Labor productivity standards in Texas school foodservice operations
Fowler, Allison Rachelle
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Labor cost can impact a school foodservice budget greatly. This study investigated the utilization of labor productivity standards and meal equivalents (MEs) in Texas school foodservice operations and school foodservice directors' perceptions of how variables affect labor productivity. A questionnaire was mailed to 200 randomly selected Texas school foodservice directors; 105 (52%) responses were analyzed. The most common standard used was meals per labor hour (MPLH) (76%); both MPLH and labor cost as a percentage of revenue (%LABOR) were utilized more frequently in larger size districts. Meal equivalent (ME) conversions were most commonly defined as one lunch, two breakfasts, $2.00 of a la carte sales or three or four after-school snacks. Respondents felt that volume of meals produced was the most important variable affecting labor. There was little consistency in use of labor productivity standards and ME conversions in Texas schools, which therefore limits the validity of external benchmarking. However, foodservice directors can utilize standards internally to forecast labor needs, make decisions about productivity, and hold employees accountable for their time.