What is your professional and personal opinion on mass producing and freezing.

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Joined Apr 11, 2013
So I have been working at a new restaurant for a few months now. It´s a fairy large crew (30+ employees) and I have noticed that the menu is pretty large and the amount of products being made is also quite large. The restaurant rarely ever is out of stock on anything, we rarely run out of a certain ingrediente or food item.
But i also have noticed that the people that work in our production kitchen produce a lot and freeze a lot.
There are some items that rarely leave the kitchen, that are rarely ordered, and don´t quite sell as much, but it´s there frozen, ready to go at any time, when ordered of course.

So what is your opinion on producing large quantities of food and having it frozen. Even if it´s respecting expirtation dates, I think to myself it´s still a waste of time, space, maybe money, as well as an employee could be doing something else that could be more helpful and beneficial. I don´t know, I have mixed views on the topic.

I´m not against freezing, but I do think it´s possible to go overboard on producing and freezing things (food items) in a restaurant, especially to never risk running out of something on a menu even if it´s for a night.
 
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Joined Dec 23, 2004
I'll cautiously come down in favor it freezing. Naturally it depends on what it is, etc. but I like to make stuff like wontons in good sized batches and freeze them, just thaw a small amount for service.
 
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There are some items that rarely leave the kitchen, that are rarely ordered, and don´t quite sell as much, but it´s there frozen, ready to go at any time, when ordered of course.
As a baker, it is quite useful to freeze things. In fact, a lot of people prefer cakes and brownies that have been frozen, and there's nothing wrong with preparing cookie dough, pie/tart shells, and many other items ahead of time. But, in a large kitchen with a large staff, I can't think of many reasons to be freezing entrees and the like. The above quoted is definitely a waste of time and money and, I feel, disrespectful to the customer; it should be removed from the menu.
 
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I produce thousands of Individual Cheesecakes, White Cakes, Carrot Cakes, Flourless Chocolate Cakes, Bread Puddings, etc. a year, and i always make batches of 200-500. Cook, cool, freeze, remove from silicone, tray with parchment, and wrap/label/date. Then store frozen until needed. Then again, the items im using wont be damaged much by the freezing process (only frozen once!)
 
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Joined Jun 27, 2012
I never really thought of it but we pretty much stay away from the chains where the micro rules the kitchen.
Esp the ones with the mile long menus.
It is a turn off when I know I can stop by the freezer department at HEB and buy almost the entire TGIF's app menu and enjoy at home.
Most of the time my finished product is way better as I can hit that crispy but not dry point as well as enjoy at the proper temp.

So if it is not intended to save time for the weekend rush, I vote the frozen dishes off the island.
Maybe the owner is having issues with letting go and can benefit from a 12 step program of some sort.

mimi
 
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Joined Dec 28, 2017
I think it depends on what kind of restaurant it is. Regardless, having a huge menu where half the items get sold once a month, then having them on the menu adds nothing positive. When it gets ordered it slows you down, things take space for no reason, produce gets thrown out. A solution to that is freezing things, but then again a better solution would be to just take things off the menu.
 
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My opinion is that the only items that should be frozen after being prepped are things that are going to be deep fried, wings, fries, wontons, etc. I hate the thought of using the microwave, even though its use is a reality. Frozen meat makes me want to gag, but until I'm running my own establishment, it will continue being a reality, too.
 
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As has been pointed out, mass producing some things is necessary and can be beneficial for several reasons.
But as was also pointed out, mass producing and freezing an underselling menu item just for the sake of availability is wasteful and wrong.
On the other hand, I used to make Bangers, (english sausages) about 1000 at a time, then package and freeze them. They were very popular and sold quickly but prepping a large amount and freezing meant I wasn't burdened with having to make them all the time. Frozen raw, cooked to order. Well packaged so they never got freezer burn.
Stocks can be frozen successfully as well.
Whatever gets frozen needs to have a destination, not just sit there for an indeterminate length of time.
Like many food production processes, it isn't so much the process but how it's utilized.
 
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Joined Oct 1, 2006
Sounds like you have a wonderful opportunity to see for yourself which products benefit from freezing and which ones suffer. Generally for fruit, vegetables and proteins, fresh is king, but there will always be exceptions. I freeze apples if I am making Apple sorbet. The freezing process will rupture the cell structure when the ice crystals form and makes the juice, which is served frozen, easier to extract from the solids. Freezing actually increases the rate of pigment release from the skins for the same reason.

You mentioned having mixed views on this subject and you should! It is not an all or none subject.

I even have my little frozen Gougeres at home. From frozen to warm, fresh baked, little clouds of cheesy Pate a Choux goodness in 15 minutes. It isn't practical to keep Pate a Choux in the fridge for more than two days. This one makes sense.

Product by product go through the menu and decide "I would do that" or "I would not do that" and file it away in your memory banks for the time when YOU have to make the decision to freeze or not to freeze. That is the question...

What a great environment to learn and get paid!

Good luck!
 
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
I work in a seasonal place with varying degrees of business throughout the year. I, unfortunately, have to utilize the freezer in order to slow down waste.

We keep some family meal stuff in there as well, frozen fries, wraps, sandwich bread and meat, etc.

One thing that really helps is having a cryovac machine that we can seal individual portions of seafood and meat in before we freeze. This allows us to pull in batches and to also minimize damage and freezer burn from having to freeze. We do freeze some things regularly like pasta portions, some stocks, fat, some breads, but for the most part we do our best to watch ordering so we don't over order and have to freeze a lot.

We make good use of the larder as well, to ferment, pickle, can, etc some things as well to use throughout the year.
 

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