Design and operations planning of municipal foodservice systems

Poorya Farahani, Martin Grunow*, Renzo Akkerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The foodservice sector is associated with a limited possibility of storing foods due to shelf life restrictions, a labor-intensive production environment with various skill requirements, low profit margins, and an extensive set of regulations and expectations regarding the quality of meal provision. Inspired by a municipal foodservice case in Denmark, we discuss the main challenges in the design and operations planning for the foodservice sector explaining the necessity of taking an integrative approach. Accordingly, a hierarchical planning methodology is developed focusing on integrating planning of the required multi-skilled workforce with the planning of production and distribution. Decisions are classified as design and operational depending on their aggregation level and formulated as generic mathematical models, which are applicable to similar cases. The developed models are subsequently solved in a case-tailored solution procedure. The numerical results presented in the paper show that our integrative approach results in lower total costs as well as a significant reduction in the number of necessary temporary staff. Further, it is shown that better results can be obtained when the integrative approach is combined with an extension of shelf life, a penalization of transhipments and a recruitment of staff with different types of skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-396
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Foodservice sector
  • Integrated planning
  • Multi-skilled workforce


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