• Time Efficiency: By utilizing pre-made and partially prepared ingredients, chefs can cut down on prep times during busy service periods or when managing a high volume of orders. 

  • Affordability: It might seem counterintuitive, but buying some products like pre-made sauces or spice blends can be more cost-effective than making them in-house, increasing the profitability of your menu

  • Streamline Operations: By reducing the complexity of certain recipes, speed scratching can remove the number of ingredients you need and thus greatly improves inventory management and minimizes waste.

  • Menu Efficiencies: With pre-made sauces and flavors, speed scratching lets you easily cross-utilize ingredients, letting you simply tweak or diversify multiple menu items with readymade ease.

  • Consistency: Pre-made products often come with standardized recipes and quality control measures, ensuring a consistent taste and presentation across different batches or locations. This consistency helps in meeting customer expectations and maintaining the reputation of the restaurant.

Waiter holding two plated dishes


From soup to dessert, here are some of our favorite ingredients to use in speed scratching.

White ceramic bowl filled with mushroom soup


Cream of Mushroom can act as a base for lots of dishes. It’s an easy way to inject depth and complexity to a recipe, especially those that benefit from a savory element. It also can act as a blank canvas for customization, giving you a one-size-fits-all tool with a range of recipes. For example, just adding lump crab, sherry, and fresh veggies can make a rich bisque.

Chef adding tomato sauce to pasta dish


Unless making a labor-intensive “Nonna-style” sauce is your restaurant’s thing, buying pre-made red sauce can save you hours of slow cooking. Tomato sauce can come in a variety of different seasonings, and can of course be used to make pasta, lasagna, and pizza. However, with its robust flavor profile, balanced acidity, and subtle sweetness, tomato sauce can be used for so much more. It can become the base for chili, it’s a key ingredient in butter chicken, and can be used in jambalaya.

Pile of frozen beans on a white table


No matter the time of year, flash frozen vegetables are always in season. They ensure consistent access to a wide variety of vegetables, frozen quickly to retain the nutrients, texture, and flavor. Rather than peeling and cutting veggies, these greens are ready to go saving you hours of prep time per week.

Jello pudding with raspberries on a white plate


JELL-O® pudding is a shortcut to rich desserts, like pies, parfaits, trifles, layered desserts – generally as a filling or topping. Its pudding provides a consistent and reliable texture in desserts, setting into a smooth and creamy consistency when prepared according to the instructions, ensuring a uniform and appealing presentation.

Linguini with pesto sauce on a white plate


Pesto can be expensive and work intensive. However, pre-made can be spooned over steaks, poured into pastas, and transformed into herbed butter in seconds. Pesto has a decent shelf life when properly stored in the refrigerator, making it a reliable ingredient to have on hand. Pesto is made primarily with fresh herbs, nuts, and olive oil, providing a good source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. It can contribute to the overall nutritional value of a dish while adding flavor.


Entrusting your restaurant’s offerings to a third party can be overwhelming. You need to make sure the product you’re using upholds the quality and consistency you’d offer in your restaurant. Here are some tips for finding the right speed-scratching partner.

  • Brand Reputation: Partner with reputable brands that have a track record of quality and reliability. Ask the advice of other chefs or culinary professionals or read customer reviews to determine their suitability.

  • Evaluate Taste and Flavor: Request samples or purchase small quantities of the convenience products you are considering. Taste and evaluate them to ensure that the flavors align with your expectations and can be easily enhanced with fresh ingredients.

  • Cost Considerations: Consider the overall cost of these convenience products and see how it affects your profitability. When auditing the costs, remember that a good portion of speed-scratching is saved in overhead costs, so make sure you factor time and labor into your equation, on top of ingredient costs.