4 ways operators are maximizing their productivity in 2017

performance level

With a new year comes new initiatives, goals and resolutions that add more bullet points to already lengthy to-do lists. But according to the laws of nature and science, something’s got to give. Here are a few ways operators are getting the most out of themselves and their teams in 2017.

1. Getting schooled

college orientation

Elon University’s dining team in Elon, N.C., tries to incorporate dining into every aspect of the university experience—developing classes based in dining halls as well as spaces and events where the community can come together over food.

T.J. Bowie, coordinator for residential campus dining and engagement, is enrolled in a global and corporate communications class so he can learn to more effectively promote Elon Dining’s offerings. “We do all these amazing things, and often, the news doesn’t get to our stakeholders,” Bowie says. 

2. Updating tech

technology finger window

Leveraging data and streamlined technology, Penn-Harris-Madison School Corp. in Mishawaka, Ind., is entering the new year with a new back-of-house computer system to digitize its ordering processes. Now, foodservice managers use a website for all of their ordering needs, rather than emailing spreadsheets to the school district's central warehouse, as they did in the past. “This gives us a lot more data that we didn’t have before,” says Jill Riggs, director of foodservice. “We now know how many cases of lettuce all the units have ordered on a particular day.” 

At the University of Kansas in Lawrence, the dining team is taking a different approach to cook-chill technology. The operation is renovating an old kitchen into a hot commissary for soups, sauces and meats that will help supply KU’s expansion of hot grab-and-go options. Unlike traditional cook-chill systems, the unit will produce every evening for next-day service to maximize freshness.

3. Mastering multitasking

businessman multitasking

Juggling more roles than you have appendages is just part of managing an operation, says Joe Alonzo, executive chef of Harrogate Life Care in Lakewood, N.J., who uses every gadget at his disposal to stay on top of his many duties. In particular, Alonzo takes advantage of his smartwatch for quick communication, timers and appointment reminders.

4. Optimizing HR

human resources teamwork

At Penn-Harris-Madison, the biggest hurdle is finding and retaining qualified employees, Riggs says. She plans to optimize her operation by doubling down on team training and preparing staff for leadership roles. 

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
amazon prime delivery

About 90% of our students receive financial assistance and participate in our free and reduced-price meal program. But a number of students in our district study remotely due to circumstances such as chronic illness. In January, we hired a driver to deliver meals to students who aren’t able to step into our cafeteria each day.

Ideas and Innovation
wheaton emerson int salad bar

Restaurant design is all about catching a customer’s eye —and it’s sometimes particularly beneficial to be far-sighted. As Airbnb has proven with its San Francisco headquarters, where cafe spaces are inspired by cities like Cairo and Mumbai, elaborate design schemes that evoke far-flung geographic regions can be done to great effect. But operators are finding simpler ways to achieve that feel.

That’s been the experience of Kutztown University Dining Services in Pennsylvania. Kent Dahlquist, director of housing and dining services, says that when the university decided several years...

Managing Your Business
overtime payroll timesheet

Just eight days before Dec. 1, when operators would have to comply with the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rules, a federal judge in Texas slapped an injunction on the regulation. The move indefinitely halted the rules that would have doubled the overtime threshold to $47,476, affecting nearly 4.2 million workers, according to the DOL. For some operators, the move was too little, too late. Now, they have to answer to employees who had been briefed on promised wage increases.

Kansas Memorial Union at the University of Kansas in Lawrence made changes ahead of the deadline...

Ideas and Innovation
ucmc model

With a budget and timeline in place, and the support of the university behind them, the foodservice team at the University of Chicago Medical Center was ready to get rolling with the renovation of one of its patient services kitchens. The facility, which services the hospital’s Center for Care and Discovery and Comer Children’s Hospital, was tripling in size to serve two additional patient floors, to the tune of $9 million. But that didn’t mean immediately jumping in with steel and screws.

“First, we cut out scaled pieces of paper and moved things around,” says Elizabeth Lockwood,...

FSD Resources