INTRODUCTION TO FOODSERVICE SYSTEMS
A foodservice director has many options for food production and service. Most foodservice directors inherit a foodservice system, but may make modifications to that system or select and build a new system. For example, in today’s environment it is very difficult to find adequate labor, which is forcing school foodservice directors to consider alternatives in food production. Also, there is a great concern about food safety, including Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) program implementation, and quality control that might be improved in centralized food production. If a change is to be made in the system, it is important to know what alternatives are available. In this chapter, information will be presented about: • • • • Unique characteristics of foodservice Flow of food Form of food purchased Types of foodservice systems ⇒ Conventional ⇒ Centralized (Commissary) ⇒ Ready-Prepared ⇒ Assembly-Serve Advantages and disadvantages of each type of foodservice system
Unique Characteristics of Foodservice
There are some characteristics of foodservice that make it unique compared to production of other products. This uniqueness influences decisions that are made about production and service. Some of these characteristics include: Demand for food occurs at peak times, around breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. Between these peak demand times, there are valleys or slow times. Demand for food may vary depending on time of year and competitive events, and production must be modified accordingly.
Foodservice Systems A Guide to Centralized Foodservice Systems
Food production and service are labor intensive. Both skilled and unskilled labor is needed. Food is perishable, requiring it to be handled properly before, during, and after preparation. Menus change on a daily basis, thus, production changes daily. These characteristics create challenges in scheduling employees and production, difficulty in staffing, and high labor and food costs. Conventional foodservice systems exhibit these characteristics. Foodservice directors look for ways to reduce or eliminate the impact of these characteristics—and alternative foodservice systems offer solutions. For example, commissary foodservice systems centralize the production process and allow for economies of scale, reducing the costs of food production. Ready-prepared foodservice systems separate production and service in that food is prepared and stored either frozen or chilled for later rethermalization and service. This removes the peaks and valleys of production that occur when production is planned around service. Thus, this is a more cost-effective foodservice system than the conventional system. Foodservice systems may be combined to meet the unique needs of a district school foodservice operation.
Flow of Food
It is important to understand the flow of food through a foodservice system in order to determine the system that will best meet your needs and to develop an effective HACCP program. Food flows through ten possible processes:
A Guide to Centralized Foodservice Systems
As we talk more about the four types of foodservice systems, you will find that all of these processes do not apply to all of the systems. Also, when food production is centralized, a transporting process needs to be added. With a centralized foodservice system, there will be different processes (and critical control points) for the central food production facility and the receiving kitchens (satellites). In the chapter on food safety, there will be a more in-depth discussion about the critical controls that need to be in place during each process in the food flow.
Form of Food Purchased
Another concept that is important to the understanding of foodservice systems is the...
References: Unklesbay, N.F., Maxcy, R.B., Knickrehm, M.E., Stevenson, K.E., Cremer, M.L., & Matthews, M.E. (1977). Foodservice systems: Product flow and microbial quality and safety of foods. (North Central Regional Research Publication No. 245). Columbia, MO: University of Missouri-Columbia College of Agriculture, Agriculture Experiment Station. Unklesbay, N. (1977). Monitoring for quality control in alternate foodservice systems. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 71, 423-428.
A Guide to Centralized Foodservice Systems
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