Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JUL 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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30 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JULY 2018 Pierce: Labor. And each of us would have a different story. Someone at a school in Los Angeles or San Francisco, for instance, might be talking about the fact that their students aren't likely to work so they have to tap outside labor. But that labor force will have an hour commute because they can't afford rents closer to campus. My labor retention is great, but when I do have a vacancy, particularly on the culinary side, it's very difficult to find someone with the skills we need. We're pretty geographically isolated and casinos nearby compete for hourly labor. Our schedules are better but, they can pay them more. As a result, we work very hard to develop from within. We're doing a lot of training and classwork and testing so that when a vacancy comes up we're better posi- tioned to fill it from within. We also do job fairs and work with culinary schools to try to find skilled labor. Other hot topics would likely be food waste management strategies and food insecurity on campus, which is a big philosophical discussion these days. FE&S: What's on your wish list for foodservice equipment manufacturers? Scott: The big thing on my personal wish list is for scales and POS systems that actually work together. We always have a hard time getting them to coop- erate. I'd also wish simply for equip- ment that doesn't break down right after the initial warranty period. Neumann: Agreed. There's been a steady decline in the quality of restau- rant equipment in my nearly 30 years in college and university foodservice. In some cases, manufacturers have shifted components from stainless steel to hard-grade plastic and they just don't last. Given the amount of money we invest in this equipment, it should last a lot longer than 10 years. And as equip- ment has gotten more sophisticated and 'smarter,' it has become harder to find technicians who are properly trained in how to repair it. Rodriguez: Not to sound like a broken record, but we need more solutions to help with the labor issue, more equip- ment that can be programmed spe- cific to our cooking requirements. We recently sent our chefs to one manu- facturer's training center to learn about that type of programing. We can load everything onto a little computer drive, then load it into the equipment and it's just a matter of touching a button to prepare X, Y or Z. I need one person to be able to operate two or three pieces of equipment like that to produce the most variety with the least labor required. Another thing I'd like to see, and am beginning to see more of, is kiosks that are easier to load information into and that have easier-to-navigate order- ing screens. Manufacturers are moving in these directions; I just wish they were moving faster. Pierce: I don't want to say I need a specific piece of equipment, because that's a point-in-time thing, but gen- erally speaking I'd wish for greater collaboration and recognition of our unique needs. Very few equipment manufacturers ever come onto college campuses and spend time getting to know us, understanding our challenges and then working to design equipment that meets those challenges. Many on the food side do but it's very rare on the equipment side. They might come around when they're touting a new product, but that's old-school selling and it really falls short. FE&S: Where do you foresee the most significant investments in the next 5 to 10 years for your program? Top: A 20,500 square-foot food hall at Texas Tech dubbed The Commons offers a variety of national brand and proprietary restaurant concepts. Sum- mer tweaks to the facility will add a modern, all- you-care-to-eat dining option on the second level. Bottom: Customer experience and convenience come together at The Market@Stangle/Murdough, a Texas Tech food court offering a variety of made- to-order concepts, many of which now accept mobile order and pay. Photos courtesy Texas Tech University Hospitality Services DIRECT DIRECTORS from the

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