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Foodservice Labor Shortages? Speed-Scratch Can Help

If you are juggling recruitment tasks and labor shortages, try incorporating speed-scratch items into your menu to reduce your labor demand.

Finding, training, and retaining a workforce have always posed challenges for foodservice operators. This year, though, the foodservice labor crisis is more acute than ever, according to Technomic. If you are juggling recruitment tasks and labor shortages, what can you do to keep meal production on an even keel? Try incorporating speed-scratch items into your menu to reduce your labor demand.

What is speed-scratch production?

Speed-scratch is a production solution that combines fresh and ready-to-use ingredients with minimal preparation. Speed-scratch production eliminates some steps from traditional scratch-cooking, reducing the labor requirement and streamlining labor costs. 

Certain ingredients lend themselves to speed-scratch concepts, such as pre-cut vegetables, ready-made soups or sauces, pre-cooked pastas or rice, packaged toppings, and ready-to-use protein foods. 

For example, ready-made Alfredo sauce spooned over pre-cooked pasta plus and topped with pre-cooked, ready-to-use chicken strips can make an easy entrée that thermalizes quickly. Simple extras like a garnish of basil can make it elegant. Or you can build a speed-scratch taco from ready-to-use taco shells: Fill with ready-to-use taco meat (purchased as cooked, diced, and seasoned). Briefly heat it and then top with other ready-to-use ingredients such as shredded cheese, guacamole, and shredded lettuce. 

One of our favorite speed-scratch recipes comes in a single box. The Tuna Salad Kit provides pre-measured ingredients in tear-open pouches for quick prep with no thawing, cooking, or culinary skills required. The speed-scratch tuna salad holds under refrigeration with no thermalization required. It’s an easy speed-scratch staple for sandwiches and salads.

Benefits of speed-scratch

Speed-scratch offers many labor-friendly benefits today:

  • No thawing or advance prep required
  • Less ingredient measuring
  • Quick production
  • Adaptable to order-on-demand
  • Take-out friendly
  • Less food waste
  • Less clean-up
  • Ease of onboarding and training of staff – even those who do not have culinary training
  • Reduced staffing requirements and lower labor costs

More speed-scratch ideas from Chicken of the Sea

Chicken of the Sea offers a full array of ready-to-use, sustainable seafood that is shelf-stable and available in easy-open, no drain pouches. It aligns with increasing consumer appetite for healthy protein, omega-3s, and classic comfort foods. And it works with global flavors, because seafood is popular around the world.

A speed-scratch salad made with ready-to-use salad greens is easy to top off with a pouch of Wild-Caught Pink Salmon or Premium Light Tuna. Flavored Salmon Pouches offers endless opportunities for speed-scratch bowls in a variety of flavor profiles. Or, pair them with a little mayonnaise and ready-to-use hard-cooked eggs to make enticing salmon deviled eggs. Add a pouch to ready-made pasta with your favorite dressing for an easy pasta salad. Stir a salmon pouch into a canned potato soup and sprinkle with cheese or croutons for a warm and satisfying chowder. Open a can of Genova Premium Tuna over a pre-made pizza shell topped with sauce and cheese for a speed-scratch Mediterranean-style pizza. 

Speed-scratch has been a mainstream concept for foodservice for years. Today, it’s one of the best picks in the arsenal for surviving labor shortages. Chicken of the Sea is here to help!

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