It’s 4 a.m., and the breakfast crew is ready to prep, but pancake batter is running low. Yesterday, no napkins. Supply-chain disruptions are random, and the solution is out of your control. Manage the situation by controlling what’s controllable.
That’s the advice of Barb Minger, Gordon Food Service National Account Manager. Challenges with distribution, supplies, inflation and labor are painful, but she urges all operators to consider five areas that can ease frustration:
1. Manage the menu
Review the menu with your Sales Rep to identify potential out-of-stock options, and train your team on menu substitutions policies to meet service, nutrition and cost guidelines. You also can develop a backup meal plan that makes it easy for inexperienced staffers to prepare.
“It could be complete entrees, but it could even be speed-scratch cooking or simplified recipes with fewer ingredients,” Minger said. “The Nutrition Resource Center has developed a two-week convenience/temporary menu that can help operators order ingredients and have them on hand when food needs to be prepared.”
2. Communicate with your distributor
Gordon Food Service is able to suggest solutions and help operators navigate, but it takes good lines of communication. Minger suggests this approach:
- Consult frequently. Product availability changes quickly.
- Explain your anticipated changes. This helps your distributor find product solutions.
3. Place your order early
“For operators who were accustomed to getting their orders the morning of their menu, that’s not realistic right now,” Minger explained. “Ideally, you should order two days before your delivery date and change your par levels in house to adjust.”
That change is hard for operators to understand, Minger acknowledges, but it helps everyone involved. If an item is out of stock, there’s time to determine a substitute. And she recommends staying close to the phone or checking email after the order is placed just to be sure there are no surprises on delivery day.
4. Control what you can
Inflationary pressures are expected to continue in 2022, so it’s vital to get back to basics:
- Evaluate recipes
- Watch portion control
- Cook to your census
- Manage inventory
- Reduce food waste
“With inflation, your patient per day (PPD) cost is going up, but available budget dollars most often are not,” Minger said. “So you have to come up with solutions that reduce cost pressure.”
5. Use Gordon Food Service Resources
From convenience menus to Inventory Manager to expertise from the Nutrition Resource Center, Sales Representatives and Business Solutions Specialists, many solutions are just a click away for Gordon Food Service customers.
The Gordon Experience portal offers solutions such as:
- Healthcare Menu Substitutions
- Healthcare Emergency Preparedness
- Cycle Menu Management information
- Foodservice Training Topics
“We have one of the best libraries of resources in the industry. Minger said. “Our foodservice training topics are so valuable—they help team members get up to speed fast. Our topics help walk new employees through with valuable training that takes some stress off the operator.”