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A Day in the Life of the Dining Services Utility Department

Posted on January 18, 2017 in Community Feature, General, Staff Profile

IMG_2925Blue, black, burgundy or purple polo shirts … These are the uniform colors of the Utility Staff of Dining Services that residents see all day and evening, walking the halls in Woolman, Barclay or the Village.

The Utility Staff is comprised of many bright young minds who strive to provide great service to all the residents, guests and their fellow co-workers. They are responsible for numerous and essential tasks throughout the Dining Services Department on a daily basis.

IMG_2908When residents hear “utility,” they think of dirty dishes! Each day the Utility Staff collect, wash, sanitize and store approximately 4300 pieces of silverware, over 5000 pieces of china and nearly 2000 pieces of assorted glassware. Our resilient pot washers hand scrub, rinse and sanitize between 1000 and 1200 pots, pans, sheet trays, and utensils daily to support the culinary team and department.

Not only are they responsible for the ware washing and proper sanitation of all dishes, pots, pans, and utensils in Pennswood Village kitchen, but they are also in charge of temperature logs, maintaining kitchen floors, delivering take-out meals to the Village, and meal carts to Woolman house and Barclay house. They take care of all these tasks so you don’t have to, leaving you with more time to spend on things you enjoy.

IMG_2953The first staff member arrives at 7 AM and sets up the dish room and pot area for the day. In conjunction with our early Culinary, Barclay and Café team members, Utility Staff helps to ensure the kitchen is in working order. In between carts, the morning staff member operates the dish room and washes all pots from the breakfast meal.

Sanitation is key for the Utility Staff and Department. The dish room has two areas: the soiled side and the clean side. Ware washing functions are separated into these two areas to insure the proper sanitizing of all dishes, silverware, glassware and that all items are processed according to strict regulatory standards. Dishes are scraped, racked and sprayed off prior to entering the high temperature dish machine which consists of a pre-wash, wash, rinse, and 180 degree sanitizing cycle. Once dishes are completely dry, they are unloaded from the racks and returned to each service area for the next use.

IMG_2927Our second person that comes in is the 9 AM and works until 5:30 PM. This person is solely responsible for hand washing all pots, pans and trays used throughout the department. They must adhere to the strict regulatory standards for washing, rinsing and sanitizing everything that comes to their area. On an hourly basis, they record important information about the level of sanitizer in their sinks to insure compliance with the Bucks County Department of Health and federal codes. During our October inspection, our county health inspector commented that Pennswood is one of the cleanest kitchens among the many restaurants and organization she inspects in Bucks County.

IMG_2917Before 11:30 AM, these gentlemen are responsible to have all dishes, pots, pans, glassware and silverware completed and ready for use by all areas for the lunch meal. The meal delivery and ware washing process then begins again for lunch. At 12:00 PM our kitchen supervisor joins the other two team members, and by noon, all three staff members shift to “high gear” to keep up with the demands of all ware washing, pots, trash, meal carts and sanitation procedures.

Activities for lunch service usually end around 2:30 for the dish room and pot wash areas which allows these three employees to divide and conquer. The jobs are divided evenly with the collective goal of having everything cleaned, sanitized and ready for dinner service.

At 5:00 PM, six young men arrive in staggered shifts to cover all areas of the dish rooms, pots, and cart delivery and ware washing for our resident and staff diners in all areas. They quietly and efficiently support the department during its busiest time of the day, the dinner meal. A well-structured schedule awaits them upon arrival, defining their shift assignment and all clean up duties prior to the 8:30 PM end of shift. Three dedicated individuals stay until 10:00 PM to sweep and mop the café area and power scrub the kitchen floors.

The Utility team members collectively work from 7 AM to 10 PM daily servicing the needs of the community. On a daily basis, the Utility team keeps things humming by processing thousands of pieces of silverware, china, glassware, pots, pans and a wide variety of kitchen utensils and tools. Although our residents and fellow staff members rarely see this hard working group, the Dining Services department would not be able to function without their dedicated service each and every day. We appreciate their hard work and can-do attitude, and feel honored to recognize these ‘behind the scenes’ heroes from the Dining Services department.

For more information about services at Pennswood Village, please give us a call at 866-740-4977.