Camp Kitchen Outsourcing: A Big Change
Camp kitchen Outsourcing.
It can seem like an overwhelming thought when you and your camp are used to being entirely responsible for the kitchen, purchasing of food, the kitchen staff, special requests, and list goes on. It does not have to be such a feared change and can actually take an enormous weight off of the leadership team’s shoulders.
I believe that if the relationship between the food service management company and the camp is long term and synergistic, then the campers and staff will benefit. Below I will outline a few different changes and how they will or will not impact your camp.
Being Responsible for the Kitchen.
This is something that even with a food service management company, you will still be entirely involved in. Most food service providers require that the kitchen be fully operational, equipment maintenance performed, hood system in good standing, and all city codes are in compliance. If equipment breaks or fails during the summer operation, the camp will ultimately be responsible for getting it fixed in a timely manner.
Purchasing of Food.
This is something that most if not all third-party food service providers will take over. For the simple reason that this is one way that food service providers make money. We use our buying power and GPO’s in order to receive better pricing as well as cooking from scratch meals which is ultimately cheaper but requires more skilled Chefs. This is one part that you will have to let go of, but you will save money by not having to deal with accounts payable, going through invoices, essentially admin and accounting costs.
Hiring of Chefs.
This is a big one. This is literally the BIGGEST issue that Summer Camps have related to the kitchen. Finding quality Chefs, Cooks, Food Service Managers etc. So, in essence, this is another one that you can leave up to the food service company and not have to stress about how you will fill these positions as well as what you will do if one of them does not work out. You should make sure that the provider you choose has a continuity plan in case staff needs to be changed mid-summer. This should also take a big weight off your shoulders in terms of planning for the summer.
This can take some getting used to because it will no longer be okay to take whatever you need from the walk in or dry storage. However, this can lead to an organized fashion in which special requests are handled by the kitchen to ensure that camp has what it needs for programming.
How does this effect my budget?
Using a service will most definitely include a slight increase in your cost but ultimately can pay off. Food is among the top items for affecting registrations, so it is important that your food be well received by campers and staff alike – not to mention special diets attended to. So, it’s a trade off with price at the end of the day – If you use a food service company and free up time for programming and what you do best at camp, ultimately the kids benefit.
Whether or not you can let go of doing your food service yourself, you should seek other summer camp professionals that have had experiences with outsourcing camp food service to help you decide if outsourcing your food service is right for you and your camp.
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