Cook's Direct Foodservice Equipment and Supply

All You Need to Know about Portion Control Scales

Portion control scales are a logical part of any profitable commercial kitchen. They allow the kitchen to know the size of the ingredients going into a menu item. For example, a sandwich may contain three ingredients, but it makes much more sense for the kitchen to be able to control the amount of each ingredient that goes into that sandwich. This way, the kitchen can keep an eye on its spending, and ensure that it does not go over budget.

Portion control works the other way too. From the customers’ point of view having the same weight and amount of ingredients in that sandwich ensures they get the same tastes and enjoyment every time. Using portion control scales ensures standards are maintained, and budgets are kept under control.

Some Basics

Digital scales are very popular and for good reason. It is arguable that they offer a higher degree of accuracy than more traditional scales. They can be powered through an electrical connection or through batteries. Many busy kitchens prefer the battery power option, simply because this means the units can be moved around the area without having to worry about a power supply being available. When it comes to power, like most items in a busy kitchen, power-saving is a must. This is no problem with the modern portion control scales because they often have an automatic feature where the power turns off when the unit has been left idle for a certain amount of time.

The construction of the actual scales is not as black and white as you might think. You can still buy plastic models, as well as the stainless-steel versions that you might expect to see, especially in larger kitchens. Plastic is not necessarily a problem when buying portion measures, but it is important to bear in mind that stainless steel constructions generally make for a much easier cleaning experience because the dirt and other detritus that is retained after weighing can easily be cleaned off steel. Some models are even able to be cleaned by being submerged in boiling water, which helps to guarantee against germs. Plastic units are good and very flexible, but if you want to get a truly sturdy and long-lasting unit, stainless steel seems to be the way to go.

Most digital portion control scales are quite flexible and offer a wide variety of weighing units. For example, you can measure in kilograms and even grams as wells as ounces and pounds. Push things up a notch, and some scales also offer extra versatility in that they can offer liquid measures.

Then we come to the displays. This is an important part of the whole experience with portion control. Traditional scales have their displays on the base of the unit, which are easy to read and usually no real trouble. However, when you have different items to weigh, it is important to have other options. These include a tower display option which simply makes the readout a little bit higher up so that you can see it more easily. This means that when you are working with liquids or plenty of ingredients, in a tall container, you have more flexibility in seeing the display.

There is even more versatility in remote displays. Remote displays can be mounted on the wall or placed on another surface. These are particularly useful when you are weighing something that is large. For example, in any Italian restaurant, a large pizza is a fixture on the menu. This is hard to weigh on a standard set of scales. With a remote display unit positioned somewhere else in the kitchen, you can have the measurements easily, without having to fiddle about with a pizza on a traditional base. Further advancements in technology have allowed kitchens to use other devices such as phones or tablets as scales thanks to the device’s Bluetooth or online connectivity. This is because the Bluetooth or other online connectivity on the scales can easily make that connection with the device. This allows kitchen staff to look at the readouts of the measures without touching scale.

In fact, portion weight measures have come a long way since the old days. When you are talking about tares, you are talking about the ability to reset the scale to 0 before you weigh something. However, the very latest and most modern models in this field offer a touchless option. This means that you can buy scales that you can reset to 0 just with the wave of a hand. This is particularly useful in very busy kitchens where multiple items need to be weighed at the same time, and there is a large potential for mess.

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Portion Control Scale

No matter what the size of your budget, it is important to remember that there are several considerations that need to be considered before you make a purchase. One of the biggest issues is precision. When you are in the kitchen and you are weighing many different items and ingredients, you sometimes need a more precise measurement. These are for finer ingredients, such as spices or sugar. A scale that can have a clear and precise measurement is therefore worth looking into and perhaps purchasing. With kitchens that have bigger ingredients or ingredients that are not as fine, it may be possible to get away with a unit that has less precision. Obviously, you can buy high-end units that combine both.

One key area to be aware of is the weight of the ingredients you are looking to measure. This is perhaps something that is most relevant to the largest of kitchens but having a scale that can manage heavier weights may well be your main factor when making your decision.

Going back to the pizza example, it is well worth thinking about the size of the platform you can weigh your ingredients on. A larger platform, which can manage larger items, not necessarily heavy items, is something that may be very important to your specific needs in the kitchen. If it isn’t, that cuts out certain units on the market. There is no point in having a large base on the unit if it is completely unnecessary.

One other key consideration again comes back to the ingredients that you will be using. If you are using ingredients that are notoriously messy, or more fluids, you may consider purchasing a stainless-steel set. It is much easier to clean and takes away much of the stress and hassle that comes with running the kitchen. Just bear in mind that some scales are not actually waterproof. This, again, may need to be a consideration when you make your purchase for the kitchen that you are running.

Finally, going back to the remote display options earlier, it is worthwhile to think about the ease of use of scales in your kitchen. If you don’t have a lot of space, it is well worth considering purchasing a remote display option , either through a mobile device or a specialist remote unit.

Scale Maintainence

Like any sophisticated piece of equipment in a kitchen, a portion control scale is a delicate unit. We have already discussed the idea of having waterproof units in the kitchen, these are actually a very good idea whether you use much fluid at all. There are always spills in kitchens, and sometimes it’s a good idea to have a unit that can withstand a sudden spill.

Like all units in the kitchen, this scale should be cleaned down daily, to make sure that you meet hygiene regulations. Also, keep it serviced on a regular basis according to the guarantee you have, this way you make sure that your unit will be good for years to come.

It is also a good idea to make sure that you look carefully at the possibility of using remote display units. These keep you out of the way of the scales and prevent further mess from occurring.

A truly indispensable part of any busy kitchen, the portion control scale is one of the most useful items you will have. Whether you are working in a large kitchen that serves hundreds of people on a daily basis, or a small kitchen that just has a few customers every day, knowing the portion sizes can not only save you money but also ensure that your customers keep coming back again and again for the taste that they enjoy.

By scales that meet your needs, and your size requirements, and make sure that they are maintained on a regular basis, and you will have scales that will serve you for many years to come.

About Cook’s Direct

Cook’s provides a full range of commercial kitchen solutions to correctional facilities, institutions and other large foodservice operations across North America. The company was founded in 1997 and is known for its innovative products, strong customer service and overall knowledge of institutional kitchen operations.

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