Mark Manney Publishes Foodservice Loss Prevention Manual

Posted On: 10/3/2018

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CREEDMOOR, NC — Security veteran Mark Manney has published a guidebook on tightening controls in order to minimize costs in foodservice operations.

Manney is the founder of Loss Prevention Results, a well-known security consultancy to the vending industry. The new Foodservice Loss Prevention Manual is a companion to the Micromarket Loss Prevention Manual, the first in a series of educational handbooks based on Manney's long experience in working with operators to combat internal and external losses.

Manney explained that the Foodservice Loss Prevention Manual, like its predecessor, was developed "in the trenches.

"I had a 32-year loss prevention background, some of it in 'big-box snack bars," he recalled. "Then, from 2002 to 2005, I was on retainer with a large vending company which had more than 30 industrial cafeterias. Besides their vending operation, I was tasked to help increase profitability and significantly lower their foodservice cost of goods sold. There were profitability issues."

Applying his previous experience to the task, he succeeded in attaining the client's objectives. "If you are an outside consultant, no owner is going to keep you around without ROI results fairly quickly. That fact is a motivator," Manney said. "As an outsider, you do not have time to play pattycake or politics. All my contracts have been visit to visit, never longer then a monthly retainer commitment. Clients kept me around because I lived up to the name of my company, Loss Prevention Results."

Security in vending route operations is not quite the same thing as security in manual feeding installations. Manney's prior experience in managing  three divisions in a five-company retail group with 10,000 employees had shown him that getting individual facility managers on the same page of any ongoing campaign can be a problem that resembles herding cats.

"I knew if I was going to herd 30 cafeteria manager 'cats' to implement multiple programs to attack and lower the COGs in a short time, I had to do four things," the security expert explained. "First, give them a template to train and educate them about the foodservice loss prevention retail details – the causes and the cures of high COGs. This template is the basis for the Foodservice Loss Prevention Manual.

"Second, I would have to visit each operation and walk every square foot with the manager, using the manual, and record specifically what had to be done," Manney continued. "I wanted to give them plenty of time; they are busy people. Then I would email the agreed-upon tasks to them, to their boss and to the owner, with agreed-upon time frames for completion."

The third element was to touch base each week with the managers, their supervisors and the owner, "letting them all know that I am coming back to     inspect  what the owner (not me) expects," Manney said. "And then, at the agreed-upon time, re-walk every square foot of the operation and actually inspect what was expected." With those four procedures in place, he would  report everything, every detail, to the owner."

This program proved both practical and effective, although it can take a bit of time to get everything running smoothly. "It always varies at first, from significant success after just a full accounting month by those who 'got it' and made the changes, through those who made some changes, to those who made excuses and no changes – either just paying lip service to the plan, or not following up.

"The most critical factor was the owner’s reaction," Manney reported. "'Change management is difficult for the rank and file, but once the owner got behind it and held managers individually accountable for their action or lack of it, the success rate steadily climbed. It always comes down to the owner and senior management backing the changes in the manual. The manual itself is just proven operational and loss prevention common sense, and programs that work … if they're worked."

The security veteran reported that he has run this program, with the template/manual, in more than 300 vending/foodservice operations between 2002 and 2015. "I also put it in a chain of small restaurants," he added. "That is one of the reason many of my programs have been successful: time and evolution. This manual is probably Vending Food Service 10.0. I just kept polishing and expanding it with the years and the engagements."

The Foodservice Loss Prevention Manual often can be combined with other security audits and procurement and menu-planning policies, Manney explained. "It doesn’t cover inventory accuracy," he observed, "nor employee 'grazing' nor food portioning; but hits everything else."

It also has proven its lasting value as a  reference source for management long after Manney's training and implementation contract was completed. "Some operations and managers just had to cherry-pick it," he recalled. "And some needed every page in it, depending on their experience level."

The Foodservice Loss Prevention Manual is available for download in Adobe Portable Document Format for $299 from the VT Bookstore.