Charter School for Applied Technologies

Students lined up for lunch at Charter School for Applied Technologies.

The Charter School for Applied Technologies (CSAT) in Kenmore, the largest charter school in New York State, wanted to enhance food service to its K-12 population. Modifications to the three kitchens were overseen by EST, LLC – the CSAT subsidiary that hones operational best practices. EST’s role of supporting other charter schools was also driving the need for improvement, as requests for its food department services required greater capacity. When managers reported that the kitchen spaces were still inadequate despite the changes, CSAT Board of Trustee members questioned the sufficiency of the adjustments and approached UB TCIE for a second opinion.

The Approach

  • Conducted a food service efficiency and capacity analysis by:
    • Studying layout design efficiencies with block diagramming and other mathematical-based methods
    • Comparing productivity and efficiency of CSAT’s three kitchens through Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) techniques
    • Observing operations and consulting with kitchen managers to define measures and collect data; i.e., time required per each food preparation step, employee work schedule availability, etc.
  • Recommended layout and operational improvements

The Impact

  • Increased student safety by relocating milk coolers, eliminating a cafeteria line bottleneck and decreasing the likelihood of children dropping their trays
  • Slashed about 30 minutes from sandwich, wraps and salad production by altering the assembly process
  • Lowered labor costs by condensing food preparation time, a result of expanded open space
  • Established a food service department at another charter school, without hiring extra staff to maintain CSAT kitchens, because of improvements
  • Redesigned equipment layout to reduce employee travel