Soda for Breakfast… This Isn’t A Joke

Soda powerhouse, Coca-Cola, is targeting to boost soft drink consumption in the United Kingdom in an unexpected way. The soft drink corporation wants consumers to swap their morning coffee or tea for soda!

Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. released a report, just last week, which recognizes numerous ways they can increase sales over the next 5 years in the European region. One of these categories, which is entitled “Complete the Meal” states that breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day. About a quarter of all drinks that are consumed in the U.K. are done so before 10am.

The report clearly states that its attempts are to simulate soft drinks like smoothies, juices, and other on-the-go products. This report was released at the same time that soda consumption has been on the decline in the U.S. – among concerns that soda fuels weight gain. So, to address those concerns Coca-Cola began airing advertisements and commercials that explains their fight against obesity.

The Coca-Cola report, “See The Opportunity”, also states that there is no soda in the U.K. designed as “relaxation” drinks, as there are in Japan and the U.S. Drinks containing melatonin are expected to exceed 300 million liters on consumption in the U.S. by 2014.

Other ways that that Coca-Cola intends on increasing sales is making their products available at pick-me-up at work places, as well as “right” places for teens at places like the movie theaters. In contrast, the “Daytime At Home” category in the report is mainly unused for the soda industry, with water and hot drinks being the most commonly consumed beverages at home.

CBS News

News Daily

soda breakfast

soda bfast

FOG BMP… Translates to Sustainabilit-EE

Approaching the start of the second half of my Institutional Foodservice Production and Management rotation, I’m starting to realize how everything I’ve learned so far is coming full circle. Yesterday I was educated, in more detail, about the benefits and logistics of a FOG BMP program in restaurant foodservice managements related to sustainability. The Chief Operating Officer from FOG BMP Rite-Way Compliance Group, LLC was our guest speaker yesterday and educated us on the importance of this program, how it works, how it affects our restaurant businesses, and community as a whole.

FOGis an acronym that stands for Fats, Oils, and Grease which is commonly found in Food Service Establishments (FSE’s).

BMPstands for Best Management Plan. This program is recommended by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and mandated by various cities across the country. It entails a written plan of daily practices for food service employees to follow to solve the problems of fats, oils, and grease that enters the public sanitary sewers.

There are 2 types of grease: yellow grease/rendered grease and brown grease/trap grease.

Yellow Grease

        “Fryer” grease

        Highly Profitable

        High yield profitability from rendering companies

Brown Grease

        Grease from food preparation

        Requires service from “pumping” companies

        Lower yield profitability from rendering companies

So, how does FOG negatively impact your FSE?

        Severe fire risk that can cause loss of property and lives

        FOG entering the drains in your facility causes blockages in the plumbing

        Unnecessary drain cleaning costs

        Increased maintenance cleaning costs of grease interceptors

        Odor issues that drive customers away

        Negative public image

        Brand damage

How does FOG negatively impact the public sewer system?

        FOG is the #1 reason for sewer system overflows

        FOG that is allowed to exit the grease interceptor of your FSE (from poor maintenance procedures/neglect) enters directly into the public sewer system

        $29 billion a year is spent on cleaning up the public sewer systems in the U.S.

Fats, oils, and grease usually enter a food service establishment plumbing system through:

        Pre-rinse sink

        Washing wares in the 3-compartment sink

        Floor cleaning

        Equipment sanitation

There are currently 2 different types of devices that all restaurants have that is designed to separate the fats, oils, grease and solids from wastewater. A grease trap is usually located in smaller food service establishments and positioned inside the kitchen near the 3-compartment sink.  A grease interceptor is located in much larger food service operations and is an exterior in-ground tank.

One concept that really caught my attention of the presentation was composting. Our guest speaker mentioned that other restaurant corporations are utilizing this form of sustainability as well. The restaurants use their food waste, which is food materials that are discarded or unable to use, and saved to put in a food compost container. Then, these composts are donated to local farmers to use for fertilizers on their produce. Then, once the produce is grown, the restaurant buys those products from the local farmers. It really promotes local food economy, utilizing local farmers, and minimizing food miles traveled. I think this is a great and innovative model that every restaurant should adopt!

Darden Sustainability

NRA Sustainability

Sustainable Restaurant Assoc.

buyfreshbuylocal

farm to restaurant

SRA local

Darden oil

The West Virginia Road Map for the Food Economy

The “buying local” trend has emerged within the last few years. In the United States, especially in West Virginia, food agriculture businesses are finding themselves at critical and electrifying times of opportunity. From 2006 to 2008, West Virginia small restaurants and hotels showed a 360% increase in purchases of local products. In the 2012-2013 school year, the WV Department of Education committed $250,000 in school food funds for local purchases. More than a dozen of county school systems reported buying directly from West Virginia farms in 2012, while four of these began buying locally since September 2011. Even the Martinsburg VAMC sees fresh, healthy meals as an ingredient of recovery for their patients and has spent over $23,000 on local food.

From 2002 to 2007, 39% more local West Virginia farmers began selling directly to consumers. And the dollar amount of direct-to-consumer sales increased by 55%. This means that farmers are capturing a greater portion of the consumer food dollar by marketing products as directly as possible from farm to table as demand grows, new business models are also emerging to provide the kinds of processing, aggregation and distribution required to meet the needs of sophisticated buyers.

This growth creates jobs for farmers and also for other parts of the state’s economy. A recent study by Downstream Strategies, LLC and WVU showed that if West Virginia farmers grew enough produce to meet the in-season fresh produce needs of all state residents, the shift would generate 1,723 new jobs and would result in about $190 million being retained in the state instead of flowing beyond its borders. Increased local sales of West Virginia products also creates the need for businesses that collect, process and distribute local food, which creates more local jobs. For example, one Iowa study found that every 1,000 cattle sent to small meat processing facilities supported 7.4 processing jobs.

So a common question that you might find asking yourself is… What exactly does “buying local” mean? There is no universally agreed-upon definition for the geographic component of what “local” or “regional” means, consumers are left to decide what local and regional food means to them. A 2008 survey found that half of consumers surveyed described “local” as “made or produced within a hundred miles” (of their homes), while another 37% described “local” as “made or produced in my state.”  The ability to eat “locally” also varies depending on the production capacity of the region in question: people living in areas that are agriculturally productive year-round may have an easier time sourcing food that is grown or raised 100 miles (or even 50 miles) from their homes than those in arid or colder regions, whose residents may define “local food” in a more regional context.

The Morgantown Farmers’ Market, for example, sells products that are grown or made within 50 miles of Morgantown city limits. So all of their products are supporting small family farms.

So, West Virginia has developed a “food charter” that’s designed to help us all focus, measure and celebrate our collective progress towards stronger local food systems. This Road Map for the Food Economy offers a vision for WV’s local food economy and provides ways of measuring how statewide and local policies, programs, and community efforts are contributing to the strength of this food economy. The Road Map is broken down into 2 parts: an action plan for building a food and farm economy over the next 5 years; and a “Food Economy Score Card” which allows us to measure the cooperative progress towards the goals of the action plan. The Food Economy Score Card will be updated annually and then the positive changes and progression will be distinguished in an annual report.

This Road Map is for everyone!It’s offered more as a tool to help people (and consumers) in West Virginia understand the key opportunities of the food policies and economy. Local government, citizens groups, policy makers, farmer groups, foundations, agencies, economic developers and other concerned groups are invited to adopt or adapt the Road Map as a guide to form an action plan for their own efforts.

So, how can you get involved?

          Adopt the Road Map for the Food Economy charter: encourage your local government, citizens group, legislators, farmer organization, community foundation, economic developers or other concerned agencies to sign on at

          Stay connected to statewide organizing efforts through the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition by signing up for our newsletter, and by attending statewide events hosted by other groups — such as the West Virginia Small Farm Conference, hosted by WVU Extension Service and its West Virginia Small Farm Center.

          Buy Local: set a goal for how much your family, business or agency will spend on local food. At home, consider buying at least $10 worth of locally produced food per week. At work, consider sourcing at least $500 worth of local food for events and meetings each year.

          Find simple ways to work on the Road Map’s action items within your own community. Tell your school superintendent about the importance of Agriculture Education; let a farmer know about farm to school opportunities, or help start a nutrition education class at your local farmers market. If you are part of a civic organization, help that organization choose an action item to work on this year.

Why should the Road Map matter to you?

The problem that I’m really trying to shine light on is the fact that food access has a HUGE effect on food insecurity in the U.S. right now. The State Indicator on Fruits and Vegetables 2013 reports that the percentage of census tracts with at least one healthier food retailer within a ½ mile of tract boundary in West Virginia is at 59.3%. Currently, West Virginia does not have a healthier food retail policy. West Virginia also does not currently have a state-level farm-to-school/preschool policy. The entire state only has 1 food hub. Yes, only one! And West Virginia has no local food policy councils. That’s right… zero!

As a community why can’t get try to enclose this gap in food access with the products that are right in front of us? Well, only time will tell how this community attempts to resolve this problem.

Sustainable Table

HOD Backgrounder

2015 Dietary Guidelines

road map

Logo Concepts revised

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Food Costs: Actual vs. Ideal

One of the factors that play a substantial role in the success of a foodservice operation is food costs. Food cost is what a menu item costs to prepare. The cost of a chicken entrée with meat, sauce, vegetables and starch is your food cost. Most restaurants run between a 30-40% food cost, this does not include the cost of overhead that needs to get added in before you start making a profit. A major influence on a restaurant’s food costs are the portions that the kitchen staff are creating each recipe and dish with.

One of reasons that franchise chain restaurants are so successful is because they have menu portions under control and regulated. It doesn’t matter if you go to Applebee’s in West Virginia or California, you will probably be served the same food in the same portion sizes. Customers like this consistency. By having a restaurant maintaining predictability, regardless of the location, chain restaurants guarantee strong profit margins.

Poor portion control is one of the leading causes of food cost variances. Consider that your ideal food cost is based on the premise of exact portioning for each menu item, including the portioning of each ingredient within a menu item. If your prep and line cooks have gotten in the habit of “eyeballing” measurements rather than sticking to the exact recipes, chances are your food cost variance could be as much as 5% or more. Proven portion control strategies include the use of portioning scoops, scales and measuring spoons and cups. Pre-portioning can be effective in controlling costs by using portion baggies and a scale to pre-weigh product before stocking the cook line.

Ideal food cost is the standard by which you can compare your actual food cost. If your actual food cost varies to your ideal food cost, then you set about to determine why and where the problem(s) lie. After completing your inventory, you should do a food cost analysis. You should do this at least once a week. The actual food cost is the cost of the food consumed by your customers.  When your actual food cost is higher than your ideal food cost, then you have not optimized your bottom-line profits. You have thrown money out with the window- I guess you could say. However, you won’t know this unless you know what your ideal food cost is.

So, a few things that a restaurant can do to maintain this consistency and reliability, in regards to portion control and essentially saving in food costs are:

          Providing pictures of each plated item. This illustrates the correct portion sizes and proper plating.

          Provide pictures of what each raw material/ingredient should look like after they are prepped. So for example, have pictures of actual sizes of what diced chicken looks like compared to the restaurant’s sliced chicken. This will give employees a visual of how to prep and what to look out for when assembling menu items.

          Pre-portion condiments, sides, and sauces. Every restaurant that I have ever worked in has done this. This is why when you go out to eat a restaurant and you order a salad, the dressing usually comes in small ramekins that have plastic lids. This way you can serve the dressing in-house or for to-go.

          Always have an adequate amount of correct sized storage containers, ladles, and scoops for each menu item as well as a variety of measuring cups, spoons, and scales.

These four prevention measures not only assist in less waste, but they also speed up food preparation and service time – especially at peak times like the lunch-rush or dinner-rush. It also makes certain that your customer gets exactly what they order and what they want, every single time they come to dine at your foodservice establishment.

So, with all of this information being said… How does this apply to my ISPP rotations right now?  Well, at my Institutional Food Service, Production and Management rotation, the entire class was assigned a task. This was to choose a raw material (ingredient) and analyze the actual vs. ideal food costs of that item. And by doing this, see what the restaurant needs to do to improve the usage of this product- whether or not if it was being overused or underused. So, the raw material I chose was chicken breast. This is the most profitable, and popular, raw material that this particular restaurant location utilizes throughout the summer. So, by going through the company’s database with the assistance from management, each student/dietetic intern were able to see what problems existed. And by doing this, new techniques or methods can be adopted to improve the use of these raw materials within the foodservice operation. Fundamentally- creating an even happier customer base.

Manage My Restaurant

What is Ideal Food Cost?

ideal

Food Allergies in Foodservice Rotations

While being in my Institutional Food Service, Production, and Management rotation this summer, a common concern from management has come to my attention. And this concern would be…  Food Allergies!

A food allergy is the body’s immune system reaction to certain foods. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching or swelling in or around the mouth, face, and scalp; tightening in the throat; wheezing or shortness of breath; hives; abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea; loss of consciousness; and even death.

Food allergies are a growing public health concern. As many as 15 million people in the U.S. have food allergies. An estimated 9 million, or 4%, of adults have food allergies. Nearly 6 million, or 8%, of children have food allergies with young children affected the most. Although children allergies to milk, egg, wheat, and soy generally resolve in childhood, they appear to be resolving more slowly than in previous decades, with many children still allergic beyond age 5 years. Allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, or shellfish are generally lifelong allergies.

The top food allergens are categorized into eight food groups. These eight food groups account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions. They include: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. The estimated prevalence among the American population is:

          Milk and eggs: based on data within and obtained outside the United States, this rate is likely to be 1-2% for young children and 0.2-0.4% in the general population.

          Peanut: 0.6-1.3%

          Tree nuts (e.g., walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans): 0.4%-0.6%

          Fish: 0.4%

          Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp): 1.2%

          All seafood: 0.6% in children and 2.8% in adults

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that food allergies result in more than 300,000 ambulatory-care visits a year among children under the age of 18 years. From 2004 to 2006, there were approximately 9,500 hospital discharges per year with a diagnosis related to food allergy among children under age 18 years. Even small amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction. Most allergic reactions to foods occurred to foods that were thought to be safe. Allergic reactions can be attributed to a form of mislabeling or cross-contact during food preparation. Food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting. Every 3 minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency department. This is approximately 200,000 emergency department visits per year, and every 6 minutes the reaction is one of anaphylaxis. Teenagers and young adults with food allergies are at the highest risk of fatal food-induced anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis may recur after initially subsisting and experts recommend an observation period of about 4 hours to monitor that the reaction has been resolved. Individuals with food allergies who also have asthma may be at an increased risk for severe or fatal food allergic reactions. Children with food allergy are 3-4 times more likely to have other related conditions such as asthma and other allergies, compared without food allergies. It is possible to have anaphylaxis without any skin symptoms (no rash or hives). Failure to promptly (i.e., within minutes) treat food anaphylaxis with epinephrine is a risk factor for fatalities.

Chemical contamination can occur when high-acid foods are prepared or stored in metal-lined containers. Poisoning may result if brass or copper, galvanized, or gray enamelware containers are used. Fruit juices should never be stored in gray enamelware with lead glaze or tin milk cans. Cases of poisoning have been recorded that have been attributed to use of improper metal utensils. Sauerkraut, tomatoes, fruit gelatins, lemonade, and fruit punches have been implicated in metal poisonings.

Toxin metals also have been implicated in food poisoning cases. Copper may become poisonous when it is in prolonged contact with acid foods or carbonated beverages. The vending industry voluntarily discontinued all point-of-sale carbonation systems that do not completely guard against the possibility of backflow into copper water lines. Also, food such as meat placed directly on cadmium-plated refrigerator shelves may be rendered poisonous.

Mayo Clinic

NIH

FARE

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Market Segmentation

Separating customers into market groups provides the basis for successful strategy development in marketing a restaurant. Market segmentation is the process of dividing a total market into groups of people with similar needs, wants, values, and purchasing behaviors. A market is not a place, but rather a group of people, as individuals or organizations. The group needs products and possesses the ability, willingness, and authority to purchase them. A market segmentation is a mixture of individuals, groups, or organizations that share one or more characteristics, which causes them to have similar product needs.

In a homogenous market, a marketing mix is easier to design than one in a heterogeneous group with dissimilar needs. Choosing the correct variable for segmenting market is important in developing a successful strategy. Variables are often broken down into 4 categories for the segmentation process: geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioristic.

Variable: Geographic

          Region:

o   Pacific, Mountain, West North Central, West South Central, East North Central, East

          City/metro population:

o   Under 5,000; 5,000-20,000; 20,000-50,000; 50,000-100,000; 100,000-250,000; 250,000-500,000; 500,000-1,000,000; 1,000,000-400,000; 4,000,000 or over

          Density

o   Urban, suburban, rural

          Family life cycle

o   Northern, southern

Variable: Demographic

          Age:

o   Under 6, 6-11, 12-19, 20-34, 35-49, 50-64, 65+

          Gender:

o   Male, female

          Family size:

o   1-2, 3-4, 5+

          Family life cycle:

o   Young, single; young, married, no children; young, married, youngest child under 6; young, married, youngest child 6 or over; older, married, with children; older, married, no children under 18; older, single; other

          Income:

o   Under $10,000; $10,000-$15,000; $15,000-$20,000; $20,000-$30,000; $30,000-$50,000; $50,000-$100,000, $100,000 and over

          Occupation:

o   Professional and technician; managers, officials, and proprietors; clerical, sales; craftspeople, foreman; operatives; farmers; retired; students; housewives; unemployed

          Education:

o   Grade school or less; some high school; high school graduate; some college; college, graduate

          Religion:

o   Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, other

          Race:

o   White, Black, Asian, Hispanic

          Nationality:

o   American, British, French, German, Italian, Japanese

Variable: Psychographic

          Social class:

o   Lower lowers; upper lowers; working class, middle class, upper middles, lower uppers, upper uppers

          Lifestyle:

o   Straights, swingers, longhairs

          Personality:

o   Compulsive, gregarious, authoritarian, ambitious

Variable: Behavioristic

          Occasions:

o   Regular occasion, special occasion

          Benefits:

o   Quality, service, economy, speed

          User status:

o   Nonuser, ex-user, potential user, regular user

          Usage rate:

o   Light user, medium user, heavy user

          Loyalty status:

o   None, medium, strong, absolute

          Readiness stage:

o   Unaware, aware, informed, interested, eager, intending to buy

          Attitude toward product:

o   Enthusiastic, positive, indifferent, negative, hostile

Geographic variables include climate, terrain, natural resources, population density, and subculture values that influence customers’ product needs. Demographic variables consist of population characteristics that might influence product selection like age, gender, race, ethnicity, income, education, occupation, family size, family life cycle, religion, social class, and price sensitivity. Psychographic variables include many factors that can be used for segmenting the market, but the most common are motives and lifestyle. Lifestyle segmentation categorizes people according to what is important to them and their mode of living. A classification system for segmenting customers in terms of lifestyle factors is the VALS: Values and Life-Styles research program. The VALS model is broken down into 3 parts:

          Ideals:

o   Consumers make choices based on their knowledge and principles.

          Achievement:

o   Consumers make choices based on what they perceive will show their success to their peers.

          Self-expression:

o   Consumers make choices based on a desire for social or physical activity, variety, or risk.

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The Marketing Mix

As a part of my business class/Institutional Foodservice, Production, and Management dietetic internship rotation, we are required to develop a breakfast marketing campaign. The reason for this project is to incorporate the marketing mix and to essentially improve breakfast sales at the Taziki’s Mediterranean café in the WVU Mountainlair. We are required to speak with the management for advice on what’s working and what’s not working within their breakfast menu and customer foundation. As an ISPP dietetic intern and graduate student, I am also required to apply this information to my Management Quality and Process/Performance Improvement Project, as well.

So, to manage marketing activities, managers must deal with variables relating to the marketing mix and the marketing environment. The marketing mix is defined as the specific combination of marketing elements used to achieve an organization’s objectives and to satisfy the target market. The marketing mix decision variables are product, price, place, and promotion. The marketing environment variables are political, legal, regulatory, societal, economic, competitive, and technological forces.

Product

A product can be a good, service, or an idea. Even though the manufacturing of products is not a marketing activity, research on customer needs and product design is. Product decisions focus on which products to develop, which current products to promote, and which products to discontinue. The term new product means it is a genuine innovation because it has not been served commercially yet. The term new to the chain, like McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, are really an imitation of a successful product offered by another chain restaurant, like KFC’s chicken nuggets.

Price

Price is the amount of money charged for a product. Price competition has become very common in foodservice operations. Marketing managers usually are involved in establishing pricing policies for different products because consumers are concerned about the value obtained in the exchange. Price is a critical component of the marketing mix and often is used as a competitive tool. Price also helps establish a product’s image. The goal is to set the price at a point that customers perceive value, yet the company achieves the volume and profit it desires.

Promotion

Promotion is used to facilitate exchanges by informing prospective customers about an organization and its products. Promotion is used to increase public awareness about a new product, or to renew an interest in a product that is declining in popularity. The level of advertising in fast-casual dining, like Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, has become quite large.

Place

In marketing, place refers to the location, the place where food or services are offered. Increasingly, food is prepared somewhere else. Food manufacturers are preparing, packaging, and distributing menu items to restaurants and contract companies. Customers are noticing an increase in mobile carts and food trucks. This is giving the public more options when they are away from home- and at an affordable price as well.

mark mix

Microsoft Word - The Marketing Mix

Preventing Foodborne Illnesses this Summer

Preventing Foodborne Illnesses this Summer

With the beginning of summer, many people think they can just keep their picnic food safe from bacteria by storing it in the refrigerator. But, there is one bacteria- that is exempt from that rule…

Unlike most food bacteria, Listeria can grow in cool temperatures. Refrigerating food already contaminated with these bacteria could allow the germs to multiply and spread, according to the USDA.

The bacteria can cause serious illness known as listeriosis, which is especially dangerous for children, older people, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems. Foods in which Listeria has been found include deli meats, hot dogs, smoked seafood and store-prepared salads. The FDA advises those at greater risk for developing listeriosis to reheat these ready-to-eat foods until they are steaming hot. They should also avoid unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses.

Listeriosis has also been linked to contaminated cantaloupes. The FDA recommended washing all fruits and vegetables under running water immediately before eating, cutting or cooking them. Firm produce, in particular, should be scrubbed with a produce brush. Examples like this, is specifically important in the summer when fruits are in season.

Other ways to prevent Listeria infection include:

          Set your refrigerator temperature to 40 degrees F or lower to slow the growth of Listeria. Use a refrigerator and freezer thermometer to make sure temperatures are appropriately cold.

          Wrap or cover food before placing it in the refrigerator. Be sure no containers or covers are leaking juices on other foods.

          Do not allow cooked or ready-to-eat (RTE) foods to sit in the refrigerator. Eat these foods right away so Listeria doesn’t have the opportunity to grow. If you have leftovers in your refrigerator, it’s best to throw them out after 3 days, just to be sure. Because remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

          Clean up refrigerator spills immediately. The FDA notes leaks or spills from hot dog packages, raw meat or poultry are mostly of concern. The agency advised cleaning these spills with paper towels to avoid spreading germs to a cloth towel.

          Routinely disinfect the refrigerator. Cleaning the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator with warm water and soap. Surface cleaners can also be used monthly.

          Sanitize kitchen surfaces where food is prepared with soap and water and surface cleaner.

          Wash cutting boards after every use. Nonporous acrylic, plastic, or glass boards can be sanitized in the dishwasher.

          Wash dish cloths, towels and cloth grocery bags in the hot cycle of the washing machine.

          Before and after handling food, wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds! And if you can’t remember how long- just sing the “Happy Birthday” song. This is a trick we educate children on for food safety and hand washing!

Center for Disease Control and Prevention 

Listeria_Colorado State University

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CDC statistics from 2011

CDC statistics from 2011

listeria

Quantity Demand: Historical Roots

The desire for an efficient foodservice operation requires that the production manager to know the estimated number of customers or the number of servings of each menu item in time to order prom the procurement unit. Good forecasts are essential for managers in planning smooth transitions from current to future output, regardless of the size or type of the foodservice (i.e., schools, hospitals, or restaurants). Forecasts vary in sophistication from those based on historical records and intuition to complex models requiring large amounts of data and computer time. Choosing a forecasting model that is suitable for a particular situation is essential.

Historical Records

Adequate historical records constitute the basis for most forecasting processes. Often, past customer counts, number of menu items prepared, or sales records re used to determine the number of each menu item to prepare. These records must be accurate and complete, or they cannot be extended into the future with any reliability.

Effective production records should include:

          Date and day of the week

          Meal or hour of service

          Notation of special event , holiday, and weather conditions, if applicable

          Food items prepared

          Quantity of each item prepared

          Quantity of each item served

Although production unite records reveal the vital information on menu items served to customers, production is by no means the only organizational unit that should keep records. Only by cross-referencing records of sales with those of production can a reliable historical basis for forecasting be formalized. Records of sales will yield customer count patterns that can be useful for forecasting. These data can be related to the number of times customers select a given menu item or the daily variations induced by weather or special events.

Historical records in the production unit provide the fundamental base for forecasting quantities when the same meal or menu item is repeated. These records should be correlated with those kept by the purchasing department, which include the name and performance of the supplier and price of the food items.

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Food Production Forecasting

Forecasting is an art and science of estimating events in the future and provides the database for decision making and planning. The art of forecasting is the intuition of the forecaster, and the science is the use of past data in a tested model. Both are required to estimate future needs. Forecasting is described as a function of production and constitutes the basis for procurement. Computerized systems often are used to facilitate the forecasting process.

Production Demand

Forecasting not only is a function of production but also is needed for procurement. Food products must be available for producing menu items for customers. The primary result of forecasting should be customer satisfaction; customers expect to receive what they ordered. In addition, the foodservice manager is concerned with food cost; both overproduction and underproduction affect the bottom line.

Overproduction, the production of more food than is needed for service, generates extra costs because the salvage of excess food items is not always feasible. Leftover prepared food spoils easily and requires extreme care in handling and storage. Even though some leftover foods might be salvageable by refrigeration, certain foods may break down and lose quality. An example is re-using chopped tomatoes or chopped lettuce from an earlier production shift. Policies and procedures for the storage of overproduced food items should be well defined and rigorously enforced.

Attempts to reduce overproduction costs by using a leftover high-priced food as an ingredient in a low-cost menu item reduce profits. For example, using leftover rib roast in beef stew, soup stock, or beef hash, all of which could be prepared with less expensive fresh meat, is difficult t justify. In addition to the higher food cost, planning and carrying out these salvage efforts incurs higher labor costs that could have been avoided had overproduction not occurred. Customers often suspect that leftovers are being used, which can be damaging to the image of a foodservice operation.

Underproduction, the production of less food than is needed for service, can increase costs as much as overproduction. Customers will be disappointed if the menu item is unavailable, and they often have difficulty in making another selection. Furthermore, underproduction may involve both additional labor costs and often the substitution of a higher-priced item.

A wise manager will insist that a similar backup item be available when underproduction occurs. For example, in a university residence hall foodservice, if the grilled meat patties run out, an excellent replacement would be frozen minute steaks, quickly grilled. Such a substitution certainly would increase customer satisfaction even though it hurts the bottom line.

FoodServiceSalesGrowth