“Less is More”
A strategy for decreasing costs
A philosophy developed by Shelly
to target areas were
we can control reduce costs
Rob then took the philosophy and
turned it into an incentive based
The following can be adapted
for your District.
“Less is More”
A philosophy devised to not only save money
but also save time.
Now is the time to get back to the basics of
managing our kitchens.
“Back to basics”
• Checking orders in.
• Maintaining organized store rooms and
• Utilizing products on hand.
• Supervising and educating your staff to follow
• Forecasting food and paper needs monthly, weekly
• When placing orders be aware of how much
product you really need and when it is actually
The focus will be on
five specific areas
which allow you to
control and manage each
of your operations more
The five areas we will focus on are:
• Menu engineering
• Budgeted purchasing
• Exact portioning
• Finite inventory
• Targeted merchandising
Menu engineering: The idea of
menu engineering is simple.
» Look at what you are
currently making and see if
you can remove a high cost
ingredient and substitute it
with a lower cost one.
» Look at your high cost
entrée’s and see if you can
replace it with a lower cost
“Sometimes it’s just the
little things that can
make a difference”
Challenge your staff to be more
creative with ingredients and to utilize
commodities and leftovers.
• Home made hummus
• Grilled vegetables
• Diced chicken and ham in the salad bar
• Rice salad
• Parmesan mozzarella blend
Budgeted purchasing: Each school will
received a weekly budget for each of the
following categories. The challenge is stay with
in this budget each week.
FA Day Middle School
Sept-November Sum of PRODUCE Sum of PIZZA Sum of DAIRY Sum of GROCERY Sum of BAGELS Sum of BAKERY
Day Total $1,156 $2,808 $6,716 $23,766 $119 $1,030
Average weekly $105 $255 $611 $2,161 $11 $94
Also concentrate on lowering
• It is important that every manager is aware of what
they have and what they need.
• Look at how many times your sinks are drained and
refilled. The cost is approximately $5.oo
• When ordering paper it is necessary to physically walk
into your store rooms and look at your stock.
• Organization in your store rooms is pertinent to the
“Less is More” strategy.
Exact portioning: Start looking at
“exact portioning” this will allow you stay with
in your budget and maintain the nutritional
value of the items you serve..
• Portion control: Portion control one of the
biggest obstacles. The key to success is to be
diligent, stringent and educate the staff on the
appropriate portion size for each recipe.
• Service: Before service inform the servers
what the portion size is and what comes with
Finite inventory: Keep a
target amount of monthly inventory on hand.
• Provided each location with a monthly
targeted inventory amount.
• Explained the need to turn their
purchased inventory over every 1.5 weeks
or every 8 days.
• This will allow you to see what is on hand,
not over produce, waste products and
allow for an accurate inventory.
Challenged your staff to come up
with innovative ideas to sell their
Start by looking at:
• The visual impact
• Name brands
• Ease of service
• Purpose-focus on specific areas
• Goal-reduce expenses & increase
• Reason- You need to come up with a
Phase 1: September-November focus on
menu engineering and budgeted purchasing.
• Each team will concentrate on their menu,
forecasting and production records.
• Production records will help the school
plan their menu and forecasting will help
when purchasing items.
• Look at your menu and decide what you can
eliminate and/or substitute.
• When writing your menu always look in your
freezers and store rooms.
• Always check with your Principal to ensure
you are up to date on all school activities.
• Menu writing should start 2 weeks before
the end of the month and turned in by the
25th of each month.
• Production records will need to be
filled out on a daily basis.
• All orders need compiled by
• As managers you need to
communicate to your staff what is
expected of them daily.
December managers meeting
• Discuss the first three months of the
individual schools food cost.
• Managers will need to share improvements
and the strategies they used.
• Each school will receive their individual
food cost goal. A decrease of X% points.
Each team will need to concentrate on:
• Controlled portioning.
• Finite inventory.
• Targeted merchandising.
• Continue to work on menu engineering and
• Deli bars need to be monitored and
• Develop the “City/Town way” to roll wraps.
• Always use scoops, spoodle’s and ladles.
• Inform cashiers of the portion size.
• Never assume your staff knows what is
expected of them.
• Set up par stock levels.
• Keep on hand only what you need for 8
• Reduce your paper and chemical spending.
• Check in all chemical deliveries to ensure
the product ordered is what you need.
• Monitor how you are using grab & go
containers and how much paper products
the staff is using.
• Go through your stations as a customer.
• Look at colors, station heights, signage,
and ease of getting products.
• Talk to students.
• Decorate for the season.
• Get rid of that institutional look.
• Brand if you can!
• Discuss each team’s purchasing
practices, targeted inventory and
the decline in percent of spending
• Discuss the overall food cost and
participation for the secondary
Phase 3: April-May
“Maintaining what has been
• Continue to menu engineer.
• Stay with in your food budget.
• Maintain and use your production records
• Monitor portion control.
• Maintain your targeted inventory for all
categories of products.
Phase 3: continued
“Maintaining what has been
• It is in the best interest that each team
maintains what they have accomplished in
phase 1 and 2.
• Stress to your staff this is the time to
use their management and leaderships
“The home stretch”
June managers meeting
• Report on each team’s year to date
numbers and the secondary as a whole.
• If the schools met the goal of reducing
food cost by X% and increasing
participation by X%.
• The entire secondary team will be
allocated up to X dollars to be used for a
team year end event.
Final words to your staff
As a team the food service department can
make the necessary changes to reduce
It is our job to manage our people, vendors
By thinking “Less is More” we will all end the
school year on solid ground with much
Remember use the philosophy of “Less is
More” to help guide you through this