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SNewman004

Scratch Guacamole - Labor Intensive

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'Our menu is based on Mexican and Latin American flavors, therefor we can't not have fresh guacamole. We fly through the stuff!! One recipe uses 72 avocados which yields about 20 quarts of guacamole. We go through this amount almost every day. On top of having someone (or a couple of) people pressing fresh tortillas, we are spending a lot of time on this menu item. I can't think of any way to make the guacamole less labor intensive without sacrificing the quality. I have considered table side, or to-order made guac. Any thoughts or ideas? Thanks!

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You could use a Robot Coupe for the non-avocado ingredients.

I think at a certain point, you have to weigh out how much the 'handmade' label does for your business. When I lived in Santa Fe, there was a restaurant that locals would take out-of-towners to if they were serious about local food. It wasn't downtown. It was in an old house, in a nondescript neighborhood, and had been started in 1950. (in pre-internet days, it was like a secret club, a regular had to tell you how to get there) In the front window, an older woman sat making tortillas, and next to her was the guac station with another lady making each serving from scratch. You could see this from the outside and the inside. And the servers would tell you the ladies' names. So, you knew that Marcella was making your tortillas tonight, and Consuela was ready to make some guacamole just for you. If they got machines, I suspect their business would dry up immediately. There would be no real reason to go there anymore.

 

One cost saving measure, if you can get a year-round supply, is to add a small amount of small-dice jicama to the guacamole. That said, it's always been something to be treated carefully in the kitchen. Make sure the servers aren't dipping into it for snacks, and generally make sure everyone knows that ounce for ounce it costs as much as good seafood.

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Charge more, hire more employees.  

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To-order. My favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant does it that way.

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For what it's worth, we will absolutely go somewhere specifically for good guacamole. Bad guacamole doesn't necessarily put us off if the rest is good, but good guac makes us take an extra trip.

 

(My housemate just wants to know how the heck you get 72 avocados ripe all at the same time. We have horrible luck locally.)

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Can you pinpoint what's taking so much time?  Lisa suggested a robot coupe - if you're hand-chopping everything, definitely try to speed that up!

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I don't know if there's any way to make as much guacamole that you do and still produce it quickly without just dumping it in a blender. If you make it in a molcajete and take it to the table that way it could be a selling point. It's compelling to have someone mash avocados for your own personal guacamole--I'm sure your customers would love it. But if you're using 70+ avocados every day I don't think you'd have enough molcajetes to go around. This is not a problem that most of us have.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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44 minutes ago, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

I don't know if there's any way to make as much guacamole that you do and still produce it quickly without just dumping it in a blender. If you make it in a molcajete and take it to the table that way it could be a selling point. It's compelling to have someone mash avocados for your own personal guacamole--I'm sure your customers would love it. But if you're using 70+ avocados every day I don't think you'd have enough molcajetes to go around. This is not a problem that most of us have.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

 

One of our local places does it both ways - guacamole as a garnish or dish component with a ton of other stuff is made back in the kitchen somehow (I suspect blender or similar based on texture) but if you order guacamole as a dish they make it fresh tableside.

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On 11/11/2017 at 6:10 PM, quiet1 said:

For what it's worth, we will absolutely go somewhere specifically for good guacamole. Bad guacamole doesn't necessarily put us off if the rest is good, but good guac makes us take an extra trip.

 

(My housemate just wants to know how the heck you get 72 avocados ripe all at the same time. We have horrible luck locally.)

We get them "green" and by the case. We store them at room temperature and they ripen over a few days.

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22 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

Can you pinpoint what's taking so much time?  Lisa suggested a robot coupe - if you're hand-chopping everything, definitely try to speed that up!

That is a small part, yes. The main problem is the amount of avocados we are slicing open and scooping out. To be fair, it is time consuming but not terrible. I'm just trying to get a little insight into our higher prep-time items. I will absolutely try the robot coupe and see how it comes out!! Thanks y'all!

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20 hours ago, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

I don't know if there's any way to make as much guacamole that you do and still produce it quickly without just dumping it in a blender. If you make it in a molcajete and take it to the table that way it could be a selling point. It's compelling to have someone mash avocados for your own personal guacamole--I'm sure your customers would love it. But if you're using 70+ avocados every day I don't think you'd have enough molcajetes to go around. This is not a problem that most of us have.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

Hey Nancy, we use the guacamole in a number of our dishes as well as a garnish. I think we can cut back our batch made during prep if the waitstaff does the guac appetizer table side. I also think our guests would enjoy the extra attention.

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13 hours ago, SNewman004 said:

Hey Nancy, we use the guacamole in a number of our dishes as well as a garnish. I think we can cut back our batch made during prep if the waitstaff does the guac appetizer table side. I also think our guests would enjoy the extra attention.

There's a restaurant in Zihuatanejo that prepares salsa at the table, and one can specify how spicy it will be, what other ingredients other than tomato and chile, etc. It's always a hit. The wait staff gets a chance to show off a little, make it a bit of a performance, and get a bigger tip as a result. The Zihua restaurant has a young woman whose only job is to make the salsa, so you might consider dedicating one person for the guacamole.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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Would love to know where your restaurant is.  Heading to Birmingham for Thanksgiving.  Wife’s family lives there.  Good authentic Mexican food would be a good find. If you do a good authentic chille relleno that would be icing on the cake.  

 

My Dad’s family all live in Mexico City.  Mexican food in Central West Coast Fla has a lot to be desired.  Birmingham has become a surprisingly good food destination if you bypass the chains

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On 11/13/2017 at 12:01 PM, SNewman004 said:

That is a small part, yes. The main problem is the amount of avocados we are slicing open and scooping out. To be fair, it is time consuming but not terrible. I'm just trying to get a little insight into our higher prep-time items. I will absolutely try the robot coupe and see how it comes out!! Thanks y'all!

 

I don't get it, slicing and scooping 72 avocados should take all of 20 minutes. It's by far not the most time intensive step of making guac. 

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17 hours ago, scubadoo97 said:

Would love to know where your restaurant is.  Heading to Birmingham for Thanksgiving.  Wife’s family lives there.  Good authentic Mexican food would be a good find. If you do a good authentic chille relleno that would be icing on the cake.  

 

My Dad’s family all live in Mexico City.  Mexican food in Central West Coast Fla has a lot to be desired.  Birmingham has become a surprisingly good food destination if you bypass the chains

 

Not Mexican, but I do hope you take in the Hot and Hot Fish Club, my personal favorite, while you're there.

 

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Thanks Kay. The menu looks excellent but a bit too upscale for this particular entourage of family members .  My wife and I would love it.  

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Try pressing your avocado's through a cake rack over a bowl or what ever.  This definitely speeds things up.

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On 11/11/2017 at 3:55 PM, Dave W said:

Charge more, hire more employees.  

 

Unless you can find a technological work around, this is the answer. Especially if you're a southwestern/Mexican establishment. If quality guac isn't on the menu -- even as a premium "upcharge" menu item -- it would set off a lot of alarm bells in my mind. 

 

On 11/12/2017 at 12:43 AM, quiet1 said:

 

One of our local places does it both ways - guacamole as a garnish or dish component with a ton of other stuff is made back in the kitchen somehow (I suspect blender or similar based on texture) but if you order guacamole as a dish they make it fresh tableside.

 

This is how many of our local "Mexican" establishments operate, though I hate tableside guac service. HATE. It's a freaking bowl of guac, not a freaking Dover Sole. Most places have stopped doing tableside guac and now just offer a "fresco" or "house-made chunky" guac for a price premium and then use lower quality stuff for garnishing. That's my preference, unless it's an upmarket establishment (where my preference is for all guac to be proper guac).


Edited by btbyrd (log)
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Hate is a pretty strong word.

 

I remember a little pop-up mexican place in a market downtown that did 'to order' guac, and he would often allow you to interact and select what you did or did not prefer.  Or just let him handle the details!  Might be an interesting concept.

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Hate is a strong word, but so are my feelings about making some poor schlep do a common kitchen task tableside for no reason.

 

 

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5 hours ago, scubadoo97 said:

Thanks Kay. The menu looks excellent but a bit too upscale for this particular entourage of family members .  My wife and I would love it.  

 

FWIW, this is the best dish on the menu. Made my eyes roll back in my head.

 

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There are a few places in NYC that do tableside guac and I will say that it is very popular in those places, and commands a high price. Some people enjoy watching it being made in front of them, like theater. The Guac Guy in those places is never standing around.

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1 hour ago, TicTac said:

Hate is a pretty strong word.

 

I remember a little pop-up mexican place in a market downtown that did 'to order' guac, and he would often allow you to interact and select what you did or did not prefer.  Or just let him handle the details!  Might be an interesting concept.

 

Yeah, this is what they do here too - you can customize it which is part of the attraction. We don't go there often but when we do we usually get two orders of the table side guacamole and do them different ways.

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We have a slightly upscale Mexican restaurant at the Mall of America that does table side guac to order.  We've not ordered it and it's not cheap - but they have more then one cart so it must be somewhat popular.

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