University of Iowa Hospitals tackle waste issue

The foodservice department has reduced food waste, increased food donations and implemented a composting program.

Published in Healthcare Spotlight

The first step was to examine the forecasting methods, as it was apparent from the report that the department was overproducing food. The team started by looking at the rather extensive menu for the system’s seven retail dining facilities and winnowing it of underperforming items. That resulted in a 5% reduction in the total number of items on the menu.

“Then we fine-tuned our menu forecasting,” Dolezal says. “We never want to run out of food, but it was obvious that we were overproducing. By tweaking those numbers, we’re also saving money, since the dollar amount of the food we were wasting has been cut by 40%.”

The Styrofoam issue was a huge one, she admits. “We serve over 10,000 meals a day,” she says. “We’re are open 24/7. That’s a lot of carry out. Our biggest challenge was finding enough biodegradable products that would suit our needs. Fortunately, we were able to find a company that could provide what we needed.”

Dolezal adds that she also revived a reusable mug program to try to cut the amount of disposable cups being used.

The disposable items, along with post-consumer food waste, go into pulpers to be converted to compostable form. The hospital’s hauling company picks up the pulped waste three times a week, something that is costing the department about $38,000 a year.

“One of our challenges is that we have an old central kitchen, which hasn’t been renovated since 1986,” Dolezal explains. “Our storage space is very limited and, as you know, that food waste can start to generate an odor.”

The solution, which she says will be implemented in the next couple of months, will be to build a platform adjacent to the loading docks and install a refrigerator to house the waste. Once that is done, Dolezal will be able to reduce the pickups to once a week.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
change ahead sign large

The reality is that some people don’t like change. But as long as you partner with employees, there shouldn’t be major staff fallout.

It can be tricky to find the balance between listening to your team’s point of view on the changes and avoiding giving your power away. You may accept many or few recommendations, but you need to be able to explain your decisions. Regular department meetings to complete that circle of communication take more time, but it’s more efficient than doing damage control after the fact.

I’ve seen folks refuse to do a job based on their new job...

Ideas and Innovation
fsd marketing ideas

[ View the story "Marketing and operations ideas worth stealing" on Storify ]
Industry News & Opinion

Some Washington, D.C., foodservice operators may soon be required to provide staff with paid leave, as the city council on Tuesday passed one of the most extensive paid leave plans in the nation.

Barring a veto by Mayor Muriel Bowser, the measure mandates that all private sector employers in the district offer workers eight weeks of parental time off and six weeks to care for a sick relative.

While operators will not directly compensate workers—who will be paid 90% of their wages through a government-run insurance program—they will be hit with a 0.62% increase to employer...

Industry News & Opinion

Dallas Independent School District will serve breakfast and lunch over winter break for the first time this year, Dallas News reports.

Any child under 18 will be able to participate in the meal program, which will be offered in 12 cafeterias.

The Texas district will be partially reimbursed for the meals, receiving $3.39 per lunch served and 86 cents per breakfast. The remaining costs, which include paying cafeteria staff and supervisors, will be picked up by the district.

Read the full story via dallasnews.com .

FSD Resources