Conference lunches made easy

Fallstudie Serve-Rite
“Today we will be supplying several conference groups with bread-based lunchtime meals that will be easier to prepare, and will leave fewer leftovers, than old-style sandwich lunches,” explains Shanice Sanoesi. She works for the Dutch catering company Albron, and is laying on the catering for their customer NVWA (the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority) in Utrecht. “We used to spend most of our mornings,” she continues, “preparing sandwiches in order to be ready for the midday rush. With the new Serve-Rite, that stress is a thing of the past.”

“The conference supervisors contact our catering service a day in advance, and order the lunchtime meal. The catering staff place all the fresh meal components in the trolley in the morning. It has a refrigerated compartment for cold meats, cheese and other perishable products. The Serve-Rite, which is known as the “Lunch2You” trolley, is then wheeled into the conference room, where the conference attendees select their own fillings and toppings for bread and rolls. With more options to choose from, they can pick and mix whatever takes their fancy. And at the end of the day, there are far fewer leftovers.”

More conviviality

“It’s quite a change from the way things used to be,” agree the catering staff. “We used to put toppings on halved rolls and slices of bread; now we simply prepare the buffet components and let the conference attendees decide what, and how much, to put on their bread. This form of catering has many advantages for us as well, for we can spend the man-hours saved providing other services. Another interesting effect is the reduction in food waste, for we don’t have to throw away pre-prepared sandwiches and rolls. And since toppings and fillings keep longer when they haven’t been taken out of their packagings, there is less waste with these as well”.

Encouraging eco-awareness

Sanoesi shows us how she loads the Serve-Rite trolley. Pastries are placed at the top on the right, with bread and rolls on the left. Toppings, cheese and butter are placed in the refrigerated compartment on the left, beneath which there is a compartment for chilled drinks. In the drawer on the right there are oranges, and below that there is room for other kinds of fruit. “The conference attendees select their own toppings, plus a drink, and any fruit they fancy. The NWMA specified that three quarters of the produce on offer has to be sourced from organic suppliers.” A colleague adds that on the day we show up only 60 meals are being supplied, but that on other days many more meals might be required. “There are no hard and fast rules about the number of meals we distribute. If the onboard supplies are running low, we simply stock up the trolley with new drinks and meal components,” she explains.

Ministry-backed pilot project

Albron Catering’s “Lunch2You” concept was designed around temp-rite’s energy-saving Serve-Rite buffet trolleys, and backed by the EL&I (Ministerie van Economische Zaken, Landbouw en Innovatie – Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs). In an earlier study, the EL&I concluded that in one of its departments in Den Haag around 10,000 pre-prepared sandwiches were thrown away every year. This was a shocking finding, for as well as the food being thrown away, energy was being wasted to keep the sandwiches cool, and then to dispose of them – to say nothing of the man-hours spent preparing them.

Dutch government agencies have for years been investigating the sustainability of their work processes and service provision. Against this background, the EL&I launched a pilot project at the beginning of 2011 aimed at improving the efficiency of their in-house lunchtime catering for conference attendees. “The project was a great success,” explains Jan van Wieringen, the contract manager in charge of catering for all the Netherlands’ ministries. “Our midday guests are now free to make up their sandwiches exactly as they want them, and this reduces our catering staff’s workload. What’s more, very little food has to be thrown out. We have achieved a worthwhile reduction in waste, and at the same time made dramatic cost savings.”

The purchase of bread and fillings for 10,000 sandwiches for just one ministry represents a considerable expense, and the savings realized through the pilot project seemed reason enough to try out the concept in other areas. Furthermore, the throwing out of perfectly edible foodstuffs has in recent years become something of an embarrassment, given the food shortages that exist in some parts of the world.

Serve-Rite trolley on tour

Following the success of the pilot project, the EL&I’s catering department sent the Serve-Rite trolley on a goodwill tour of various Dutch government agencies. Naturally, this was welcomed by temp-rite, a company that for years has been promoting the more sustainable use of resources through its development of energy-saving meal-distribution systems and its consistent use of recyclable construction materials in its products.

The Serve-Rite trolley is a shining example, delivered by a company that is renowned for its user-friendly concepts and practical innovations, of an easy-to-operate product that offers a wide range of advantages. Serve-Rite delivers stylish hospitality to conference attendees, and allows caterers to offer more flexible services at a reduced cost. And the company that hires the caterer is saved all the expense caused by unnecessary waste.

Further information is available from:

temp-rite International GmbH
Theodor-Barth-Str. 29, 28307 Bremen
Tel.: 0421/48 69 20, Fax: 0421/48 69 228