Lessons Learned From Matzo Ball Soup

Sep 11, 2020 1:50:57 PM Feast & Fettle

In 2016, we started our business with no experience in scaled food production. The story of F&F is one of trial and error.

Our success depends on our ability to test, obsess over feedback, and change often.

Last year we launched our first Rosh Hashanah menu. Traditional Jewish cuisine was not our strength, and we would be making many dishes on the menu for the first time.

One staple item on any Rosh Hashanah menu is Matzo Ball Soup. Matzo balls are traditional Jewish dumplings that can be made in so many different ways. There's a wide range of preferences when it comes to this dish, but we ultimately looked to achieve a light, fluffy texture when creating our recipe.

After several iterations, we nailed it — feedback from the Jewish community was fantastic and it was a huge success for Chef Maggie and the team.

Fast forward to Passover 2020 — Our confidence from our first try at Matzo Ball Soup led us to put it on our weekly menu. The only difference this time was that we would be serving over 300 members.

We failed to realize that when scaling our recipe for 300 families (instead of 20) the ingredients would not behave the same way.

One of the crucial components in Matzo Ball Soup is the matzo meal. Matzo meal contains leavening agents (i.e., baking soda, yeast, air), to ensure you can achieve a light, fluffy texture.

When we scaled the recipe, the leavening agents did not have the same strength as they did before, causing a texture that was too dense and chewy.

We also failed to anticipate that sourcing matzo meal in large quantities would require us to use a new supplier…long story short, everyone hated it. A complete turnaround, for the worse, from when we originally debuted the dish.

But when we recognize something isn’t working, we aren’t afraid to immediately change course and try again.

We recently launched our second Rosh Hashanah Menu and guess what’s on the menu? Matzo Ball Soup.

We identified root problems, refined measurements, and switched to Manischewitz Matzo Meal (instead of making our own). We can now say with certainty that we have a scaled recipe we are proud to serve.

At F&F, almost every dish follows this same pattern…

1. We develop a recipe

2. We scale it and try it on our menu

3. Our members give us feedback

4. We listen and improve

We cannot promise that every dish will be perfect, but we will always listen, adjust, and refine. As long as we continue to embrace change and obsess over our member’s feedback, we know everything else will fall into place.