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Food Service Systems

Nancy Brenowitz, MS, RD

Menu planning Purchasing Storage Pre-preparation Production Holding Transportation Regeneration Service Dining Clearing Dishwashing Storage of leftovers

Types of Foodservice Systems

Vary with regard to:
Where food is prepared What types of food are purchases How foods are held and for how long Labor and equipment required Whether food is transported

Most foodservice operations use more than one type of these systems

Conventional (Cook to Serve)

Many restaurants, cafeterias Foods are purchased, transformed into final products for service and held at serving temperature until served Production and service occur on same premises Many foods purchased raw/unfinished state, although some convenience items used Menu items prepared as close to service time as possible Traditionally has been the most widely used system

Conventional (Cook to Serve)

Food quality can be high (depends upon time heldusually only 1-2 hours) Any food can be produced if it can be held as serving temp for short time

Less time flexibility More labor, unevenly distributed work load Limit to how long you can hold the food

Commissary (Satellite)
School systems, airline catering Foods are purchased and produced in large central production kitchen Delivered in bulk to satellite/remote serving areas for final production and service (frozen, chilled or hot) Most items completely prepared from raw state in central facility Best when large volumes are being prepared

Commissary (Satellite)
Cost savings from lower food cost and lack of equipment duplication Decreased labor costs Limited peaks and valley is work load Uniform products Do not have to cook at meal time

Commissary (Satellite)
Food safety is a concern (holding and transporting) Quality can deteriorate during holding; some items dont hold well Reliable transportation method needed Requires a large kitchen; does not pay for itself unless preparing large quantities

Ready Prepared (Cook/Chill or Cook/Freeze)

Many foodservice operations use along with others Foods are prepared on the premises and then chilled or frozen for later use May be chilled/frozen in bulk or in individual portions Chilled foods must be used within 102 days; frozen foods can last up to several months Hot foods undergo two heating periods; adjustments in cooking times

Ready Prepared (Cook/Chill or Cook/Freeze)

Workload is evened out; can prepare foods during down time Variety may be increased with large inventory of chilled or frozen items Can transport food easier than hot Can hold foods for longer than hot

Ready Prepared (Cook/Chill or Cook/Freeze)

Large refrigerators/freezers needed (high energy costs) Food safety can be a problem Some foods do not freeze or chill well Quality may suffer during holding
Freezer burn Textural changes Separation of emulsions

Need reheating equipment If power goes out, a lot of food can be lost

Convenience (Assembly-Serve)
Already prepared foods are purchased and then assembled, heated and served No food production required Can be purchased in bulk or individual portions Convenience stores, fast foods, special diets in hospitals

Convenience (Assembly-Serve)
Less labor and less skilled labor needed Minimal investment in equipment Can purchase preportioned items for a la carte menu Portion control easier, less waste Mostly an advantage for small foodservices

Convenience (Assembly-Serve)
Menu items limited by market availability Food cost substantially higher Quality may not be equivalent to fresh A lot of freezer/refrigerator space needed

Food Delivery Systems

Centralized Delivery-Service System
Prepared foods portioned and assembled for individual meals at a central location in or adjacent to the main kitchen Completed orders then transported and distributed to the customers Fast food, restaurants, banquet services, hospitals, long-term care facilities Close supervision, control of food quality and portion size, less labor required Span required for service can be excessively long

Food Delivery Systems

Decentralized Delivery-Service Systems
Bulk quantities of prepared foods sent hot or cold to serving galleys or ward kitchens located throughout the facility Reheating, portioning and meal assembly take place in remote locations Dishes returned to central kitchen for washing Facilities where there is a great distance between the kitchen and the consumer Foods travel better in bulk than plated Large hospitals, medical centers, school districts, hotels

Choosing a Distribution System

Type of foodservice system Kind of foodservice organization Size and physical layout of facility Style of service Skill level of available personnel Economic factors Quality standard to food safety Timing required for meal service Space requirements Energy usage

Kind of Food Service Organization

Number of people? How quickly do they need to be served? Groups served? In what environment?

Size and Layout of Facility

High rise or low and highly spread out Elevators, conveyor belts Equipment available in different areas

Style of Service
Guest carry own food from place of display to a dining area

Cafeteria style
Traditional: employees are stationed behind counter to serve guests and encourage them with the selections; may be straight line, parallel, zigzag or U shaped; customers follow each other Hollow square, free flow or scramble system: separate sections of counter provided for various menu groups; provides speed and flexibility

Style of Service
Machine Vended
Often contracted to outside company to keep machines filled Drinks, snacks, sandwiches, microwave items, frozen foods Supplement to other styles of service

Numerous options, eye appeal important Foods should hold up well with long sitting time

Style of Service
Drive Thru Pick-Up Tray Service
Airlines, hospitals, nursing homes Delivered to floor pantry by foodservice or directly to patient Need cooperation between foodservice and nursing; quality and food safety issues Many hospitals turning to style more like restaurant service

Wait Service
American service
Host or hostess greets and seats Servers take orders and serve to customers Each plate prepared individually for each customer Busers may help with dish removal and checker makes sure food taken to customer corresponds with order Plates transported by cart, by hand or on trays All guests at one table served before proceeding to next table

Wait Service
French service
Portions of food brought to dining room on serving platter and chief server completes at table (carving, boning, making a sauce) while another server delivers plates to customers

Food completely prepared and portioned in the kitchen Adequate number of servings for each person at table placed on serving platter, served to individuals at table Banquets

Economic Factors
Different amounts of labor and equipment needed for various types of service Cost of inputs and outputs Transporting foods can be expensive Duplicating equipment can be expensive

Food Safety
Managing time/temperature relationship Can you meet standards to temperatures with current equipment or should new be purchased?

How long will delivery take?

Timing Required for Meal Service

Does everyone need to be served at once?
Banquet, school foodservice,

What is acceptable time span?

1-2 hours Hospitals, staggered lunch periods

Meal Delivery Systems

Paper menus Paperless Bedside Entry System Roomservice

How is Food Actually Delivered to Patients?

Heated cart Covered plates Divided trays Heated surface under plate, covered Variety of systems and costs Quality can be a problem with all

Delivery Service Equipment

Fixed or Built In
Planned when facility is built Automated car transport or monorail Alternative if power failure Elevators, manual or power driven conveyors, dumbwaiters

Delivery Service Equipment

Delivery trucks for off premises Movable carts for on premises Heated/Refrigerated

Pans with lids Hand carriers

Delivery Service Equipment

Pellet Disc
Metal disc is preheated and at mealtime is placed in a metal base Individual portions of food plated and placed over the base and covered Keeps the meal at serving temp for 40-45 minutes

Delivery Service Equipment

Insulated Trays with Insulated Covers
Dished put on tray and covered Trays generally stack Designed to create synergism, when stacked properly the hot and cold sections work together to maintain the proper temperatures No special carts are needed Some foods hold heat better than others
Ex. Beef stew better than green beans