English Kitchen Inventory Refresh

Gideon Lee 4/2/2018

We are in the process of refreshing the second-floor English kitchen to meet the equipment and supply needs for the volunteer builders.  But before we can do that, we need space.  Therefore, we need to do an inventory refresh, keeping only the stuff we use actively and pack/yard-sale/give away stuff we accumulated there that we rarely if ever use anymore.

This is what we have done by Monday…

Kitchen cabinets are emptied out:

Like this:

And like that:

Where did the stuff go? Here … like a yard sale in the cafeteria.

The tools:

The plates:

The cups and glasses:

The utensils:

The chemicals:

The kitchen supplies:

Seasonings — including only those which have not expired:

Stationery, vases, candles, and etc.

The next step is to identify what we want to keep as “active inventory.”  I will get some green dots there.  I’ll ask everyone to stick a green dot on things that we want to mark as active inventory.  I will also get some red dots there for things people want to take home.  The rest we will pack them away for now.

Some questions we anticipate that you might raise:

Why do it now?  We could not do it earlier because of events leading up to Easter.  And, the coordinators from Mobile and Maryland will visit this coming weekend.  They can also help green dot the pieces they need.

How much empty space do we need to save for the volunteer builders? Simply put, a lot.  We are talking about 3 meals a day for 8 days per team, adding up to nearly 50 meals.  And there will be over 100 people.  And there will be at least two plates, a bowl, and a cup per person per meal, not counting plastic utensils.  If the inventory is fully stocked before June, we are talking about 20,000 pieces of Styrofoam or paper alone.  We don’t have a lot of vacant storage space in Building A.  And the first-floor kitchen is already packed with the essentials.

Why can’t the volunteer builders just use the plates and the cups we have?  It looks like we have the equivalence of more than 100 place sets!  Washables are indeed preferred by our guests. Some churches they have visited strongly prefer washables for environmental considerations, if not also for long term cost saving.  However, that would require a dishwasher, preferably a commercial dishwasher.  (A commercial dishwasher can do 24 to 36 rounds per hour vs. 1 or 2 rounds that residential dishwasher can handle.)  The suggestion was made to the building committee as we are building a new kitchen.  However, the building committee has not planned to install a dishwasher in the new building.  One reason is that it will incur some ongoing cost of maintenance, especially if people start actually using the kitchen for cooking.  Plus, the church has been mostly using non-washable plastic and Styrofoam for weekly meals.  It is a single digit percentage of our annual budget and we seem to be okay with that.

How much active inventory should we keep going forward? We should only keep at most double the number of place sets we can use.  And without a dishwasher, the number of sets we can use is practically limited by the dish drying rack, which means about 12 sets.  Theoretically, we could carry more active inventory if we are more diligent in putting the dried sets back to the cabinet.  However, in practice, our drying rack is typically full of stuff by Monday morning and stays that way for the rest of the week.  Some plates and cups never get put back into cabinet.  Therefore, it is impractical to carry an inventory of more than a dozen sets of place ware.