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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