Scheduling Kitchen Staff and Menu Planning

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Joined Mar 3, 2017
I am currently working my first Director of Dining Services / Executive Chef position. I have no problem staying within budget. My main concern is scheduling my staff.

This is a Retirement Community with around 100 residents and 4 dining rooms.

I have a budget of 350 hours per week.

Any ideas would help since this is a 7 day operation 3 meals a day.

The second question is the menu is a 5 week cycle.

I am looking to change it to a 31 day menu and implement many changes to get rid of redundant menu choices etc.

Any resources for sample menu's or ideas on food that a retirement home would love but would keep food cost down.

Any advice would help since this is my first time in this role. I been in the industry for 15 years and 6 of them as a Sous, but no formal culinary arts training.

Thank you!
 
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
I'll need a bit more info for scheduling ideas. Does one kitchen serve all four dining rooms? Are the dining rooms for different meals or functions?
Obviously at minimum you will need a breakfast, lunch cook and a dinner cook, a second to help out and cover days off. Probably a dishwasher/prep person.
The menu seems easy enough. . I expect mostly comfort food would go over well. Meatloaf, roast chicken, pasta of all kinds, chicken and biscuits, anything with mashed potatoes, beef stew, roast turkey, pork loin, maybe a pizza or taco night. As an older crowd, they have different memories of comfort food so research what was popular back when they were growing up. I presume the forties and fifties.
Once in a while You could throw in.a bit of fun with meals at dinner of pancakes and gravy or breakfast cereals with fresh fruit,, a salad bar buffet with tuna, chicken, shrimp salads or make your own sandwiches with an extra meat like pastrami, cappicola or salami added in. Crepes and blinis with savory filling.
Most importantly, I'd survey the clients. You could do a paper survey or just talk to them. Find out what they want, miss, need, hate, etc.
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
It doesn't matter what the menu is as long as you take as much care with it as your clients do looking forward to it. Food service is a big part of senior living persons day. Day in day out this s/b your concern also. Make things fun and don't get yourself in a position that people say " It's Tuesday it must be meatloaf."........As for the dining room staff labor hours there is only one answer. You do whats needed and no more. You'll always have pressure to keep labor in line. No one knows better than you..........
 
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Joined Aug 23, 2008
My wife and I recently visited her parents at a memory care center in Southern California. My in-laws attended lunch and dinner each day. They generally don't go to breakfast. The nice thing was the wait staff knows everyone and their ordering habits. My mother-in-law frequently requests a well-toasted grill cheese sandwich to go for her breakfast at 5 a.m.

The menu was basic, with two entrees for lunch and dinner, plus an "always available" menu. The food was generally good and scratch made. Portions were on the small side, but plenty of food is available.

Here's both menus. I redacted the name of the facility for obvious reasons.

Photo Feb 10, 15 32 50.jpg
Photo Feb 06, 13 12 35.jpg
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
Looks like the menu covers just about everything. I think I would throw a few salads on the " Always available menu" I like the idea of offering Breakfast anytime. I hope they offer this in the Old Chefs Home when I get there.......
 
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Joined Aug 23, 2008
Looks like the menu covers just about everything. I think I would throw a few salads on the " Always available menu" I like the idea of offering Breakfast anytime. I hope they offer this in the Old Chefs Home when I get there.......
You can get a green salad anytime, even when it's not on the menu. With the dining room open all day, you can have a meal off the always available menu. Lunch and dinner entrees are only available during posted meal hours. I agree on the salads.
 
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