Success Stories


A former process engineer, restaurateur Bruce Hink’s use of “speed scratch” cooking helps maximize the flavor freshness of his ingredients, while streamlining the efficiency of his counter service pizzeria! While Bruce’s methods are perfectly suited to his time-sensitive clientele, many of his ideas are equally applicable in other types of restaurants.


With his pizzeria located next to a large university, most of Bruce Hink’s patrons are busy college students looking for great-tasting, yet dependably quick, Italian food. In order to greatly accelerate meal preparation, without sacrificing quality, Bruce built his entire operation around “speed scratch” cooking.

In “speed scratch” cooking, a relatively small set of “semi-prepared” ingredient components (e.g., sauces, toppings, accompaniments, etc.) can be quickly combined to create a relatively large number of unique entrees.

For example, consider a prep station stocked with three pastas, four sauces, and three “toppings” (e.g., chopped grilled chicken, mixed grilled peppers, or melted mozzarella). In combination, those ten components are easily transformed into nearly fifty unique entrées. To further multiply the power of this approach, Bruce also offers three other entrée types (personal sized pizzas, soups, and salads) which utilize many of the same components.

While Bruce’s component approach was designed to enable his team to prepare “good food fast,” stocking fewer, higher volume ingredients (instead of more, slower moving items) also helps keep each ingredient tasting its freshest, simplifies purchasing, and reduces costly waste relative to traditional variety-driven menu planning.

That’s because many restaurants plan their menus by first choosing which dishes to offer, and then purchase whatever ingredients they require. As a result, they often find themselves stocking more and more unique ingredients, but using each item less over time.

To further accelerate the speedy service his customers value, Bruce also streamlined how they place orders.

That is, instead of guests deciding what to eat while standing at the register (slowing the line), Bruce asks them to first write down their order before entering the fast-paced cash register line.

To do this, customers begin by choosing one of four color-coded order forms, depending on whether they’re hungry for pizza, pasta, soup, or salad. Then, on each pre-printed form, they can circle their favorite entrée, or on the flip side, they can customize their entrée by circling their choice of individual ingredients to include.

Finally, guests print their name at the bottom of the form, once above and once below a perforated line. That way, once they’ve purchased their meal, the cashier can tear off the bottom of the slip for the guest to display at their table, so servers know where to deliver their freshly prepared entrée.

The remaining 80% of the form is then sent to the corresponding color-coded prep station in the kitchen. Soon thereafter, the finished dish is rushed out to the awaiting guest’s table.

The bottom line is that by truly understanding what his customers value most, Bruce is able to provide them great Italian food, while reliably meeting their need for speed!