This chapter reviews the Dallas Independent School District's (DISD) Food and Child Nutrition Services function in five sections:
- A. Organization and Management
- B. Financial Management
- C. Cafeteria Operations
- D. Student Meal Participation
- E. Facilities and Equipment
E. FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT
The Food Services and Maintenance departments maintain an agreement for repair of DISD kitchen equipment. Twelve maintenance personnel are in the Lunch Room Equipment (LRE) section of the Maintenance department perform equipment repair in district kitchens. These employees complete routine equipment maintenance and repair. In situations when immediate or extraordinary service is needed by Food Services, the Maintenance department assigns extra personnel to complete the task. Cafeteria supervisors contact the Food Services office to report equipment repair needs and call the Maintenance department for building, facility or non-equipment repair services. Food Services completes purchase orders for parts and equipment and contracts with Maintenance for service. Maintenance bills Food Services for labor, parts and a service fee of 28 percent of the bill.
The Food Service department does not have a facilities master plan in place to address current and future facilities and capital replacement needs. The inadequate space and poor condition of kitchen facilities and equipment in many district cafeterias provide an undesirable work environment with significant operating inefficiencies. Many kitchens have outdated and inoperable kitchen equipment, which reduces operating efficiency and limits the menu items that can be served. The review team noted the following concerns:
- The cafeteria dining and kitchen areas of many older schools are cramped and overcrowded. The noisy and crowded dining areas reduce student participation in the school lunch program;
- Many schools have mismatched and broken furniture, walls with peeling paint, floors that need new tile and ceilings with a dull appearance. The cafeteria dining areas of many older schools are cramped and overcrowded due to inadequate seating capacity. The result is a dreary and unpleasant dining atmosphere where students are discouraged from participating in the district's lunch program;
- Kitchen staff are often forced to prepare food using inappropriate methods due to inoperable kitchen equipment, resulting in reduced food quality. For example, several schools reported having to heat vegetables in the oven because steamers needed repair. The result was poor food quality and a less-than-desirable appearance. New labor-saving kitchen equipment cannot be purchased at some schools because of a lack of space to install the equipment or inadequate electrical wiring or ventilation systems;
- Although all cafeteria dining areas in all district schools are air conditioned, 60 district kitchens have no air conditioning. High temperatures in conjunction with the steam generated by food production lead to uncomfortable working conditions. A more comfortable work environment can contribute to greater employee efficiency and safety; and
- Due to inadequate kitchen space, some refrigerators and freezers are located in cafeteria dining areas and often are unlocked. This increases the likelihood of theft. In one school, the entrance for the delivery of goods and supplies is in the dining area.
Some districts have updated older cafeterias through renovation to provide new food court-styles and labor saving state of the art kitchen equipment. In some renovated schools, districts report a substantial increase in revenue. For example, Brevard County School District in Florida reported a cafeteria sales increase of $1,700 to $2,000 a day after the renovation of three school cafeterias. The projects included adding food court-style service and new serving lines coordinated with special signage and three-dimensional artwork. Marquees with lights, garden trellises and terra cotta tile have converted older cafeterias into modern service areas that don't look like a typical high school cafeteria.
Equipment with new technologies such as boilerless equipment, digital read outs, touch pads and computer programming options, built-in maintenance, safety designs, better insulation, smaller space requirements and automatic operations can provide Food Services with greater flexibility and the ability to meet future needs. More technologically advanced equipment can contribute to higher and more consistent food quality that meets specified standards, reduces labor and increases food and user safety. New equipment can also provide better nutrient retention, an enhanced ability to meet regulatory and environmental needs, and the capability to address greater and changing customer expectations.
The review team noted the following facilities and equipment concerns:
- In some district cafeterias, equipment and methods used to dispose of plate waste were unsightly and unsanitary. For example, wooden, hand-made garbage bag holders were used in one dining area and an opening cut in a wooden table with a garbage can insert was used in several other locations;
- At some campuses, old, wooden, painted shelving was noted and paint was peeling off walls and ceilings in kitchens and storage areas;
- The areas around dumpsters were unsanitary. Employees reported that the dumpsters were too high for them to open the lids. As a result, garbage bags would tear when they were thrown into the dumpsters. The waste spilled on the ground around the Dumpsters and attracted flies and pests; and
- Due to small pantry areas, some food items must be stored against walls and on floors. Regulations require storage two inches from the wall or above the floor. The lack of storage space also results in bread products delivered and left in doorways and outside entrance areas, providing the opportunity for food tampering. Cleaning supplies are sometimes stored in the same area as food products due to lack of adequate storage space.
Develop a food services facilities master plan in conjunction with the overall district facilities master planning effort.
The Food Services department should complete a facilities master plan to address facility and capital replacement needs in conjunction with the district's overall facilities master planning effort. Cafeteria facilities should have adequate seating capacity for the students they serve. Outdated equipment that operates ineffectively and inefficiently eventually needs to be replaced or repaired. A prioritized Food Services facilities master plan will help with the proper allocation of departmental resources.
A larger seating capacity in many of DISD's overcrowded cafeterias along with properly working equipment used in the food preparation process will help increase student meal participation and increase employee satisfaction and productivity. Equipment repair and upgrade will lead to a more sanitary work environment and require less operating costs improving the quality of schools throughout the district. A facilities master plan will serve as a blueprint for the district to follow in implementing the Food Services department's necessary facilities needs.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The executive director for Food Services and field specialists meet with the associate superintendent of Management Services to identify the facilities needs of the district's Food Services operations. August 2001 2. Field specialists work with the maintenance staff to evaluate the age and condition of existing facilities. September 2001 3. The executive director for Food Services and field specialists draft a Food Services facilities master plan that could be incorporated into a district facilities master plan. October 2001 4. The executive director for Food Services presents the proposed food services facilities master plan to the assistant superintendent of Management Services for comments and approval. November 2001 5. The executive director for Food Services and the associate superintendent of Management Services presents the Food Services Facilities master plan to the superintendent for comments and review. November 2001 6. The superintendent presents the proposed Food Services Facilities master plan to the board for approval. December 2001
This recommendation can be implemented with existing district resources.
Cafeteria supervisors in some schools reported major delays in kitchen equipment repair. In three of 10 schools visited by the review team, at least one piece of equipment was inoperable and repair had been delayed for several days to several weeks. Some supervisors reported at least one major piece of equipment out-of-order the entire year.
Delays in procuring parts for repair have contributed to the length of time required for equipment repair. A reorganization of procedures within the Maintenance department separated ordering parts from site inspection, analysis and repair. This caused lengthy delays because parts are not readily available and often are not received until weeks or months after the order has been placed. The use of replacement equipment must be substituted and this takes time, complicates batch cooking and increases employee frustration.
There is no preventive maintenance program for district kitchen equipment. Exhibit 11-24 illustrates the time taken for the repair of certain kitchen equipment from the date of the request to December 31, 2000. Several kitchens have broken dishwashers, even though repair requests were sent to maintenance several months ago.
DISD Kitchen Equipment Repair List
December 31, 2000
School Equipment Date Repair Requested Time Since Request Alexander Elem. Dishwashing Machine December 15, 2000 2 weeks Bonham Elem. Dishwashing Machine May, 2000 28-30 weeks Buckner Elem. Kitchen Walls September 2000 17 weeks Bushman Elem. Steamer August 2000 18 weeks Carter H.S. Ice Machine November 18, 2000 6 weeks Donald Elem. Dishwashing Machine August 12, 2000 20 weeks Dorsey Elem. Dishwashing Machine December 4, 2000 4 weeks Dunbar Elem. Dishwashing Machine December 1, 2000 4 weeks Frazier Elem. Oven November 2000 4-8 weeks Harris Elem. Steam Kettle August, 2000 19 weeks Holmes M.S. Oven December, 2000 3 weeks Hood M.S. Wall October, 2000 12 weeks Houston Elem. Dishwashing Machine August 15, 2000 19 weeks Jackson Elem. Dishwashing Machine August, 2000 19 weeks James Elem. Boiler December 2000 2-4 weeks Johnston Elem. Tilting Skillet December 4, 2000 4 weeks Jones Elem. Steamer August 23, 2000 18 weeks Jordan Elem. Dishwashing Machine July 19, 2000 23 weeks Kimball H.S. Dishwashing Machine May 2000 31 weeks Madison H.S. Steamer Oven September, 2000 16 weeks Exhibit 11-24Source: DISD Food Services Department.
DISD Kitchen Equipment Repair List
December 31, 2000
School Equipment Date Repair Requested Time Since Request Marsh M.S. Sink November 7, 2000 8 weeks Medrano Elem. Refrigerator September, 2000 15 weeks Miller Elem. Steamer December 9, 2000 3 weeks Reinhardt Elem. Dishwashing Machine August 12, 2000 19 weeks Rosemont Elem. Back Door October 25, 2000 10 weeks Silberstein Elem. Vent Hood December 11, 2000 3 weeks Skyline H.S. Toilet August 14, 2000 20 weeks Smith H.S. Rolling Door August, 2000 20 weeks Spence M.S. Dishwashing Machine August, 2000 21 weeks Spruce H.S. Steamer August 1, 2000 22 weeks Starks Elem. Steamer November 18, 2000 6 weeks Stockard M.S. Dishwashing Machine May 1999 More than 1 year Stockard M.S. Steam Table August, 2000 20 weeks Wilson H.S. Dishwashing Machine August, 1999 More than 1 year Zumwalt M.S. Exhaust Fan October, 2000 13 weeks
Reduce the time required for kitchen equipment repair and implement a preventive maintenance program.
Administrators from Food Services and Maintenance should meet to review the concerns about equipment repair in school Food Service facilities and discuss possible causes and solutions to the problem. Documentation of the time elapsed between notification of need for equipment repair and actual correction should be completed by each Food Services supervisor and forwarded through their specialist to the central office. A file should be maintained by each director of School Operations and be available for review. Measures to reduce the time required for equipment repair include:
- Reinstating local inventories of commonly needed equipment replacement parts;
- Streamlining the work process, considering installation of a network or online system; and
- Eliminating barriers in the order process to ensure prompt receipt of equipment replacement parts.
The department should routinely clean facilities and equipment. Some routine equipment operation checks also might be assigned to school cafeteria personnel. The Maintenance department should establish a system for the routine maintenance. Some maintenance could be done when kitchens are closed during the summer.
Records noting the number and cost of repairs provide crucial information when considering whether to repair or replace equipment. An electronic database can document the age, condition, service history and maintenance requirements for school food service equipment. In addition, equipment warranties should be monitored to make sure the district does not pay for repairs covered by warranties.
Routine checks or inspections of facilities ensure sanitary, safe and efficient food service. Documentation of equipment repairs and costs can help determine when a piece of equipment should be replaced. Regular cleaning and maintenance can reduce the number of repairs and down time, increase the useful life of equipment and decrease costs associated with inoperative equipment.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. Food Services supervisors document time between notification of need for repair and actual repair and report the information to the director of School Operations. August 2001- December 2001 2. Directors from Food Services and Maintenance meet and discuss concerns, causes, possible solutions. January 2002 3. Directors agree on routine preventive maintenance and cleaning to be performed by Food Services employees and schedule the inspections and maintenance performed by Maintenance. January 2002 4. The director of Business Logistics directs completion of an electronic database documenting equipment age, condition, service history, maintenance requirements and warranties. Beginning February 2002
This recommendation can be implemented with existing resources.