The distribution of dietary labor time was studied in two phases at a university hospital. The objectives in Phase 1 were: (1) to determine by work sampling, labor time and cost by position in twenty work functions of a hospital food service system and (2) to compare data from this study with data from a previous labor time study in the same hospital, utilizing the same Gred sampling methodology. In Phase 2 of this study utilizing the same Gred sampling the objective was (3) to determine v/hat effect the incorporation of a materials handling ingredient procedure had on the distribution of dietary labor time.

Work sampling methodology previously developed was adapted for this research to sample the labor time in each individual position during Phase 1. The methodology used input data of position observations, labor time, and pay rate to establish: the mean percentage distribution of time expended in twenty work function categories, mean minutes per function, and labor cost per function for each position. A computer program was written in Fortran to assist in processing the data.

A different work sampling methodology previously developed to analyze and evaluate food service systems as a whole was used in both Phases 1 and 2. This methodology, Gred sampling, was designed to make group observations randomly, and provided basic information regarding dietary productivity relationships, the percentage distribution of dietary labor time as a whole, and allowed comparison of the findings with data from a previous Gred study in the same hospital. Input data of work function observations, labor hours worked, and meals served for each day generated the output of mean percentage of total activities devoted to each work function, labor minutes expended per meal for each day, and the mean minutes per meal for the week.

The Phase 1 position sampling data Vi/ere analyzed in terms of labor time and costs, with consideration of rate versus utilization of skills. The data suggested that changes in the division of labor time, delegating functions requiring less skill to lower paid positions, and improving the quality of supervision might improve productivity. It was recommended that a materials handling ingredient procedure be implemented to eliminate the duplication of functions relating to transportation time, cleaning time, and to utilize equipment more efficiently.

Phase 2 of the study was conducted after operational changes were made including: implementing a materials handling ingredient procedure, realignment of job descriptions, and training dietary technicians as production supervisors for all scheduled work hours.

Findings did not show a significant effect on the percentage distribution of time, but mean minutes per meal (productivity index) was significantly changed in Phase 2 to 9.73 minutes compared with 13.67 minutes in Phase 1. The decrease of 3.94 mean minutes per meal occurred in the major category of direct work, primarily in the functions of prepreparation, service, empty transportation, and cleaning. Four full-time equivalents in the cook and baker areas have been eliminated from the staffing pattern through attrition since the Phase 1 Gred sampling study.

The findings suggest that the incorporation of a materials handling ingredient procedure with appropriate methods improvement and training could influence total time and result in more effective utilization of skills.

This study has made a contribution to food systems management by indicating how position sampling can be used to analyze labor time and point out changes to improve effectiveness. The quantitative data provided by this study can be used, with additional data, to establish normal dietary labor time and workload distributions for food systems.


Food Science


Graduate School

First Advisor

Kathleen K. Zolber

Second Advisor

Lydia M. Sonnenberg

Third Advisor

Peter G. Strutz

Fourth Advisor

Paul Y. Yahiku

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Dietary Services; Work Simplification; Economics, Hospital; Food Service, Hospital



Page Count

vii; 112

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives