Month: July 2014

5 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

Cook's Correctional Kitchen Equipment and SuppliesReprinted with permission from Summer 2014 INSIDER Magazine, the Official Magazine of the Association of  Correctional Food Service Affiliates.  By Linda Mills, MBA, RD, FADA Corporate Dietitian – Community Education Centers.

Food costs continue to increase and food budgets continue to decrease in many cases.  Fiscal health of food cost control is not cutting corners.  It is keeping a tight control on food costs.  So where can you find extra money?  Often the answer is right in your operation.  Have you looked at food waste recently as a source of losing money?

Over ProductionDo you know how much food is needed for a meal?  How many people are you serving?  What is the portion size?  How many ounces are in a pan?  How are recipes scaled to provide the necessary quantity?  These are just some of the questions related to over production that a manager needs to consider.  Yes, you want to have a little extra, but what percentage over is reasonable to allow for spillage in your operation?

Over Portioning — This is a universal issue.  Is the proper serving utensil being used.  Is the staff trained to know what portion goes with each color scooper or ladle?  Are portions served level or heaping?  When portions are heaping, what is the chance you will run out of food or need additional food for the meal?

Not Following Recipes — Typically the cost of a recipe is determined when a menu is developed to make sure the menu is within budget.  The cost of the recipe is determined using specific ingredients and specific quantities of those ingredients.  When standardized recipes are not followed there are a number of potential issues related to the cost.  Is the correct product used for that recipe or is the product used more expensive?  Is the correct quantity of an ingredient used?  If not, over or under purchasing may occur.  Both of which can impact the bottom line.

Not Rotating Stock — We have all heard of FIFO — First In, First Out.  However, FIFO may not be happening all the time in an operation and result in spoilage.  Proper rotation of all food items will prevent wasting money with the need to throw out an item because it is rotten or out of date.  It will also help determine if the order guide needs to be adjusted so less of an item is needed to adequately prepare the menu.

Time and Temperature Abuse — Time and temperature abuse will result in the need to throw out food.  Lack of controls and follow-up with time and temperature standards in an operation can be very costly.  It most likely is a result of staff not properly doing their job.

The Bottom Line — Any and all of these practices can result in throwing money down the drain and having a negative impact on the bottom line of an operation.  What will you do TODAY to stop throwing money down the drain?

Linda Mills, MBA, RDN, FADA

Linda Mills, MBA, RDN, FADA

 

Cost Savings Tools to Manage Portion Control

Cook's Brand 630-609 AC 10 oz. Disher

Cook’s Brand 10 oz. Disher

 

In these days of leaner budgets, we’re all looking to reduce costs.  Most of you are serving inmates for somewhere less than $1 per meal already and reducing that even more is a challenge.   But like Barry Martin, food service administrator for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, you are striving to shave costs.  Mr. Martin was recently featured on TheLedger.com in an article titled Prisons, Jails Change Meals to Meet Budgets, Stay Within Guidelines.    Along with food substitution and purchasing savvy as covered in an article posted on Cooking in Corrections that was written by Linda Mills, of CEC International, you can also maximize your budget with proper portion control.

To understand the impact portion control can have, consider this scenario:  if you are feeding 300 inmates and you reduce the cost of each meal by just a penny, you would add $3,285 to your bottom line every year.  Having the right size serving every time ensures that you’re not giving away pennies with every tray.  To help you get portion sizes under control, we’ve rounded up the TOP TEN portion control tools for the correctional kitchen:

  1. Rite-size 8 oz. Disher – made for heavier, sticky foods and great for starches like mashed potatoes, rice, macaroni and cheese or casseroles.  Heavier foods with appropriate nutrition at low costs.
  2. FMP FIFO Portion Control Bottle – want to cut costs quickly, stop buying prepackaged condiments and dispense perfectly measured portions directly into trays with the Portion Pal.  Dispenses portions from ¼ to 1 oz.
  3. FSE Pancake Dispenser –uniform pancakes every time.  Dispenses as little as ½ oz and up to 3 oz of batter.
  4. Revolving Dough Cutters – precise cutting of biscuits or rolls with minimal scrap.
  5. Cook’s Brand Cake Marker – sheet cakes are cost-effective but not if you have to throw away the ends because the pieces aren’t evenly cut.  The Cake Marker ensures every piece is identical in size, every time.
  6. ISI Flex-it Measuring cups – we like these for corrections because they are made of silicon, like the Flex trays, so they cannot be broken or shattered.
  7. Vollrath  EZ Dishers – available in a 6 oz. and 8 oz. size, with a spring free, inmate-safe design.
  8. Carlisle Measure Mizers – ideal for the serving line, in 1 oz to 8 oz. sizes. Flat bottom design easily spreads sauces or toppings. Long or short handle and solid or perforated bottoms.
  9. Cook’s Brand Square Rite-Size Servers – perfect for use with Flex trays or trays that have a square or smaller rectangular compartment.  Stops the practice of ‘topping-off’ a serving because food fell outside the food compartment to decrease waste.
  10. Edlund Poseidon Digital Scale – we selected this scale because you can total submerge it to keep it clean and this scale will re-calibrate itself to ensure accuracy.

    Marketing Manager, Cook's

    Candace Meneou

Fiscal Health – The 5 Rights of Purchasing

Cook's Correctional Pancake Batter Dispenser

Consistent portions help you control costs and make better purchase decisions.

Reprinted with permission from Spring 2014 INSIDER Magazine, the Official Magazine of the Association of  Correctional Food Service Affiliates.  By Linda Mills, MBA, RD, FADA Corporate Dietitian – Community Education Centers.

Food costs continue to increase and food budgets continue to decrease in many cases.  Fiscal health or food cost control is not cutting corners.  It is keeping a tight control on food costs throughout all the phases of food service — purchasing, delivery, inventory, menu planning, preparation, and service.  So where can you find extra money?  Often the answer is right in your operation.  However, the source of the money is often overlooked.

Purchasing is the first function to evaluate.  Are you purchasing the right product, of the right quality, received at the right time, at the right price, from the right supplier?

Right product — Are you purchasing the product with an eye on the price?  When lettuce doubles in cost, do you look for alternatives for salads which are less costly?

Right quality — Are you purchasing the best product for the intended purpose?  For example, why buy more expensive peach halves when less expensive sliced or diced peaches would be appropriate for the peach cobbler recipe?

Right time — Over and under purchasing is a common mistake which results in a loss of money.  Under purchasing can mean higher cost for the product, the use of a more expensive product to replace the missing product, or increased labor costs.  Over purchasing increases the risk of theft, and increases the possibility that food will spoil before it is used.

Right price — When you realize that the purchase price per unit is not the determining factor in choosing a food item, the next step is to evaluate how many edible portions are produced and service.  Often the lower-priced products actually cost more because they have a lower yield.

Right supplier — Do you use a prime vendor?  If so, when was the last time you checked the prices between your prime vendor and other multi-line vendors?  If you get too comfortable with the relationship with your prime vendor and do not regularly shop around, you may not be getting the best prices after a period of time.

Any or all of these practices can result in throwing money down the drain.  More practices to stop throwing money away will be in the next issue of Insider.

Cook’s Correctional is a proud supporter of the ACFSA and we will be at the upcoming 2014 International Conference in St. Louis.

Linda Mills, MBA, RDN, FADA

Linda Mills, MBA, RDN, FADA

 

Bright Colors Reduce Loss

Cook's Brand Economy Spork

Cook’s Brand Economy Spork

A common issue in the correctional kitchen and any institutional operation is the loss of flatware and utensils.  It’s easy for these items to get thrown away.  They often go right into the trash when trays are cleared and if your flatware is beige or brown, staff may not even see that they’ve thrown it away.

Knowing this is a widespread problem which is both a nuisance and an unnecessary expenses, we made sure to include a bold color option in all our flatware and tumbler products in the Cook’s Brand line.  We offer a very bright orange for all our flatware, tumblers and some other items.  This can make it very obvious when the items make it into the trash can.  The color allows the item to visibly stand out, to minimize your loss.

We also have some of our trays in very bright colors for your convenience and we sell clear trash can liners so that you can see what’s getting thrown out as well as minimize the opportunity for contraband being hidden in the trash.  Our bright orange flatware products are the highest selling color in our offering.

Janet St. Clair, Customer Service Manager Cook's

Janet St. Clair