Mr Ebel, how does a chef become operations manager of a company canteen?
Cooking is really fun and I also cook at home every day. But I wanted to do something different for a change and take on more responsibility. Because I’ve always had a great affinity with numbers, I trained full time in hotel management and learned a lot about controlling, accounting, costing and staff management. I can make good use of that in my current job.
How many employees are you responsible for?
65 in total. Many Krones staff probably have no idea just how large our team here actually is. We cook around 2,000 meals a day for the two canteens and the guest Casino. On top of that there are eight kiosks, where we have about a thousand transactions each day. Keeping all that running is certainly a big task.
Who actually writes the menu?
That’s done by our kitchen manager, Toni Hörnig. He sits down with the Workers Council and Health Management every two weeks and discusses the dishes to serve. Some of it is already specified by Eurest head office, such as campaigns like Dean and David or COA. The rest of the menu we tailor specifically to Krones. Sometimes our guests also want special dishes, which we are happy to do where possible.
How much is actually cooked on the spot?
As much as possible. Given the large quantities that we produce each day, we can’t of course do everything ourselves – especially as our kitchen is only configured for 900 meals. That means everything has to be done precisely and right on cue. It’s why we wash the salad ourselves, for instance, but buy the vegetables already pre-cut.
And where do you obtain the ingredients from?
Some suppliers are selected by head office, especially for dry goods. For fresh ingredients we have our own regional suppliers such as Gierstorfer, the butcher, and the Ebner bakery, which supply us three to four times a day..
As a young operations manager you will certainly have some ideas of your own as to changes you would like to make …
Yes, of course. Some things have already changed, mind you, like the modern table décor in the main canteen or the healthy “Vitalien” line that we introduced in partnership with Krones Health Management. We’ve also acquired two pizza ovens and appointed a professional pizza maker. And generally, we also want to make our cooking a little fresher and more modern in the future.
What exactly does that mean?
For instance, reducing the use of glutamate and serving more healthy dishes. Don’t worry, though: no one is going to miss out on roast pork Tuesdays, they’ll still continue of course! But we also want to make as many employees as possible happy – including those who are vegetarian, vegan or generally a little more diet-conscious.
We are also expanding our breakfast range with muesli, smoothies and special offers such as fried eggs and the like. And we’re planning to serve salads in glass vessels. That means you can take them with you to your desk, after paying a deposit. So, there will be more variety overall.