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BBQ Dave
Jun 17, 2012

Well, that's easy for you to say. You have a bad imagination. It's stupid. I live in a fantasy world.

I work in dining at a CCRC and we've done a good job taking COVID 19 seriously (no resident cases so far!), but the process needs improvement. I lack the excel/PC computing chops to figure it out on my own and I suspect ya'll will find the challenge elementary. Any advice would be appreciated.

If what we're doing seems low tech and backward please keep in mind. We didn't know it would go on this long... time to dig in for the long haul.

I'll tell you the whole shebang even though there's only one part I really need help on but perspectives are always useful. We ran buffet style dining rooms, served hundreds of retired people each meal, we're adapting to our new roles as best we can. Very lucky to have jobs when compared to other people in the food service industry.

We staff a call center twelve hours a day, every day and phone operators, take daily and weekly orders for each resident. Breakfast is always the same (cold stuff milk cereal yogurt), Lunch is the same all week (a variety of sandwiches and salads with soup), dinner is different each day (the big show, hot meal three entree options).

1. The orders are taken on slips of paper, and the slips of paper are sorted hours before each meal by unit number. We used to only have daily order slips but I designed some weekly ones that have been useful. Weekly orders are transferred by hand to daily order slips when call center staff have downtimes.

2. Then that stack is given to an employee who types each number and name into a new blank excel sheet which then gets saved to the shared drive. This is the part I need help with. Typing hundreds of tags every day is needlessly tedious and creates potential for errors. I wish all the residents and their corresponding unit/cottage numbers were already entered and I could just turn them on or off. Faster and more accurate.

3. One hour before the meal we stop taking orders (all new orders go into a late pile to be delivered after all others) and print the excel sheet onto sticky labels via the "mailings" tab in microsoft word 2013. We print them like they are address labels. Then we put the labels which read something like "1112 SMITH" onto bags. 300-450 a night. For the first month we did this by hand. Hundreds a day, every day three meals.

4. Fulfillment begins when we present the kitchen with stacks of labeled bags and stacks of corresponding daily order slips (we call em tickets). The ticket and bag go onto a tray and each order travels down the fulfillment line with a worker who picks up each item along the way. At the end of the line the worker unloads the tray in front of a quality checker who inspects the order and carefully loads the bag. The tickets stay at the quality check table to be organized and entered at the end of the day.

5. Fulfillment takes hours each night, and as carts of orders are filled workers leave the line to deliver them, single runners handle the tower floor by floor and teams of two deliver to surrounding cottages by the cartload in company cars.

Automating the labeling process somehow is what I am most interested in right now, but I think we're going to need an online ordering system pretty soon. What are my options for building or having someone design something the residents can order online with?



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