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Old 11-23-08, 11:17 PM   #1
phantomcow2
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Is this unprofessionally/conventionally stingy?

The dining services at my college are awful. To top it off, it's exorbitantly overpriced. One can get a sandwich or wrap made for 3.75. Included is the following:
Three slices of your choice of meat.
Two slices of your choice of cheese.
Oily vegetables to your heart's content.

Recently they've enacted a new method of making sandwiches, weighing the meat on a gram scale before making your sandwich. The three slices of meat must not exceed 4oz, or else the sandwich maker is supposed to find you a thinner or smaller slice to make it under 4oz.

Since each sandwich is made to order, and there's only one person on the station, one can imagine that this seriously holds up the line. I've been a good deal of sandwich shops in the past and have no memory of seeing a gram scale used for the meat. Then again, I haven't exactly paid attention; I only noticed this because the line was suddenly slower. Is this normal practice for a sandwich place?
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Old 11-23-08, 11:27 PM   #2
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It is normal for a sandwich place that practices portion control to hold down the food costs.
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Old 11-23-08, 11:44 PM   #3
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Usually it's the prep person's job to weigh the meat before it gets put on the line. What you saw was probably the result of a doobie being shared, someone not doing their job, a manager getting mad, and thus the lowly sandwich minion had to use the device during lunch rush. Portion control is fairly important, do a calculation sometime of any little facet of the restaurant industry, whether it be the CO2 and syrup that goes into making sodas or lost money due to larger portions, it all adds up over the course of a year.
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Old 11-23-08, 11:44 PM   #4
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For my first crap job ever, I worked at a pizza place. And we weighed the toppings to make sure everybody got an appropriately large amount of toppings... as in, the pizza was covered with pepperoni, so you'd just see the pepperoni, no cheez, if you ordered pepperoni.

But saving meat like that is impressively bad. It takes talent to be that much of an ass.
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Old 11-24-08, 12:43 AM   #5
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Quiznos weighs their meats.

In other news, the Quiznos next to where I work, which has been open for 4 months, just closed.
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Old 11-24-08, 01:50 AM   #6
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PC2, that's called someone with poor business sense managing the cafeteria. It's not just stingy, it's very probably counterproductive. A person eyeballing the meat slices should be able to be reasonably consistent. They probably save almost nothing on meat, but end up with each sandwich taking more time and fewer customers overall.

However, from my experience at college, I would not be at all surprised if in the recent past the student government threw a fit about poor value in the cafeteria and held up inconsistency in sandwich making as the poster child of their noble and utterly important cause (student governments are funny organizations...it can be an interesting eye opener to be a part of one), so under pressure from administrators tired of dealing with the trivial flak and eager to get back to the task of suckering more money out of alumni to add to their exponentially growing tuition receipts, they pressured the cafeteria to be ensure that every student gets exactly what they pay for. The result: McDonald's-level quality control without McDonald's level efficiency.
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Old 11-24-08, 01:55 AM   #7
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To be tactful they should weigh the meat before putting it out, separate the slices by exact weight, then charge more for the additional labor.

BTW...try getting a sandwich for less than $5 anywhere but a college campus.
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Old 11-24-08, 02:11 AM   #8
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I can get a full 12" sub sandwich with cold cut triple meat and a can of soda for $6 flat near my house. It's not massive like like a subway or quizinos sub, but it's big enough to fill my big appetite.

and that's a family operated corner store in a rather nice business area.
that's canadian $6, so it's like $5 US
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Old 11-24-08, 02:31 AM   #9
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That's definitely one of my issues: My sarcasm is entirely too subtle.

Let me put it bluntly. $3.75 for a sandwich is hella cheap. What sort of service do you expect? If that's a lot of money to you, buy a loaf of bread and some coldcuts. Be sure to add in what you feel is a fair hourly wage.
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Old 11-24-08, 06:32 AM   #10
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The cafe at my work i go down and get the 12" sub. That and a bottle of coke/pepsi is 6.30. First of this year they were putting slices of cheese on it, by summer it was 5 and now 4. The meat portions ahve shrunk as well. Its like eating lettuce on a bun now, can't taste the meat.
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Old 11-24-08, 07:00 AM   #11
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Recently they've enacted a new method of making sandwiches, weighing the meat on a gram scale before making your sandwich. The three slices of meat must not exceed 4oz, or else the sandwich maker is supposed to find you a thinner or smaller slice to make it under 4oz.
Aside from the idiocy of not having the meat already divvied up properly if they're concerned about weight, what the heck are they supposed to do with the slices that were too thick? If adding them to 2 "normal" slices causes the scale to register too much weight, the same thing will happen when they try to use the slice with another sandwich.
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Old 11-24-08, 09:00 AM   #12
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Oooh! Almost forgot! I work next door to a Sprouts (whole foods store). They have a daily special of a sandwich, with meat and cheese, for $2.99. They pile the meat on.
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Old 11-24-08, 09:20 AM   #13
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Quiznos uses a scale, or at least the one I goes to does.
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Old 11-24-08, 09:24 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
The dining services at my college are awful. To top it off, it's exorbitantly overpriced. One can get a sandwich or wrap made for 3.75. Included is the following:
Three slices of your choice of meat.
Two slices of your choice of cheese.
Oily vegetables to your heart's content.

Recently they've enacted a new method of making sandwiches, weighing the meat on a gram scale before making your sandwich. The three slices of meat must not exceed 4oz, or else the sandwich maker is supposed to find you a thinner or smaller slice to make it under 4oz.

Since each sandwich is made to order, and there's only one person on the station, one can imagine that this seriously holds up the line. I've been a good deal of sandwich shops in the past and have no memory of seeing a gram scale used for the meat. Then again, I haven't exactly paid attention; I only noticed this because the line was suddenly slower. Is this normal practice for a sandwich place?
I used to run the front end of a pizza/sub shop (usually have a food service sidejob somewheres...) and we had to weigh the meat. It was when they would lower the quantity that you REALLY noticed - especially with the turkey as that had more (water) weight - and here you have to spread those few ounces out on a sub roll and almost plump it up (like how you see on commercials) to make it look like more). It's a way of keeping costs under control. We also kept check of our waste and any item that came back (cause it was made wrong) was carefully noted - and the meat from the sammie was calculated out as well as adding the roll to it's own waste column. Veggies seem to have been a given.
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Old 11-24-08, 09:52 AM   #15
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Back in the old days I worked at a popular sandwich place and we always weighed the meat. It really shouldn't take that long. After a week or so I was able to grab 3 ounces, 5 ounces, etc. with a single grab and get it close enough 99% of the time.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:01 AM   #16
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I go to a couple of local ethnic markets... one (Lebanese) will make you a massive meat and cheese sandwich with freshly cut veggies on a fresh Italian bun or put it in a fresh pita for $3.99.

The Italian deli makes a similar sandwich with two meats and 2 cheeses for $4.99... and it's an even bigger and more massive sandwich.

The Lebanese market gets their bread from the Italian bakery / deli.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:03 AM   #17
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Wow, I'm glad I've never had to live on a campus.

I love Publix. They are actually more concerned with making a great sandwich and serving the customer than they are about making or saving money.

"Can you slice some fresh dill havarti for me?" "Sure!"
"Also, can I take a container of chicken salad from the shelf, and you add that to my sandwich?" "you bet!"
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Old 11-24-08, 10:08 AM   #18
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Back in the old days I worked at a popular sandwich place and we always weighed the meat. It really shouldn't take that long. After a week or so I was able to grab 3 ounces, 5 ounces, etc. with a single grab and get it close enough 99% of the time.
I used to work at Arby's and those were the weights of roast beef that go on their roast beef sandwiches. Weighing the meat shouldn't add more than 5 seconds to the entire process.
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Old 11-24-08, 02:57 PM   #19
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the problem is that it is a custom samich.

At arbys we weighed the meat down to the .1 oz that went on each sandwich- but it was basically 1 of like 4 every time, which made it pretty snappy.
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Old 11-24-08, 03:07 PM   #20
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All this talk about sandwiches is making me drool for banh mi. So cruel.
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Old 11-24-08, 03:21 PM   #21
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Is this normal practice for a sandwich place?
You are comparing apples and oranges. There is damn little that goes on in any college campus that bears even a remote resemblance to what "normal practice" is off campus in almost any endeavor. Don't think so? Take a look at your profs and ask yourself how any of them would make out in the outside world.

However, harkening back to my days in on-campus food service (not the dorms cafeterias, but on-campus general eateries), what you describe sounds uber-normal for an on-campus eating establishment. Figure that the "professionals" who run the place are pretty much the low end of the food service pecking order (either brand-new in the field or unable to make it in a job that pays very much) and are supervising college-student workers who are (a) bored out of their gourds by the job, (b) would love to screw with and/or completely ignore the system and (c) have the intellectual wherewithal to come up with some truly ingenious ways of doing so. More times than you might think, the only thing the pros can come up with to keep things going and more or less keeping costs in line is to impose dumb-sounding rules like the one you describe. Believe me, I saw plenty of it from the other side of the counter. (This does not even take into account Stupid Customer Tricks - I once had a person ask me in all seriousness what was in a cheese sandwich.)

Does that make it right? No. It also does not make it wrong. It just makes it the way it is. My suggestion: either allot yourself more time to get a sandwich, go somewhere else, or make your own, because I can assure you that you, by yourself, will not change how the Powers That Be at the sandwich counter want things done. They are under the misbegotten idea that they know the business better than you do.
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Old 11-24-08, 03:21 PM   #22
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Having worked in a restaurant where every portion was weighed out, you would probably be very surprised to see how much you actually save...
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Old 11-24-08, 03:30 PM   #23
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Having worked in a restaurant where every portion was weighed out, you would probably be very surprised to see how much you actually save...
This presumes that practices have no impact on the number of sales made.

The cost of food adds up, but labor and overhead in any eating establishment is very high. When people question either the quality or value of what you deliver, it can hurt business.

If the concern is losing money, calculate an acceptable amount of "measurement error" when setting the price.
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Old 11-24-08, 03:37 PM   #24
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This presumes that practices have no impact on the number of sales made.

The cost of food adds up, but labor and overhead in any eating establishment is very high. When people question either the quality or value of what you deliver, it can hurt business.

If the concern is losing money, calculate an acceptable amount of "measurement error" when setting the price.
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Old 11-24-08, 03:45 PM   #25
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I went to Johnson and Wales (Hotel Rest./ food serveice) They beat it into your head that you would not survive for long with out a good cost control system of some sort..
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