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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Profile 1 - Messy Walkin Cooler

There are certain operational profiles which have a high correlation with out of control food cost. In my experience, messy walkin coolers rank near the top. One specific example comes to mind.

I was sent to Terror Lake on Kodiak Island, Alaska to investigate wild variations in monthly food costs. We had a contract with the state to feed construction workers at an important dam project.

Getting to the project from Anchorage required a flight to Kodiak Island and a transfer to an amphibious plane. The scenery en route was fantastic. Our pilot flew low enough for frequent Kodiak bear sightings. Our landing on the lake went smoothly and I was met on the beach by our GM.

There were two chefs and they rotated monthly. My visit was timed for the middle of the month. The chef with the highest food cost numbers met me in the kitchen.

After explaining my role in the company, I requested a quick tour of the operation. He asked where I wanted to start. My favorite spot is the walkin. This cooler was as filthy as a pig sty. Rotten produce was laying on the floor. Boxes were everywhere. Expensive meat and fish were improperly stored with no wrap.

As I expected, the food quality was fair at best. This chef was not focused and there was a significant risk of food borne illness.

I phoned the headquarters and requested a replacement. The new chef was extremely upset with the appearance of the kitchen and storage areas. He had a small thermometer and checked all the serving pans. One of the serving line heat sources was defective.

Within 60 days, the food cost was consistent and 5% lower. Quality improved and we received a contract extension.

1 comment:

Pete said...

I just purchased a new Kysor Panel Walk-in cooler and was hoping to find some information on establishing protocols. It would be nice if www.kysorpanel.com or other walk-in cooler manufacturers would produce some useful guides.

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