Chip Kent

Today's Author is Chip Kent, MSc, SPHR, CDM, CFPP, FMP. He is the Thought Leader for our Partner Service Initiative. Prior to Clark, Chip spent over 35 years managing & leading organizations within the Hospitality Industry including Restaurants, Business, Health Care and Retirement Communities.

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The First Step Toward Improving Organizational Motivation... Eliminate De-motivators!

Surveys over the last two decades have continued to show that motivation among associates within organizations remains low. With current surveys indicating that more than half of an organization’s associates are only putting enough effort into their work just to hold onto their jobs, it’s time to start doing something different.

Having been a corporate trainer for many years, I have found that the best solution to solving a problem is usually the simple solution!  To create a more motivating environment, leadership first needs to make a commitment to focus on one thing – eliminate de-motivators within their organization.

Negative motivational factors, called de-motivators, are those nagging, daily occurrences that frustrate employees to the point where they consciously or unconsciously reduce their productivity and slowly start to develop a bad attitude about their job.  De-motivators drain the essence out of the employees, undermine their morale, and waste the full potential of these most valuable human resources.

Let’s identify just a few of the most common de-motivators that may have become part of typical operations usually out of neglect or lack of awareness:

  • Unfairness (in the eyes of the associates)
  • Over control by management (demonstrates a lack of trust)
  • Criticism (hand-in-hand with seldom offering praise)
  • Discouraging responses (to associate’s questions)
  • Lack of follow-up (after a lot of work was put into an assignment)
  • Unnecessary rules (rules that just don’t make sense)
  • Unclear expectations (clear to you and not to them)
  • Poorly designed systems (as perceived by employees)
  • Unproductive meetings (but at least the boss feels good)

Remember that employees don’t want to be excluded from important decisions, deprived of information, bored in useless meetings, and given the same rewards that are given to poor performers.

Many leaders are focused on business results and/or are isolated from the daily frustrations of their personnel so they just don’t appreciate the seriousness of the de-motivation issues. Leaders sometimes see these things as minor irritations not realizing how big these irritations are to the employees who have dealt with them day in and day out.  Yes, they do tend to affect employees out of proportion to their actual size, but the perception of the employee is their reality.

Any way you look at it, the emotional and financial cost to the organization is truly staggering and is costing you a lot of money in many different ways.

Action Plan:

  • Don’t try to address all de-motivators at once - prioritize
  • Determine what practice should change and what the new practice should be put in to place
  • Make some subtle improvements – your team will have the answers
  • Meet with all levels of leadership and train the new practices
  • Make it clear that demotivating practices will no longer be rewarded; support the desired practices
  • Know that it all starts from the top
  • Prepare to be amazed at the improved business results

There are many organizations that are technically well run but fail, or at the very least are not as successful as they could be because the motivational aspects within their organization are ignored.  Don’t be one of those failing statistics!

“I don’t pose as an authority on anything at all, I follow the opinions of the ordinary people I meet, and take pride in the close-knit teamwork with all in my organization”  Walt Disney

Tags: motivation

Matt Schuler

Matt Schuler graduated from Johnson & Wales university with a Bachelors Degree in Food Service Management and an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts. He has 16 years of experience in the food service industry in various aspects and is currently the corporate chef/product specialist for Clark Associates.

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Farm to Table! Fad or Here to Stay?

What’s the buzz about Farm to Table recently?  What is it and how can I get involved as a food service operator?  These are questions that may have crossed your mind.  This article will help you understand what Farm to Table is and how it can benefit your foodservice establishment.

Whether you are an elementary school cafeteria, a white tablecloth restaurant, or a healthcare facility, Bountiful Harvesteveryone can take advantage of this growing trend that is hopefully here to stay for the long haul. 

Farm to table isn’t anything new; in fact, it’s been around for centuries.  Most of us have been using the local farm scene and not even realizing the impact it has on our economy, farms, and our health. 

Farm to Table is a movement in which food service establishments are sourcing products and ingredients from a local area and offering those goods to their consumers.  This sourcing of local ingredients has many benefits for you as a food service operator and your customers.

Fresh and Healthy Foods!

Foods that are produced locally are usually picked at the height of ripeness.  Compare that to a lot of our produce, which is picked unripe and then sent across the country or world in hopes that it ripens by the time it hits your plate.  We have all had experiences where the peach was still hard or the tomato was still pink.  They weren’t allowed to fully develop and mature as nature intended. 

Supporting the Local Economy

Buying local keeps your money close to home.  It also helps keep more jobs local and eventually strengthens your local area’s economy. 


Most produce that we use has some impact on the environment and the more it is processed and the farther away it is transported from the place of production or growth, the more negative the impact upon the environment is likely to be.  The amount of greenhouse gases that an apple generates from across the country or the world, is equivalent to their own weight. 

Sustainability- “No farms, No Food”

According to the USDA, since 1935, the U.S. has lost 4.7 million farms. Fewer than one million Americans now claim farming as a primary occupation.  Help keep your local mom & pop farms from closing their barn doors! 

Getting Started

So how can you as a foodservice establishment tap into this wonderful market?  It starts by looking at your menu and determining what foods can be highlighted by choosing products from a local vendor or farmer.  It could be as easy as finding a local goat cheese producer and using their goat cheese over what you already have on your menu.  It could be as simple as connecting with a local orchard and offering those local apples to the kids in the elementary school on a seasonal basis.  Even planting your own herb or vegetable garden on-site can save you a lot of money and offer your customers a higher quality product too. 

Also, don’t forget that it’s a great idea to highlight these additions and changes to your menu; it also gives you a great opportunity to offer a “shout out” to your local partners too.  Consumers are becoming more educated about their menu selections and they want to know where their food comes from. 

There are a lot of organizations and websites that allow you to find out what’s available in your area.  Below are some links to help start this process:

So now that you have the basics of what Farm to Table is and how you can get involved, get out there and find those farms.  Live, Laugh, Farm!! 

Ryan Tiburtini

During his five years with Clark, Ryan has progressed into project development after spending time in project engineering and project management. Having graduated from Lebanon Valley College with a degree in Accounting & Business Management, Ryan began his career as an accountant with Ernst & Young before joining the Clark team. With Clark, Ryan focuses on the senior living and healthcare industries while providing quality capital budget planning for numerous operations.

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Dish Machines: High Temperature VS. Low Temperature

Do the research, before you make the investment!

In today's food service operations, you will find that most operators have a strong opinion that will either support a high temperature or low temperature dish machine, with little gray area in between. Ask the owner and they will surely swear by the dish machine type they have chosen as their operation's ware washer.  No matter which side you favor, there are some clear advantages to both models as well as some hard truths about each model that may change your mind and send you running for the opposing dish machine.

First thing first, what are you going to do with this dish machine? Wash bar glasses or pots and pans? Use it under-counter or in a large wash room? Are you a small establishment or do you have a high-volume need? Next, determine the condition of your water source. Do you have hard water with a high mineral content or soft water where these high levels of minerals are not present or have been removed through a purification system? Once you have answered those questions then it's time to understand the differences between high temp and low temp machines and what the name realy means.

Both terms refer to the sanitation cycle of a dish machine.  High temp commercial dish machines use an internal heater to heat water to 180° Fahrenheit.  This effectively kills germs and removes grease from dirty dishes.  Low temp commercial dish machines rely on a chemical bath to sanitize soiled dishes without cranking the water temperature past what already comes out of the tap.  Now, let's take a more detailed look at each type of commercial dish machine.

High Temperature Dish Machines

This more commonly used dish machine uses slightly more energy than a low temp dish machine as it needs to heat the water to 180° Fahrenheit to meet NSF regulations.  The high temperature within the sanitization cycle helps remove tough stains on glassware such as lipstick or grease.  Perhaps the most beneficial use of a high temp dish machine is the absence of chemicals used in the sanitization cycle therefore, there is no risk of damage to flatware and plastics.  The only chemical used is the detergent within the washing cycle.  In addition, the high sanitization temperature allows dishes to dry much quicker once removed from the machine.  A pitfall to the high temp dish machine is the upfront cost, which can be significantly higher than the counterpart low temp dish machine, ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 more.  Also, to increase the water temperature, each model requires a booster heater which can play as a drawback because this is an additional element that can potentially fail.

Low Temperature Dish Machines

As mentioned earlier, the use of chemicals in the sanitization cycle of a low temp dish machine is the stand out difference from a high temp dish machine.  Some owners will see this as a benefit with added monthly savings in energy and ventilation costs as there is no need to heat water.  However, some will see this as a deal breaker as the chemicals used have a sodium hypochlorite (bleach) agent which can attack certain materials, including silver, aluminum, Armetale, and pewter.  This can be a major concern if your operation uses fine china or specialty utensils.  Another concern with environmental activists is the flushing of large amounts of chemicals down the drain and into the sewer system which can cause issues at local treatment plants.  If your food service operation doesn't use any materials that could be damaged by the chemicals, you may find an additional savings in the upfront cost of a low temp dish machine.



High Temp

Low Temp

Initial Cost:

More expensive initial cost

Less expensive initial cost


Uses heat to sanitize dishes and glassware must achieve 180°F to meet NSF regulations

Uses a chemical bath to sanitize dishes and glassware


No sanitation chemical purchase necessary

Requires weekly purchase of chemicals


More effective at removing grease and animal fat

May require additional wash time for tough grease and animal fat


Less water utilized

More water utilized


Requires slightly more energy per cycle

More energy-efficient requiring less energy


Safe on all flatware and plastics

May damage certain types of flatware
and plastics


Requires a hood or expensive for vent-less option

Capture hood is required

Drying time:

Enables dishes to dry faster

Slower drying time for dishes


Now that you know the facts, the decision is up to you: High Temp or Low Temp?  Both have their advantages and their disadvantages, but the perfect dish machine selection will have a significant effect on the sanitation of your food service operation and ultimately, guest satisfaction.

No matter what choice you make, water conditioning is a major issue that needs to be dealt with if you want quality ware washing results.  This conversation is better to have prior to the purchase and not after the purchase which happens more times than not.

As always, consult a Clark professional to further assist you through this decision process...your employees and customers will surely thank you! 

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