A Play for Savings and Predictability in Food Service
Norman Taylor is a Chef with Delaware North, a global food service and hospitality company, that just happens to supply food for Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. Chef Taylor and his team are responsible for smoking the brisket, pork, chicken, and turkey that feed all the fans—from those in the suites to the employees. As you might imagine, that level of service is quite an undertaking.
In 2007, Chef Taylor needed a solution. Even with three smokers, they could not keep up with demand. They needed a way to make their food ahead of time, without sacrificing the taste or quality the fans craved. Specifically, Chef Taylor was in search of a machine that could vacuum seal product so it could be frozen and used when demanded—one that could also keep up with the volume that three smokers produced. After doing a Google search, Hess Meat Machines came to the top of the list; Chef Taylor liked that they were local and went to look around.
“I walked into Hess and told them exactly what I needed and why, and they showed me a variety of different options,” said Taylor. “They took their time and really educated me about my options and the pros and cons of each machine. I was sold on the one that could vacuum seal 2-4 bags at a time.”
Chef Taylor’s team has had Hess Meat Machine’s Sipromac Vacuum Machine since 2007 and has purchased vacuum bags from Hess since that time. Annually, before opening season, the Hess technicians come out to conduct their preventive maintenance assessment.
“They are so thorough when they come out to check on us before opening season,” he shared. “They want to make sure we are prepared for the volume we are about to produce. This annual check-up is probably why we’ve had our machine for so long—it works just like it did when we first got it.”
Chef Taylor notes that the entire staff at Hess Meat Machines is knowledgeable. “They don’t just tell me what is wrong. They also tell me why so that I can explain it to my boss,” he shared.
“ You can’t put a price on service or knowledge.”
He also appreciates the fact that the company is local and that they have fostered a long-term relationship with him.
“I’m not just a number to them,” he said. “They’ve even run bags out to me before when I’ve been in a tough spot. We are thinking about purchasing another bigger vacuum machine from them in the future because we know these machines pay for themselves.”
After only two seasons, the vacuum machine paid for itself. “Now, the machine is making us money,” he said.
“It saves us $1.15 per pound to make our own brisket vs. buying it—and that includes the machines, labor, and bags,” Chef Taylor shared. “There are 75lbs of brisket in a case and last season our team produced 1800 cases of brisket—and that’s not including the pork or turkey.”
In addition, he says that the machine has helped the team stay ahead of demand and preserve the food that three
smokers are producing. “We can have a schedule now and keep up with volume and production. It has made it so much easier to plan ahead.”
Chef Taylor added that they never get behind during a game anymore and his team has gone from rushing and overtime
to a fixed schedule with a predictable rotation of product.
Savings, knowledgeable service, predictable ordering and scheduling, and peace of mind…a Hess Meat Machine homerun, according to Chef Taylor.