Honor Thy Kitchen

Posted on February 26th, 2024

Today’s operator has the benefit of ever-superior technology in equipment and systems that make creating exciting and nourishing menus easier than ever. Combi-ovens, Wi-Fi-enabled smart refrigerators, ventless rapid cook ovens, and all kinds of automated food processing devices make quick work of mise en place, memorializing recipes for push-button accuracy and consistency. After a moderate set-up of trial and testing, then programming, the line-level worker can execute plate after plate in the same way with no guesswork.

The downside is that tech can be delicate. Cooks tend to be decidedly indelicate. When substantial amounts of capital are invested in new smart equipment and plow horses of the past have been eliminated, downtime is crushing. Sensors, motherboards, and even high-tech gaskets are creating delays in repair due to our still sluggish supply chain. Qualified technicians are just as rare. Moreover, the workarounds, potential loss of quality and consistency, and the impact on colleague morale all negatively affect the organization. No one benefits when a critical piece of equipment is “still down”.

The remedy? Education and engagement. First, educate the team, (that’s EVERYONE) of the definition of a Capital Expenditure (Capex) and the dollar thresholds of your organization. Explain the approval process, how long it takes, and why. Explain in detail the differences between Capex, Consumables, and Disposables and why capital does not come out of the operating budget. It is imperative that the catcher on the flight machine understands that the unit costs as much as a starter home. Only then can leadership create the awareness that these assets must be protected.

True story: Senior year in culinary school. Purchasing class. Value lesson. The instructor randomly asked each of the sixteen students for a quarter. Give me a quarter, give me a quarter, give me a quarter until she got to the last student and traded the $3.75 for 4 singles (fortuitous for a college student to have any cash). She then stood at the front of the classroom, held out the bills, and torched them with her cigarette lighter without a word. The entire class lurched forward. Her lesson? “This is how the owner feels when you break a plate or overcook a steak…and you only lost a quarter.” Senseless waste. A brutal lesson that is not recommended for reenactment, yet a retelling goes an exceptionally long way to make a point in a way that everyone can relate.

Next, training. Anyone who will use or clean the equipment must be thoroughly in-serviced on it. Manufacturer’s best practices and videos are encouraged. A locally produced “how-to” video is a terrific way to make it personal and create pride in workmanship and the department. This will help foster a culture of excellence that can be contagious: “Hey, don’t slam those oven doors! We don’t do that here!”.
Stress that it is incumbent upon everyone to protect the assets of the department for the greatest performance.

Finally, be sure to provide all the tools necessary for ease of production and cleaning. Make it easy to do it right. Do your recipes include the use and care of the equipment specified? Are all your pieces on casters with quick disconnect supply lines? Are there the prescribed cleaning supplies available and have they been included in the training? Is your master cleaning schedule up to date and exact? Who manages daily overwatch to confirm accuracy? It is imperative that staff know and understand the value in their hands.

“The work is best that the boss inspects.” Col. D H Hackworth

Tools for success:
Basic fundamentals of kitchen design and preventative maintenance programming can be found here on RSA’s Learning platform:

Healthcare Foodservice Design and Equipment Fundamentals (ruckshockey.com)

Creating a template that assigns regular ownership to equipment by position is a public way to establish accountability and ownership throughout the department:

Task Work Order Area Frequency Assigned to
Clean combi stack Kitchen Daily
Clean line reach-ins and make station Small dish room Daily
Change fryer, boi out and refill Sm, dish room Every 3 days
Seep and mope produce cooler Sm, dish room/td>

Delime flight machine Dish room Weekly
Clean floor behind ice maker Hallway Weekly

Big Game Eats

Posted on February 5th, 2024

The Big Game is Sunday, 11 February 2024 and while it is not officially a National Holiday it has all the components of one:

This year let’s look at some classics with a few updates for diversity and ease of home preparation.

Whatever you choose, plan your menu in advance and stay focused. Organize serving equipment on Saturday and be mindful of heat management on and in your cooking surfaces. Most of all, organize that you will be finished with preparations by kickoff so that you can enjoy the Big Game, too!

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?


How Cookie Shopping Was a Place of Sweetness and Service Excellence

Khalid Shiekh

Posted on November 27th, 2023

Satisfied and inspired employees in the hospitality services industry who are well compensated, properly trained, treated with respect, and recognized and rewarded for their outstanding work are the heart of a successful organization. They will do everything possible to provide an exceptional service to their customers or the people they serve, on a consistent basis. They love what they do and are proud of it. It’s called the service excellence culture!

I would like to share a story of a service excellence experience that has stayed with me for many years. In 2006, I was the senior general manager for support services at a major medical center in Oklahoma. For the hospital week, I was assigned to procure two hundred dozen cookies. I called a well-established cookie company store at a local mall to speak with the manager to get some ideas and a quote. A very enthusiastic and vibrant voice answered the phone with an appropriate and cheerful greeting. That was my first positive impression. I asked to speak with the manager. She very politely replied, “The manager is not in right now, but I will gladly assist you. How may I help you?” I could hear a smile, feel her enthusiasm, and visualize her engaging style in her voice. I sensed that she was committed to helping a potential customer over the phone. I described the reason for my call, and she responded, “We would be honored to prepare such a large quantity of cookies for the hospital staff. We are very experienced in serving such large events, so please give us the opportunity”.

Of course, that statement sealed the deal for me. She set up a time for me to come to meet with her and the manager the next day. I was thoroughly impressed by her salesmanship, happy voice, enthusiasm, and engaging style over the phone. The next day, when I met with the manager and her, we quickly finalized the arrangement for the cookie order and all the related details. Before I left the store, I asked her what makes her so happy, cheerful, energetic, engaging, and customer-focused. She replied in three simple words, “It’s our culture!”. She continued; “We are very well trained, and our manager treats us with respect, dignity, fairness, and appreciation every day, and we treat every customer the same way”.

She is an example of a happy and engaged employee!

Great leaders in the hospitality industry purposefully and diligently work to create a culture of Workplace Excellence where the employees excel at what they do. This is their passion and mission, and they are fully committed to it. By doing so they also help create more ‘leaders’ on their team and for the organization.

There are seven most common leadership traits they inherently practice towards achieving this mutually beneficial culture of excellence! These leaders:

  1. Begin with a Leader’s Mindset
  2. Put People First and Serve Their Needs
  3. Share their Vision, Strategy, Plan and Purpose
  4. Focus on Employee Satisfaction and Their Development
  5. Create a culture of Fairness, Integrity, and Personal Growth
  6. Build Great Teams and Make the Organization Better
  7. Communicate Effectively

To summarize:

Building a culture of Workplace Excellence in the hospitality services industry takes a visionary, thoughtful, committed, and passionate leader with many inspirational and impeccable qualities. They communicate effectively and practice kindness, humility, inclusiveness, empathetic listening, and promote teamwork. Everyone on their team supports and respects each other. These leaders celebrate the team’s individual and organizational successes. They recognize and reward the hard work and accomplishments of their people. They inspire their people and create more leaders along the way!

We would love to hear about your service excellence story!


What is Your Team’s Record This Fall?

Posted on October 9th, 2023

It’s fall and the season of sports that take place around the country or even the globe. From college football in stadiums with history, women’s volleyball that just broke an attendance record at Nebraska with 92,000 fans, soccer, and running cross country out in the autumn air, all these take levels of discipline, training, practice, and passion to do what these athletes do to rise to the highest competitive levels. And on the other side of these athletes are the coaches. They must be on their ‘A-game’ to recruit this talent, then design and invest in their development.

It is always fascinating to draw some parallels between competitive sports/athletes and your job. What could you do if you and your team practiced that trayline 100 times to perfect each meal, dish, or tray like the linebacker who watches the film of the offensive line of his competitor before the big game? They watch for a shift of a finger as they are in their stance to know if the play will be a left or right shift. Do you see the movement of the ‘starter’, what is their unique move or cadence to starting that tray? What is that best practice technique? Can you identify what makes your ace starter efficient?

Take that to your team and start to train all on those nuances that make a great starter or whatever position in your operation.

Practice and training are just one element that you and your team need to up your game. Another game piece is the mental aspect of the job and tasks of any operation. The positive atmosphere of a team is very important. That is why there is a lot of emphasis on engagement and supporting your staff. What happens when you walk in the door each day and greet everyone with a smile and a sincere good morning vs. what happens if you duck into your office to answer emails and not engage your team? How does the team start their day, do they get more done or engage that customer or patient with your mental positive picture?

One area that sets the tone of the department or operation and is determined more so by the leader (or coach as we keep to our fall sports theme) is your motivation “intention”. Life is not orderly, and neither is our motivation (Kremer et al., 2019). We prioritize different motives depending on the time, situation, and our personal life choices. There are numerous studies that show that the contrast between intrinsic motivation (doing something for the sake of accomplishing a task) is more powerful at sustaining commitment than extrinsic motivation (for the sake of the ego or the rewards gained; Ryan & Deci, 2018).

As you lead your team, are you showing and demonstrating the actions that are making the operation better, showing a better technique to the staff, or breaking down obstacles in their way to achieve a better outcome? If those are your motivational ‘intentions’ the team will likely sense you are in this to help them win!
Check your team’s statistics one month into the fall sports season from today. How are you going to game plan for the rest of the season to get to the championship operation? Do you need some transfer portal players to augment your team, or do you need some practice tools to pave the way? Keep pushing the envelope and let’s see who is leading the pack in a few more weeks!

Have fun, Go TEAM!™

Happy Environmental Services Week! September 10-16, 2023

Posted on September 8th, 2023

This week, we celebrate Environmental Services (EVS) Week, a time to recognize the hard work and dedication of the EVS professionals who keep our workplaces clean, safe, and healthy.

At Ruck-Shockey and Associates Inc., we are proud to partner with EVS teams to provide our clients with the highest quality cleaning and disinfection services. We know that EVS is essential to the success of any business, and we are grateful for the hard work and dedication of our EVS partners.

The work of EVS professionals is essential to protecting the health and safety of patients, residents, employees, customers, and visitors. We are grateful for their hard work and dedication, and we celebrate them this week and every week.

Thank you to all EVS professionals for your hard work!

Every little bit helps to show EVS professionals how much their work is appreciated. So please join us in celebrating Environmental Services Week and thanking the EVS professionals who keep our workplaces clean and safe.


The Day in the Life of a Consultant

Posted on June 27th, 2023

The day in the life of a consultant can vary greatly depending on the type of consulting they do, the size of their firm, and the clients they work with. A consultant is one who gives professional advice or services.

When I first thought of myself as a consultant, I had a perception that I would come in walk around, tell everyone what to do and everyone would just listen to me and do what I say because I was the subject matter expert and was being compensated to be there and provide knowledge and expertise. I later discovered that as a consultant you have to use your knowledge and expertise as guidance and influence instead of direct control of the outcomes and people executing your vision.

During my first assignment as a consultant, I was part of a large team of very experienced and highly qualified leaders working on a large-scale transition. They all had different experiences and preferences on how to do things, and each had logic behind their methodology. I had to learn how to work with the team and create synergy, even when there were differences in approach in order to best serve the client.

So looking back I would have appreciated getting some advice or insights into consulting. This is what I would share with my earlier self and hopefully, you will get a sense of what consulting really entails.

Some common tasks that most consultants may do on any given day include:

In addition to these tasks, consultants may also travel to meet with clients, attend conferences, participate in public speaking engagements, and network with other professionals in their field. They may also be required to work long hours, especially during busy periods to meet deadlines and maintain flexibility.

If you are considering consultant services or becoming a consultant, consider contacting https://ruckshockey.com/.


How Effective Wheelchair Cleaning Can Reduce the Spread of Infection

Posted on June 5th, 2023

Wheelchairs are a common sight in many places including grocery stores, airports, cruise ships, hospitals, clinics, long-term care, other healthcare settings, and even at your home. They are used by patients, residents, and visitors who have mobility difficulties. While wheelchairs can provide a much-needed source of mobility, they can also be a breeding ground for bacteria and other pathogens.

When wheelchairs are not cleaned properly, they can spread infection from one individual to another. This is especially true in healthcare settings, and where patients are often immunocompromised.

There are several things that can be done to reduce the spread of infection from wheelchairs. These include:

According to the CDC, it is important to note that healthcare staff are trained to follow strict cleaning protocols to ensure that wheelchairs are properly cleaned and disinfected.

Do you have a wheelchair policy?

What are you doing to reduce the spread of infection from wheelchairs and protect people from harm?


How to Build a Culture of Workplace Excellence in the Hospitality Services Industry!

Posted on May 23rd, 2023

Satisfied and inspired employees in the hospitality services industry who are well compensated, properly trained, treated with respect, and are recognized and rewarded for their outstanding work are the heart of a successful organization. They will do everything possible to provide an exceptional service to their customers or the people they serve, on a consistent basis. They love what they do and are proud of it. It’s called the service excellence culture! The end-users may be patients in a hospital being served their meals or their rooms being cleaned, retail cafeteria customers, patrons in a restaurant or any other service industry customers. These highly motivated employees go above and beyond their duties and make the business or the facility run smoothly and efficiently. They are happy and engaged employees! Great leaders in the hospitality industry purposefully and diligently work to create such a culture of Workplace Excellence. This is their passion, mission, and they are fully committed to it.

There are seven most common leadership traits they inherently practice towards achieving this mutually beneficial culture of excellence! These leaders:

  1. Begin with a Leader’s Mindset.
  2. Put People First and Serve Their Needs.
  3. Share their Vision, Strategy, Plan and Purpose.
  4. Focus on Employee Satisfaction and Their Development.
  5. Create a culture of Fairness, Integrity, and Personal Growth.
  6. Build Great Teams and Make the Organization Better.
  7. Communicate Effectively.

1. Begin with a Leader’s Mindset

The leaders mindset is what guides them every day. Their every word and action are geared toward their people, passion, and purpose! They want to make a significant positive impact on their team and the organization. They carry a people-centered mindset and an intrinsic mission that guides them to be an admirable leader. Some of their everyday habits include being an active and empathetic listener, respectful to others and being a genuine and an authentic leader. These are just a few examples of their everyday motivational and model behaviors that inspire their people and bring much success to the organization.

2. Put People First and Serve Their Needs

Successful leaders know that the success of the organization comes from the hard work and dedication of their frontline employees. These employees are engaged firsthand in consistently providing an excellent service and fine products to their customers! Great leaders fully realize that the true motivation of these employees comes from the way they are treated, respected, valued, and rewarded for their hard work, dedication, and accomplishments! They put their people first in almost all situations! These leadership behaviors are what the employees respect and admire in their leader. It motivates them to be at their best for the patients, customers, the organization, and themselves.

3. Share Their Vision, Strategy, Plan and Purpose.

Successful leaders have a clear vision, defined strategy, thoughtful plan, and specific goals for the organization. They also have a greater ‘purpose’ in mind not just for the organization but also for the personal growth of the team members and the broader community in which they live and serve. They aspire to make a positive difference in other people’s lives. They empower others in pursuit of happiness and their inner fulfillment! They always want to make things happen for the organization and the team; and aim to make lives better for all!

4. Focus on Employee Satisfaction and Their Development.

Great leaders are intentionally focused on their employee’s satisfaction and their continuous growth and development. It takes a dedicated and committed leader who creates an employee-focused culture where both the end-users and the employees benefit tremendously. To achieve this admirable objective; their plan includes recruiting the best talent, elevating compensation, providing proper tools, and training, rewarding, and recognizing accomplishments and supporting employees’ growth and development opportunities. These leadership traits and behaviors help create an environment of highly satisfied employees and add to the culture of Workplace Excellence!

5. Create a culture of Fairness, Integrity, and Personal Growth.

In healthcare support services people not only serve other people, but they also provide comfort, care, and a safe environment. Whether they are serving patients with their meal, cleaning their room, transporting them from their hospital room to the lab and back, they are serving people. Similarly in the restaurant industry people serve other people. In all such instances there is a human interaction that often leaves a lasting impression on the patients or the other end-users. To excel at providing exceptional service, these employees must first experience fairness, respect, appreciation and feel valued by their leader and the organization. It takes a thoughtful, dedicated, engaged and supportive leader to build such a great Workplace Excellence culture.

6. Build Great Teams and Make the Organization Better.

Building great teams is hard, but very satisfying and rewarding work. It takes an experienced and thoughtful leader with enormous foresight to build a cohesive and talented team. It takes even more energy and planning to design everyone’s roles and responsibilities. Getting everyone to work together can sometimes be challenging. It takes all team members with different roles and responsibilities to perform cohesively and optimally to achieve the team’s mission and objectives. Successful leaders make sure that each team members’ strengths match the requirements of the role they play. Leaders also look for other admirable traits such as integrity, passion, supportive attitude, and effective communication skills.

7. Communicate Effectively.

One of the most noticeable and admired abilities that great leaders possess is that they communicate effectively. Whether in person speaking one-on-one, in a small group meeting, or making a presentation to a larger audience, they know how to get the message across in a simple and positive manner. They know exactly what to say, how to say it, and what the audience needs to retain. They believe it is their responsibility to articulate the message, convey it in a manner that engages the listener, and that the message is received as intended. Some leaders have this ability naturally, while others develop this important skill over time.


To build a culture of Workplace Excellence in the hospitality services industry, it takes a visionary, thoughtful, committed, and passionate leader with many inspirational and impeccable qualities. They communicate effectively and practice kindness, humility, inclusiveness, empathetic listening, and promote teamwork. Everyone on their team supports and respects each other. These leaders celebrate the team’s individual and organizational successes. They recognize and reward hard work and accomplishments of their people. They inspire their people and create more leaders along the way!

If you want to build your own culture of excellence, Mr. Shiekh has authored a book for hospitality leaders dedicated to this topic. Check out, If You Build It, They Will Excel.
Khalid Shiekh – Consultant Healthcare Support Services
May 1, 2023

Are You Always Looking for an Opportunity?

Posted on May 3rd, 2023

Opportunity is defined as A good chance for progress or advancement. Merriam-Webster

The word is positive in nature, and I subscribe to looking for opportunities vs. the antithesis of this which is misfortune or bad luck. Are you looking for opportunities within your organization daily or are you hiding from them?

2023 is shaping up to be the year of opportunities. Mostly coming from those leaders or bosses that are asking you to find:

Your job is to assess your opportunities to see what your most strategic area might be to focus on for your ‘best’ opportunity. Visually this is how it might look. The biggest box in the area would be the place to start. A few ideas on how to discover your best opportunity follow in this blog post.


Daily we help teams look at their operations with a fresh pair of eyes and recommend new programs, processes, or approaches to their operations. You can do the same thing! Take a walk outside of your own department or area. Look at how your staff, visitors, guests, or customers interact with the building and your services. What do you see as an ‘opportunity’?

We have all kinds of tools that help us find savings and revenue opportunities. One tool is the Ruck-Shockey Associates, Inc. 75 Causes of Food Cost. For those of you reading this article, click here to receive our top 10 ideas from our top 75! This will get you started in your search for savings opportunities. Likewise, we have the same document for those in the environmental services (EVS) work. So also, please click on that link and let us know which one you’d like to receive!

Staffing opportunities are the thing we are hearing about the most today. How to find and hire the best out there is the question most are asking. But, first have you looked at your staffing needs, hours of service, or positions to see if they all still fit what your operation is doing today? Then how do you find the right staff to fit the right position? Some of our clients have changed their advertising approach, moving away from those generic position postings that just say the title and ‘apply here’ to more of a fun and inviting call to action for applicants. What is your opportunity to send a new message that says come to our place we have a great thing going?!

We all want our departments and staff to shine on the service opportunity bucket. At each encounter is everyone making the most of their 10 or 30 seconds of interactions? Recently, one of our team had the opportunity to call several facility administrative offices. On the majority, the main phone number that we called and the person answering, could not direct us to the right person or number. And a lot of these facilities had the annoying self-answering recordings with 10 prompts to get to an extension. This is the first impression of your organization or department. How would you take this opportunity to create a better experience for your guests?

Go on a guest experience adventure in your own operations. What is your staff lacking to delight each visitor or guest? Also, we all know a great competitor in our area, go shopping or explore their operations, how was that experience compared to yours?

As we are all reading and seeing, technology is integrating more and more with hospitality. What are your opportunities to bring technology into your operation? Do you have the technology in place but have not fully implemented its capabilities? Many organizations just launch the basics and leave some of the more refined tools untouched. Is this your opportunity? And what are you doing to elevate services as you shift from some of the personal touches to technology solutions? Remember the more you use technology to interact with your guests the more the ‘humans’ that are still in your operation must make every encounter positive. That warm smile only a human can give vs. your AI, robots, Chatbot, electronic scanner, self-checkouts, etc. is still valued!

We hope this inspires you to find new opportunities and improves the operation for your staff, your guests, and others that interact with you. Share your most inspired opportunity with others and spread your innovations to capitalize on them!

Spring Cleaning in Healthcare & Senior Living Facilities: How to Prepare for the Busy Season

Posted on April 24th, 2023

Spring is a season of renewal and freshness. It’s also a season of increased activity and demand for healthcare services. As the weather gets warmer and people spend more time outdoors they are more likely to get injured or sick. This means that facilities need to be ready to handle more patients, visitors, residents, or cases.

One way to prepare for the busy season is to do spring cleaning in healthcare facilities or senior Living facilities. Spring cleaning or periodic cleaning in a healthcare environment involves disinfecting and sanitizing all areas and surfaces that may harbor harmful germs and pathogens that can cause infections and diseases. This may include wall washing, high dusting, changing curtains, stripping floors, detail cleaning, stretchers or wheelchairs, and pressure washing of concrete.

Here are some tips on how to do spring cleaning in healthcare facilities or senior living facilities effectively and efficiently.

  1. Follow the guidelines. before you start cleaning make sure you are familiar with the healthcare facilities or senior living facilities’ policies and procedures on infection control and waste management. Follow the instructions and recommendations from the authorities such as CDC, WHO, and state, or local government.
  2. Wear personal protective equipment. You’ll need some basic personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves masks goggles aprons etc. to protect yourself from exposure to blood body fluids chemicals etc. You may also need special equipment such as respirators depending on the level of risk involved.
  3. Use appropriate products. You’ll need some specific cleaning products and tools such as detergents disinfectants wipes sprays mops buckets or high dusters to clean different areas and surfaces of the healthcare facilities or senior living facilities. Make sure you use them correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions and label warnings.
  4. Clean from top to bottom. As you go through each area of the healthcare facilities or senior living facilities clean from top to bottom starting with ceilings walls windows etc. then moving on to furniture fixtures equipment etc. then finishing with floors carpets rugs etc. This way you avoid spreading dirt dust germs etc. from higher to lower levels.
  5. Clean from clean to dirty. As you clean each surface or item start with the cleanest part and then move on to the dirtiest part This way you avoid contaminating cleaner areas with dirtier ones. For example when cleaning a bed start with the headboard then move on to the mattress then the sheets then the pillows then the bed rails etc.
  6. Dispose of waste properly. After you have cleaned an area or item dispose of any waste materials such as used PPE paper towels trash bags etc. in designated containers or bags make sure you seal them tightly and label them clearly according to their contents following the healthcare facilities or senior Living facilities’ protocol on how to handle transport store dispose of different types of waste.

By doing spring cleaning the healthcare facilities or senior living facilities can benefit from:

– Improved efficiency: Spring cleaning can help reduce delays by removing defective items.

– Improved safety: Spring cleaning can help prevent infectious disease outbreaks by ensuring high levels of hygiene sanitation disinfection.

– Improved patient, or resident satisfaction: Spring cleaning can help enhance the experience comfort and trust of patients, residents, staff, and visitors by providing consistent quality feedback.

Spring cleaning is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing process that requires regular maintenance monitoring evaluation improvement It is also a multidisciplinary effort that requires collaboration and communication coordination among all stakeholders involved.

Spring cleaning is a task that can help prepare for the busy season. Are you ready for it?