Bill Moloney: Account Ability

F-F-V hive alive: Today, a vegetable processing operation is a hive of activity tucked inside the Culinary Support Center. One machine can skin a cantaloupe in 4.5 seconds flat. Thus, the labor-intensive job of cleaning and processing fruits and vegetables by hand is now accomplished mechanically, with a higher yield gained in the process.

In addition, inventory control is more efficient with one central plant versus 10 separate locations. With such efficiencies in place, an annual labor savings of almost $350,000 is realized and Moloney has been able to upgrade his specs for buying produce.

A cook-chill operation producing soups, pasta and sauces is also included within the center, replacing production previously carried out at each of the 10 kitchens. Thirty-two soups are currently in inventory, all produced with great consistency under the vigilant eye of a trained chef. Since managers can order as much cook-chill product as needed, waste has been reduced and main units can now offer four soups instead of just two. The initial $250,000 investment to equip this unit was paid off within three years, Moloney reports.

Packing it in: Cold food processing from the Culinary Support Center's garde manger area has grown beyond expectation, even surprising Moloney. "We foresaw the interest, but not how fast fresh, pre-packed items would grow," he admits. "Our Uncle Phil's Express is a line we started after we saw what (the) garde manger (staff) could do. Previously, we had seven locations each making about 100 sandwiches daily. Now we have one location, with controlled temperature, making all of them. Plus, one of our chefs was a sushi expert so we started packaging four different types as well as yogurt parfaits, sandwiches and wraps. So our cold processing just grew and expanded choices to the point where now about 45 items are prepared there for Uncle Phil's."

Overall, more than $12 million worth of food and beverage was purchased during the 2005-'06 school year with the majority of goods tracked by seven warehouse men, then shipped via the center's five trucks to the 10 kitchens, three or four times a day, six days a week.

With warehousing and production areas humming along, two years ago Moloney turned his attention to the retail side and opened Market Street at MacCracken, a grocery store conceived to replace a former c-store operation. Being near the center of campus and close to a cluster of student apartments, business is brisk.

"Sales are up by 50% at Market Street (compared to the former c-store)," Moloney points out. "We even installed two moveable checkout belts like a regular supermarket, and that has really improved customer flow and speed of service."

Delivering the goods: Keeping his eye on the goal, Moloney, who plays intramural ice hockey with students at least once a week as alternate goalie, never loses sight of four precepts that he believes are central to running a successful college or university operation:

  1. Today's college students demand convenience, flexibility, quality and value in the foods they choose and the meal plans they're offered.
  2. Customer expectations are always changing.
  3. They prefer their products either made fresh in front of them or delivered to their door.
  4. Students expect long service hours. If you don't have a 24/7 location somewhere on campus, you're behind the times.

With these points in mind, Moloney is currently rolling out pizza and sub sandwich delivery service with late hours, 8 p.m. to midnight, available in three of the four campus quads. However, he has set two unusual provisos. "We won't let you call us by phone, it's strictly on-line ordering, and we don't take cash," he says.

"It was about a $10,000 to $15,000 investment in the readers, but it's a service that student surveys had indicated they desired, and it's breaking even after only two months."

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

Read the full story via...

Menu Development
brisket beef plate

Just when it seemed barbecue couldn’t get any trendier—it did. More consumers now than in 2014 are looking for a variety of barbecue menu items, according to Technomic’s Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report. The demand is up for smoked sausage (+19%), beef brisket (+12%) and beef ribs (+16%) for dinner—a trend noncommercial operators say they are also noticing.

Corporate Executive R&D Chef Jeffrey Quasha at Atlanta-based Morrison Healthcare helped launched 50 Liberty Street BBQ microconcept locations throughout the U.S. in December. Due to their success,...

Ideas and Innovation
restaurant patio

We recently started doing patio dining during the summer months, and stole some pointers for upscale barbecuing from local country clubs. We asked our residents who go to country clubs which elements they appreciate.

Ideas and Innovation
email computer screen

Communication is key, and [managers] are busy too. One tip I picked up from another director was to label my subject line with the header “action,” “information” or “response” followed by a brief description of the email contents. That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later.

FSD Resources