INSTITUTIONAL AND INDUSTRIAL CATERING
- TYPES OF INSTITUTIONAL AND INDUSTRIAL CATERING
- Profit oriented – commercial canteens, restaurants, café, etc. within the premises catering to all the people (students, staff, visitors, etc.)
- Running on break-even – industrial canteens, college canteens catering to staff requirements only.
- Subsidized – serving meals as a part of employee/ student welfare schemes.
- Mostly Institutional and industrial catering are non-profit oriented.
- MENU CONSIDERATIONS FOR CATERING INSTITUTIONS
- Cyclic menu for regular meals and limited choice in canteens.
- Nutritional requirements are kept in mind while planning the menu.
- Reasonable prices consistent with service offered.
- Menus are relatively simple, which can be prepared by limited kitchen staff in a limited time.
- Special menus are prepared for a special occasion like festivals, functions, and parties.
PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH INSTITUTIONAL FOOD DEPARTMENT
- Menu fatigue
- Blending nutritional aspect with taste is a little difficult. E.g. porridge is healthy food but most of the people do not like it.
- Portion control
- People eat in varied proportions, for example, men eat more than women, people doing physical labor eat more than those doing office work.
- Staff serving food finds it difficult to meet the expectations of consumers. E.g.-everyone cannot be given a leg piece of chicken etc.
- Also, a large number of people are to be fed in a limited time.
- Arranging adequate facilities and managing them is a challenge, like the space of the dinning hall, seating arrangements, food and water service, etc.
- Chef has work within tight budgets and yet has to meet the high expectations of consumers.
VOLUME FEEDING IN INDIA
The difference between small and mass food production is very difficult to define. Most food standards, principles and a large number of techniques are the same. Some define quantity food production (for volume feeding) as the production of 25 or more portions. A report compiled by the National Restaurants Association lists food service units under two major groupings
- Commercial or those establishments which are open to the public, are operated for profit and which may operate facilities and/or supply meal service on a regular basis for others.
- Non-commercial (as employee feeding in schools, industrial and non-commercial organizations), education, the government of institutional organizations which run their own food service operations. Food services in schools and universities, hospitals and other transportation armed services, industrial plants and correctional units are in the second group and may not show a profit or even balance out financially at the break-even point.
SALIENT FEATURES OF INSTITUTIONAL CATERING
- To serve hygienically prepared wholesome food.
- Food is primarily as a service to complement their other activities and contribute to the fulfillment of the objectives of the institute.
- Cyclic menus
- Not profit oriented
- An educational experience for those who are involved as they happen to experience different regional cuisine through the cyclic menus. As a result, food habits become more flexible.
Quantity control and portion control are very important for any catering institution. A good quality standard should cover essential characteristics that indicate quality in a product. Quality control programs make it possible to serve as a consistent standard. Employee evaluation, taste panel, scoring customer reaction, and other menus can be used to evaluate quality.
Good purchase specifications and finding the right product to suit the production need can do much to raise and maintain the quality standards. Proper forecasting of quantities needed in production and controlling portion size are two essentials of good quality controls. Portion size varies according to food, type of meal and patron, cost of the food, appearance. Adults, teenagers, and small children consume different quantities and portion sizes vary from them. Men eat more than women, an individual doing hard work eats more than other doing sedentary tasks.
Giving liberal quantities of less costly foods and smaller ones of the more expensive foods can be practiced. The portion appearance is affected by the portion size and shape of the dish, decoration, and width of the rim, dish color and food arrangement.
OFF PREMISES CATERING
Off-premises catering has always been a specialised business. It is the service of meals in offices, clubs, canteens and also in individual homes. In this reference, premises means the area where food is planned and prepared. Its growth has been tremendous and there is a vast improvement of the equipment used. It covers everything from take-home meals to the most elaborate meals at weddings.
QUALITY OF A GOOD PARTY CATERER:- The success of any catering service depends upon the person behind the venture. He must have good contact with the people who will be most likely to make use of his services. He must be able to perform these services satisfactorily and must employ suitable, efficient and capable staff. Most important he must be able to serve tasty, eye-appealing food deliver it to its destination on time at the right temperature.
COMPLEXITIES OF PARTY CATERING:- Party catering like other skilled technical jobs is highly specialised job. While profit is an interesting part of the catering industry, the multitude of activities throwing a challenge to the caterer, is the difficult side of the coin. If careful consideration is given to certain small details and the people concerned take active participation. It will increase turnover, improve profits and generally enhance the reputation of the caterer. There are no get standard procedures and formula for a successful caterer. Procedures and techniques vary from job to job to place and according to the requirement of the occasion. The facilities available and the cost factor also plays an important role.
PLANNING OF THE MENU:- The arrangement of a suitable menu, perfect from all points of view necessary for any successful party catering. The caterer must be an individualist full of novel ideas and must be able to pressure them profitable for the company and attractively for the client. The dishes chosen should be fruitless in quality rasry in and attractive in appearance. Equally important is the cost of the dishes.
Nothing could be more disappointing and irritating to the guest as being served a dish smaller in portion size than he was tole at the time of booking the party. This could be avoided if the price of an item is given along with its portion size. Every party, whether for 20 or for 2000 must be a speciality and different from anything that has gone before. Clients seldom come to the caterer and ask him to arrange a party like the one they have had before, usually suggestions are wanted to make the party different, something that is unique and will be talked about.
The following points will help in thoughtful planning of the menu.
- Planning well in advance will ensure minimum amount of repetition of the dishes.
- Planning a menu for a definite cycle of time have been found to be different.
- The variation must be produced by serving different vegetables and meats having a color contrast.
- Seasonal availability is very important as parties are booked in advance.
- A nutritional balance must be ensured.
- It must fir within the budget of the customer and to his satisfaction.
- Equipment and personal must be adequate for the party.
- The menu must adhere to the established standards of service and must ensure quality and variety of food.
- It helps to procure stores in advance.
- The occasion for which the catering is done is an important factor and so the pattern of food will change accordingly.
To be successful, the menu must reflect the eating habits and expectations of the restaurant market. The tastes of customers are complex and varied and change from day to day and time to time.
EQUIPMENT: – These may include an assortment of good china, for special occasions such as weddings and anniversaries, good hollow ware and flatware, attractive glass and silverware, serving dishes of all kinds and sizes, good quality linen and all kinds and types of buffet service equipment.
These are the items that the guest see and by which they judge and catering establishment. For storage and transportation of this equipment, it is important to have special boxes where the equipment will fit. There are many kinds and types of kitchen equipment, such as insulated carriers for soup, coffee and other beverages. There are containers to carry ice cubes, portable hot cases to keep food warm and also portable griddles. Caterers could also hire out tables, chairs and other accessories on a contract basis.
CHECKLIST:- Various checklist help the caterers in smooth and systematic functioning of the parties. A server should be informed before service on the size of the portion by weight, Volume or count. The dish in which they are served, the serving tool, etc.
The use of standard recipe offers a sound basis for controlled portioning and the achievement of a uniform product.
In almost all organizations where they have to cater to a large group of people, the kitchen, as well as the service areas, will be well equipped. The personnel handling the food will also be educated in the field of food production, nutrition, hygiene and service.
MENU PLANNING IN INDUSTRIAL AND INSTITUTIONAL CATERING
In volume catering institutions, the main factors influencing the planning of menus are as follows :
- Cost :- This is one of the main considerations in menu planning. The cost of the menu should be within the budgeted allowance of any unit to be economically viable, whether it is run on a profit or non-profit basis.
- Ease of preparation :- Since mass catering units provide for large numbers, case of preparation of any dish must be considered. Elaborate preparation is time consuming and may result in delays in service of prepared foods leading to bad customer relations and appearance of inefficiency.
- Incorporation of leftovers :- Menus for mass catering should be planned in such a way that any leftovers from one meal can be incorporated in the next meal so as to avoid abnormal wastage, reduce food cost.
- Cyclic menus :- Menus should be planned in sets for a fortnight or for a month. This is then repeated all over again for ease in operations. Menus can be changed after such periods and seasonal foods can be incorporated. This will help provide variety economically.