Staying in the Green

Innovative dashboard feature helps managers at Lackmann Culinary Services' accounts.

FoodService Director, Lackmann Culinary Services, Pace University, Management DashboardNEW YORK—Using a new management system Heath Braunstein, general manager of dining services for Lackmann Culinary Services at 12,900-student Pace University can quickly see where his operation stands financially. The new system features an innovative “dashboard” that helps directors pinpoint problem areas.

“Our systems are all Web-based so they allow a user to have access from any computer, so I can look at stuff at home,” Braunstein said. “Our main operating report is called Key Performance Indicators (KPI). It allows our managers to review detailed information on revenues, food costs, labor and other operating expenses and margins. The new dashboard is unique because it provides quick and easy access to key indicators. It’s just like the dashboard of a car—a visual representation of key operating metrics.”

Once an operator selects the location and the week ending date, the dashboard will display various gauges for data such as customer counts, check averages, food cost percentages and DPI, which is a productivity measure that represents the number of customers served per work hour. The higher the number, the more customers served and, therefore, the more productive that location is, Braunstein said. Each gauge of the dashboard displays the operation’s actual performance versus projected performance and last year’s performance for the selected period.

“What happens is you’re looking at three arrows on each gauge,” Braunstein said. “One arrow is your actual performance, one is your budgeted performance and then one is last year’s performance. The coloring depends on your performance compared to budget, so if you’re ahead of budget or at budget, the gauge is highlighted in green. If you’re below budget, then the gauge is red. Yellow is for caution. So at a glance you can see how you’re doing—the more greens you have, you know you’re doing great.”

Braunstein said, as a general manager, the new system helps him to be more efficient.

“As managers, we are pressed for time,” Braunstein said. “It’s great to be able to access the KPI for a number of operations. Since I’m a general manager, I’m in charge of four different locations with multiple sub departments, so I can access all locations in detail. Sometimes at the end of the week, I want to see how we’re doing and if I see red, I can go into more detail to see what the problem is.”
And although Braunstein said all managers are trained to review financial data carefully, he admitted this program makes it easier for managers who aren’t as financially savvy.

“We work with managers of all different ability levels,” Braunstein said. “Some mangers may have difficulty with a detailed financial report, but this quick visual representation helps them. Also, we have some clients that have access to our systems who usually only want to see a few indicators. We gave them the dashboard so they can see very quickly how we’re doing. The dashboard doesn’t necessarily help me catch something I might have missed before, but it helps me catch problems faster.”
 

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
WinCup foam food containers

From WinCup.

Cost control.

Two little words that are essential to every foodservice director’s day-to-day activities.

Keeping costs in check is paramount in running a functioning food operation, of course. But the ripples of cost control can extend beyond your bottom line. And savvy directors must balance customer satisfaction on the P&L sheet.

Fiscal Responsibility

The foundation of cost control is accepting fiscal responsibility, which requires a solid understanding of foodservice accounting. Prime cost, the combined cost of food and labor, is an...

Industry News & Opinion

Orange County Community College in upstate New York is replacing its dining staff with vending machines , The Times Herald-Record reports.

The staff members, who will be let go in June, include nine full-time and three part-time workers. Students say they will miss the employees and the access to fresh food.

The Orange County Community College Association, which oversees the school’s cafeterias, says the layoffs were partly due to a $150,000 deficit accumulated by foodservice operations last year.

Read the full story via The Times Herald-Record .

Industry News & Opinion

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is eliminating paper cups in its Commons dining hall and has given each student a reusable stainless steel mug as a replacement, bates.edu reports.

The mugs were distributed via a promotion earlier this week where students could fill their new mugs with a free smoothie. Stickers and other trinkets were set out for students to use to “bling” their mugs.

Dining services turned to students to determine which type of mug would be offered. The college also installed a mug-washing sink in the dining Commons earlier this year.

Read the...

Industry News & Opinion

Compass has partnered with Jose Andres ’ ThinkFoodGroup, allowing the chef and foodservice vendor to collaborate at such venues as stadiums and college campuses.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

The three-year team-up comes shortly after Andres opened a ThinkFoodLab pop-up in Washington, D.C., which will serve as a recipe R&D space for his restaurant group.

ThinkFoodGroup was this year named a Power 20 multiconcept operator by Restaurant...

FSD Resources