“It’s Ocean Perch. Take it back,” said Samuel Ludwig, the Stadium Club’s executive chef to the man making a food delivery at the kitchen’s receiving dock. “I’ll just have to see if I can get what I need from another supplier before tonight!”
“O.K.,” said the deliveryman, “Whatever you say. I’ll take it back.” With that, the driver for National Foods removed the top box from a stack of boxes he had unloaded, and placed the rejected box back on his truck.
As David Berger, the Inn’s food and beverage director, approached the executive chef, he could see that Samuel was upset, “What’s the problem, Samuel?” asked David, “The problem,” replied Samuel, “is National Foods and no Lake Perch.”
“What do you mean?” asked David. “Well,” said Samuel. “Today is Friday, and you know how popular our ‘Friday Fish Fry’ special has been.” “Yes,” replied David. “It’s going great.” David knew that Samuel had developed an “All You Can Eat” Friday Night Fish Dinner special that was very popular with the area’s residents. It had been promoted highly and Lake Perch fillets were the featured item. The hotel’s supplier of the perch, as well as many other meat and seafood items, was National Foods.
“National Foods claims they are out of Lake Perch. I’ve got to get on the telephone and find some. I’m not sure what we will have to pay for it,” said Samuel as he hurried away, “But dinner starts in four hours.”
David went to his telephone also. He called Toshia Lawrence, his sales representative at National Foods. “Toshia,” began David, “You can’t be out of Lake Perch! We have over 200 people coming to dinner tonight, and at least half of them will want our Fried Fish Special!”
“I’m sorry David,” replied Toshia, “But It’s like I told Samuel when we first bid on your purchase specification, and he placed the order with us. Lake Perch is a tough one. Its availability depends on the catch, and that varies weekly. That’s’ also why the cost varies so much from week to week. Remember, Samuel said he wanted fresh, not frozen fillets, and trust me, if I have them, I can ship them to you. If I don’t….well, all I can do is try to make the best substitution possible. But I know Samuel doesn’t like it!”
David again considered his menu. Samuel was simply trying to maintain the quality standards established for the Fish Fry Special. He knew that this particular menu item was extremely popular, but he could not help feeling that it had been selected improperly. The fresh Perch fillets were very tasty, but the volatility of their supply and cost had caused problems before. He wondered if there were other seafood items that that could be just as popular, but which could be procured at a more consistent cost and without the supply problems they were currently experiencing. He decided right then to explore his alternatives.
“Toshia,” said David, “You know the seafood market, and the tastes of our local clientele. What item would you recommend if we were considering a permanent replacement for the Lake Perch?”
Case Study Questions below-
1. When the Friday Night Fish special was initially planned, what roles should Samuel and the Stadium Club’s food and beverage director have had in the decision to select the type of fish to be used?
2. What are the “pros and cons” of using frozen perch for tonight’s production if it can be purchased within the next several hours?
3. How should the decision about whether to change the type of fish used for the fish fry be made? Assume the type of fish will be changed. What, if any, tactics should David, Samuel and/or others implement to inform the public including regular guests?
Menu Case Study