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Quantity food production is more than just cooking and serving food. It starts with a number of tasks that have to be accomplished before the day of the meal including planning and organising the work place, buying the food, planning food preparation, receiving and serving the food. However food quality refers to the characteristics of food that is acceptable to consumers. This includes external factors such as appearance, size, shape, colour, gloss, consistency, texture and internal such as nutritional value and free from hazardous microbial organisms, it includes all other attributes that influence a product’s value and negative attributes such as spoilage, contamination with filth among many other attributes. Quantity can be achieved by implementing many strategies such as the use of specialised equipment, staff training, selecting, the appropriate production system that
is compatible with the menu used, jut to mention a few. For the sake of this assignment these strategies are explained paying special attention to quality.
Generally the quality of ingredients determines the quality of the final product produced. Many organisations that produce food in large quantities failed to maintain quality before the ingredients reaches the kitchen. For quantity to be achieved ingredients need to be purchased in bulk, this in turn requires specialised and reliable delivery system that is able to Maintain the aesthetic quality of the ingredients, ensure microbial safety of the ingredients and protect the ingredients from physical damage, if quality of the final product is not to be compromised. Quality should also be included when making purchasing decisions. The arrival sequence of receiving storing and preparing should be achieved with minimum movement, minimum handling, maximum use of equipment (Barrett, 1993). Therefore if quantity is to be achieved without compromising quality, commodities of high quality should be purchased and delivered in the right quantity. For example purchasing sufficient commodities of poor quality compromise quality, whilst insufficient but good quality commodities hinders quantity to be achieved.
After purchasing and transportation there is need for a good receiving area for receipt of supplies with nearby storage facilities suitably sited for distribution of commodities to preparation and production areas. To achieve quantity, commodities are purchased in bulk therefore the need to provide adequate storage for commodities and adequate storage for equipment, utensils, crockery and cutlery .The premises shall be designed so that there is a continuous progression of food from delivery to storage, through to preparation area so as to reduce complications when storing and retrieving stored food items. Apart from capacity the storage places should be designed in a way that protects the quality of the commodities, for example storage of meats and poultry should be separate from dry foods, vegetables, fruit and pastry to avoid contamination and cross contamination. Food is supposed to be stored in the correct locations, covered and rotated so that the oldest food is at the front and therefore used first. This ensures the availability of right quantities in the right quality for food production.
Equipment provides a backbone for any busy kitchen, it is the key to speed, success, quantity and quality. In terms of food control it controls the most critical step in food production process (Kopan, 1997). The use of specialised equipment simplifies an operation, it makes work easier hence faster. For example if one is peeling potatoes, using a mechanical peeler instead of a hand potato peeler is preferred because it is simple and safe to use, requires less effort to be used more quickly and requires less skills to produce better results. Also, adequate equipment which is suitably sited encourages quality to be achieved, for example hand washing basins can be sited strategically to encourage frequent hand washing in the kitchen hence quality is given a chance. However the equipment should be of high quality and compatible with large operations.
Providing adequate work place is one of the important factors to be considered so as to achieve quantity without compromising quality. The work place is supposed not to be too large or too small. Approximately 4, 2 mitres is required per person (Cousins et al, 2004). According to Crecknell et al (2002), Small work space can cause staff to work in close proximity to stoves, steamers, cutting blades and so on thus causing accidents. This does not only cause accidents, the situation might cause fatigue and employees might get exhausted quickly. This scenario results in workers producing dishes of poor quality. Proper design and layout of the working area can make a major contribution to good food hygiene. Supporting the idea Newman (2003) proposed that Staff generally responds to good working conditions by taking more pride in themselves, in their work and their working environment. Actual worktop areas also should be adequate in size for the various preparation processes necessary and should be designed such that the food handler has all required equipment and utensils close to hand to ensure efficiency.
In addition, when trying to achieve quantity it is most likely that fumes, smoke, grease, steam and vapours will accumulate in the kitchen, therefore for both quantity and quality to be achieved there is need to provide a suitable environment. The presence of fumes, smoke, grease, steam and
vapours pollutes the atmosphere, may interfere with food flavours and aromas, and cause distress to staff. To avoid such a scenario proper ventilation systems, air conditioners, odour abatement system, among others should be provided. For example, Lillicrap (2006) propounded that a humid atmosphere creates side effects such as food deterioration, infestation risk, condensation on walls and slippery walls. This usually occurs in busy kitchens as they try to produce food in large quantities hence compromising quality of the final product produced.
Whatever the process, there are certain basic rules that can be applied that are not only helpful in simplifying the work but also ensure that food hygiene and that quality standards are obtained. For quality’s and quantity’s sake certain characters are required for different working areas for various preparation processes (Shaw 2005). For example in a vegetable preparation area water from the sinks and dirty from the vegetables are going to accumulate, therefore adequate drainage systems should be provided. Poor drainage system in a kitchen that produces food in large quantities means that either quantity is achieved in poor quality as there are higher chances for contamination or quality is achieved in small quantity so as not to strain the drainage system. Therefore if both quantity and quality are to be achieved working areas are to be designed with the capacity to sustain large quantities without defects that can compromise the quality.
In a kitchen that produces food in large quantities there is need for smooth flow of work if quality is not to be compromised. There is need to design a work schedule and workflow plan for the relevant sections of the kitchen to maximise teamwork and efficiency (Cave 2001). The sequence must ensure continuers work flow in one direction in such a way that cross over of foods and any cross contamination is avoided. Also the staff should not hamper each other by having to cross each other’s path more than is necessary. Certain processes should be linked whilst others are to be separated as far as possible, for example food intended for consumption should not cross path with waste food or refuse. The sequence should also promote speed in the kitchen if quantity is to be achieved. For example, you could cut off a piece of dough, shape it, and then place it on the cooking sheet, but you
have to do a different motion for each step of the process. It is generally faster to cut the dough into even pieces all at one point, and then someone is there to shape them all. When you are cutting the dough into pieces, you are doing the same motion and can accomplish it quickly as you are not setting down the knife in between cuts, and you get in the “swing of it”. When you are shaping the dough into rolls, you do not have to pick up a knife and cut a new piece off in between shaping.
Specialisation and proper timing is also very important for quantity to be achieved without compromising quality. In mass production specialisation is the separation of a work process into a number of tasks, with each task performed by a separate person or group of persons and is one of the basic organizing principles of the assembly line. For example, dividing the kitchen into many segments with different responsibilities such as a vegetable room which prepares all vegetables, hot and side cooks, saucier which make sauces and soups and so on. Breaking down work into simple, repetitive tasks eliminates unnecessary motion and limits the handling of different tools and parts, quality is also enhanced since workers become very skilled in their tasks. However these departments should have correct timing since some departments uses finished products from other departments as their own input. For example no food production is done before the ingredients are purchased, therefore the purchasing department should ensure that adequate resources are available for other departments.
Usually recipes are provided for small quantities thus for quantity and quality to be achieved there is need for proper recipe enlargement and standardisation. The use of standardized recipes ensures that menu items will be consistent in quality each time they are prepared and served (Tunsey et al, 1995). Using standardised recipes also helps to achieve the required quantity. As alluded by Drumond (1998), the planned number of servings will be produced by using standardized recipes. It is also very important to consider the fact that quantity can not be achieved without compromising quantity if menu planning has not been done properly. The menu will determine the type of equipment required and the production system suitable. Using wrong equipment hinders quantity to be achieved as well as quality.
For example the menu determines whether to use conventional production system, convenience, cook chill or continues among many others. Forwarding this idea Anderson (2001) proposed menu items are supposed to be compatible with the type of system chosen when cooking in bulk.
The general behaviour, motivation and skills possessed by the staff also determine whether it is possible or not possible to achieve quantity without compromising quality. Staff should be able to operate machinery quickly and safely, communicate effectively, interpret the recipe correctly and work as team. The level of skill and competence required from employees varies directly with the quantity and quality expected. Therefore to achieve both quantity and quality employees must be well trained and motivated.
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