued his search. After half an hour, he stopped and looked up a recipe online, still irked that his prized recipe was lost. Had one of his line cooks taken it home? Because he’d worked so hard to perfect them, Robert liked to keep all his restaurant’s recipes top secret. He couldn’t stand the thought of it being misplaced or making its way out of the restaurant.
As a chef, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Not only are you busy managing a kitchen staff, creating new recipes, and perfecting old favorites, you are trying to stay organized while doing it all. And while your job certainly isn’t simple, there are ways to make it easier—like using an online nutrition analysis software. There are many ways using nutrition analysis for recipes can really help you out in a busy kitchen—not just by finding the nutritional values and calorie counts for your dishes but by helping you get creative and stay organized.
Benefits of Using Nutrition Analysis for Recipes: Beyond Calorie Counts
When most of us think of nutrition analysis, we think of calorie counts on menus. With the menu labeling deadline requiring restaurants with 20 locations or more to provide calorie counts on their menus fast approaching, it makes sense. But in addition to providing chefs with the information the FDA requires, there is a whole host of other benefits of using nutrition analysis—particularly an online nutrition analysis software.
Here are some of the many advantages of using an online nutrition analysis software:
- Gives insight into menu items: Many chefs are used to experiencing a dish through its aromas, flavors, colors, and textures. Nutritionally analyzing recipes allows chefs to gain deeper insight into the nutritional properties of a dish and achieve a more well-rounded perception. Whether or not you are trying to design a healthy menu, nutrition analysis can prove useful in highlighting how a recipe can be improved or where it should fit in the scheme of the menu. A particular dish may be rich, flavorful, and sumptuous, for instance, but nutritional analysis may reveal that it is high in calories and fat, making it too filling to be part of a five-course tasting menu.
- Allows for easy tweaks and improvements: Nutrition analysis can help improve dishes, as chefs can enter their recipes into an online nutrition analysis software to see the nutritional profile and use that information to improve the dish. A dish that doesn’t seem filling enough, for instance, may not contain many calories or enough protein, so bulking it up may be necessary. Online nutrition analysis software, like MenuCalc, makes it incredibly easy for chefs to tweak their recipes and create new and improved versions thanks to a nifty duplicate function. With one click, you can create a copy of an original recipe without having to re-enter the entire thing, making it easy to swap out one ingredient for another, reduce the portion size, or create a new recipe based on an old one.
- Helps create consistency in the kitchen: A big part of what makes a restaurant great is its ability to consistently create delicious food—no matter which cook prepares it. Nutrition analysis software provides calorie counts, serving sizes, and detailed nutrition information for each recipe you enter. Including this information on your recipes may help cooks adhere to the recipe, creating a dish that is always the same.
- Keeps recipes organized: Many chefs I know, like Robert, have overstuffed binders with loose papers of all the recipes they’ve created. While this system works for some, it can be difficult to find the recipe you need quickly. Online nutrition analysis software organizes recipes and makes them searchable so you can find what you are looking for easily. Plus, you don’t have to worry about loose papers falling out or alphabetizing your binder.
- Stores recipes in a safe, confidential place: Have you ever had a line cook spill something all over your master recipe? We all know that kitchens can be messy places, so it’s important to keep your recipes safe and protected. The best online nutrition analysis software stores all your recipes in your password-protected account, so even if you lose a paper copy, you’re covered. Just make sure the software you choose has a daily backup function and a restore feature that recovers recipes if there is a problem with the server. This feature also helps you keep your recipes confidential so you can choose who to share each one with.
Using an online nutrition analysis software is useful for more reasons than just providing nutrition information for your menu items, making it a great product even if your restaurant doesn’t have to comply with the menu labeling guidelines.
Features to Look for When Choosing an Online Nutrition Analysis Software
If you decide that online nutrition analysis software would be useful for your restaurant, it’s important to know what to look for before you settle on one. While some of the key features of a good nutrition analysis software were mentioned above, like daily backup and restore functions, you may also want to consider these features:
- An allergen report that flags allergenic ingredients in your recipes.
- A nutrient content claim features that denotes which claims your recipes qualify for (i.e. “low fat” or “high fiber”).
- A nutrient comparison tool that allows you to see how each ingredient contributes to the overall nutritional value of the recipe.
- An expansive ingredient database (with more than 18,000 USDA-compiled ingredients).
- Expert menu consultants to help you navigate the menu labeling laws.
Finding a reputable nutrition analysis software with the above features can truly make life in the kitchen a whole lot easier. In fact, Robert decided to sign up for an account for his restaurant, and he was pleasantly surprised. He was finally able to get rid of his big old binder once he transferred his recipes to the software. And sure enough, while he was doing that, he came across the pannacotta recipe he’d been looking for. Luckily, it will never go missing again.
Are you ready to discover the benefits of using an online nutrition analysis software for yourself? MenuCalc provides easy-to-use, affordable nutritional analysis to help you stay organized and satisfy your customers. Contact us today to learn more.