Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Betty L. Beach

Committee Members

Mary Jo Hitchcock, Russell Buchan, Roy E. Beauchene


Costs of food service system resources are steadily increasing, with labor being cited as the most costly resource. A management tool is needed in the food service industry toschedule production personnel and equipment to minimize forced delay time and decrease total labor costs. Material requirements planning was adapted to generate production data for two nine-day menu cycles in a hypothetical cook freeze production system. Data for the total production plan; master food product schedule, a record of specific entree requirements by time period; and bill of materials, consisting of a standardized formula, list of production activities, and an arrow-on-node flow diagram of the preparation process for each entree, were obtained from a hypothetical food production system serving 1,000 meals for noon and supper as defined by Beach (1974). Three categories of labor: cook, assistant cook, and food service worker, and eight major kinds of equipment were utilized to produce the 42 different entrees. Ten hours were available for scheduling necessary production activities. One seven-day and three five-day production plans, an original and two alternatives, were developed from the master production schedule, a summary of master food product schedules. The five-day production plan--Alternative 1 was used as a basis for a production system employing one labor category.

The COST-ARREST program was used to generate daily production sheets for one week for each of the four production plans. Labor time requirements, forced delay time, and labor cost were analyzed for each of the production plans. Results showed that the five-day production plan--Alternative 2 minimized the day-to-day fluctuation in labor time requirements. Overtime was minimized when one labor category was utilized with four production cooks. Total forced delay time was less in the five-day production plans than in the seven-day production plan. The lowest percentage of forced delay time and lowest labor cost occurred when one labor category was employed with three production cooks.

Comparison of total production duration time needed to complete work activities revealed that more time was required to prepare entree items in the seven-day production plan than in the five-day plans. Total daily labor demand varied by as much as 24 hours in the five-day production plan--Original. Flexibility in the scheduling of entree items within the week allowed a balancing of labor demand. Labor utilization was limited by job descriptions as supported by analysis of overtime, forced delay and labor cost. Implementation of a flexitime plan could decrease the amount of overtime if employees could adjust work schedules to handle fluctuating work loads. The sequencing of activities influenced production duration. Daily labor requirements increased in all production plans by approximately 40% to reflect forced delay time.

Material requirements planning, coupled with the COST-ARREST technique, could provide food service managers with relevant, accurate, and timely data for a feasible and effective method of allocating and scheduling resources.

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