By Dakota Woodlands Representative
Commercial restaurant kitchens have a new tool in the ongoing fight to stay efficient and control operational overheads. Launched this summer by St. Paul based Smart Care Equipment Solutions, the Smart Care Planned Maintenance Program includes a new smart service app, nationally customized protocols for all planned maintenance service appointments and an enhanced network of Smart Techs providing both local service and national support capabilities across the country.
“This is a major step forward towards really bringing commercial kitchen equipment service and maintenance into the 21st century,” says Bill Emory, CEO, Smart Care Equipment Solutions. “Over the past six months we’ve expanded our national network of technicians putting more highly trained people into both our customer and growth markets. Now we’re turning our attention to equipping those smart techs with what we believe is some of the most innovative and forward-thinking technology in our industry.”
Smart Care’s vision is to ensure that every commercial kitchen in America is ready to serve. On January 25, 2018, through the company's community relations initiative, the Employee Resource Group came knocking on the door of Dakota Woodlands (DW). Kathleen Dempsey, Smart Care's Production Analyst, who volunteered at DW when she was a high school student, said, “You do meaningful work in our local community, and we want to offer our support.” This was the beginning of a new partnership between Smart Care and DW. Dempsey, Joe Radermacher, Manager Financial Analysis, and Leslie Elenbass, Human Resources, were the representatives from Smart Care that broke the initial ground of finding how they could support the nonprofit organization.
“Dakota Woodlands, located in Eagan, Minnesota serves the homeless population in Dakota County. Our mission is a pathway to sustainable and independent housing for homeless women and families by providing a continuum of supportive services. There are approximately 100 homeless families that stay at the shelter each year," said Beth Bromen, Executive Director, Dakota Woodlands. DW offers each individual person-centered care, life building education skills, hot meals, clothing, and a safe place to stay. "This goes a long way in the hearts and minds of an individual experiencing great hardship," said Bromen.
DW has a unique setup that allows meals to be prepared and served daily on campus. “Serving nutritional meals at the shelter is an important part of the day for operations. It impacts bringing families together to share a hot meal and conversation. Operating a commercial kitchen is no small task. Some of the responsibilities include proper food storage using climate-controlled equipment and space, planning dietary menus, preparing and serving meals, food safety, sanitation, and caring for equipment that makes the operation possible,” said Nicole Bathgate, Operations Director, Dakota Woodlands.
Smart Care understands how important it is to ensure that kitchen equipment is running at optimal performance. Safety and equipment uptime are two essential elements that Smart Care embraces. They invest their time and expertise to ensure their customers’ investments are protected through preventative measures and first-time fixes. Dempsey, Radermacher and Elenbass suggested that DW could benefit from their company's equipment maintenance program.
On February 8, 2018, Dempsey and Radermacher were joined by District Manager, Marty Olson, and Service Manager, James Schaffer at DW’s facility to gain insight of the commercial kitchen equipment being used. At that time, DW learned firsthand of the expertise and the state of the art technology approach that Smart Care offers. Through Smart Care’s charitable giving, DW’s kitchen equipment is now on a semi-annual preventative maintenance schedule and serviced by knowledge and highly trained technicians.
On August 20, 2018, Bill Emory, CEO, and his team gave a warm welcome to Bromen and her team when visiting the St. Paul Smart Care headquarters. The two entities learned more about each other and how the partnership can grow. During the meeting Shelia Mason, Volunteer Coordinator for Dakota Woodlands expressed the need for volunteers to help with serving meals at the shelter, pick up food donations from community partnerships, and the shelter's back to school party. Smart Care employees jumped at the opportunity to offer their support. Olson stated, "Smart Care and DW are a good fit."
On August 23, 2018, Dempsey and team associates volunteered at DW’s back to school party. Christine Schmidt, Sr. Marketing Communication Specialist for Smart Care is working closely with Mason to schedule future dates for Smart Care employees to serve meals at the shelter and pickup weekly food donations. “It takes a community to serve the homeless. We are grateful for those that step-up to help those in need,” stated Bromen.
For more information about Smart Care Equipment Solutions, please visit their website https://smartcaresolutions.com
Dakota Woodlands Representative (Nicole Bathgate)