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 October 08, 2010

Mobilization

Grab-and-Go meals speed military processing through SRC

By Tom Michele, Eagle Systems & Services

Fort McCoy Food Service personnel conducted a test of a new Grab-and-Go feeding concept in August for the 863rd Engineer Battalion mobilization and then fully implemented it for the 197th Fires Brigade mobilization in September.

PHOTO: Ace Indahl serves a Soldier an entrée from the “Grab-and-Go” meals operation at Fort McCoy Dining Facility 2627. Photo by Andy Pisney
Ace Indahl serves a Soldier an entrée from the “Grab-and-Go” meals operation at Fort McCoy Dining Facility 2627. Indahl is a food services worker for Superior Services. The Soldier is a member of the 197th Fires Brigade, which is mobilizing at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Andy Pisney)

The Grab-and-Go operation was in Dining Facility (DFAC) 2627. During the nine days the 197th processed through the Soldier Readiness Center (SRC) to begin its mobilization, almost 5,000 Grab-and-Go meals were served during extended lunch hours. Thirty minutes were added on each end of the time period.

Andy Pisney, Fort McCoy food program manager, said the Grab-and-Go feeding concept was developed to help the SRC medical staff process 300 197th Soldiers per day. SRC processing stations normally close down during lunch to enable Soldiers to take time to eat a hot meal.

With the large numbers of 197th Soldiers processing, the SRC stations stayed open during lunch and continued processing Soldiers. “The Grab-and-Go enabled this to happen by offering the Soldiers a meal where they could quickly walk to the DFAC, pick up their meal, and either eat it in the DFAC or go back to processing.”

As the Soldiers entered the dining facility, they first were scanned in with the Scan-and-Go headcount system and then grabbed a shopping bag. Next they selected hot or cold entrees and side items. Soldiers then got their drinks and condiments and either sat down and ate, if their schedule allowed, or left the dining facility.

“We are starting to use the Scan-and-Go,” Pisney said. “It is a small scanner the size of a TV remote. We currently use it in DFAC 2674 and will be rolling it out to the other DFACs soon.” It is a faster headcount system than the manual sign-in headcount system.

The Grab-and-Go dining facility was only for the 197th Soldiers, so this particular DFAC did not have any other customers during these lunches. Servers used one serving line (entrée line, side line and drink line) and two dining rooms. This concept was very successful because it allowed the SRC to continue to process Soldiers straight through the lunch period and the Soldiers enjoyed the variety the meals offered, Pisney said.

“We will offer this again whenever we mobilize a battalion-sized element or larger during their SRC processing phase,” Pisney said.

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