The 130,000-square-foot facility is operated by Norris Food Services in compliance with Department of Homeland Security and Department of Agriculture food standards. More than 250 Long Islanders are employed at the integrated distribution center and commissary kitchen, where daily activities include the creation of a wide variety of fresh foods delivered each day to local 7-Eleven stores.
"The building of the new Commissary and CDC demonstrates 7-Eleven's approach to providing a broad selection of fresh, high-quality foods in an environment that will conserve energy, water usage and utility costs," says Joe DePinto, 7-Eleven president and CEO.
Food-processing areas were constructed with thick polymer concrete toppings and contain anti-microbial agents that won't crack or shear off on the floor. Light fixtures can be changed from outside the room to reduce breakage and eliminate potential room contamination.
Because the site did not have access to a municipal sanitary sewer system, 7-Eleven invested in a gas-energy mixing system to treat the water before discharging it.
"7-Eleven and Norris Food Services began planning this new complex two years ago with an agreement to build an environmentally sensitive and secure plant," says Dennis Phelps, vice president of fresh foods at 7-Eleven. "We are able to meet customers' fresh-food quality needs and minimize the local environmental impact."
Despite the economic downturn, the opening of Long Island's new fresh foods and logistics center provides hundreds of new jobs to area residents. "7-Eleven and Norris Food Services choosing to build this high-tech, 'green' facility in our area is very important to our community because the business brings employment opportunities within a facility that embraces and showcases sustainability," says Phil Nolan, Supervisor, Town of Islip.
"We are proud that National Grid's economic development gas rate incentives and gas efficiency rebates contributed to Norris Food Services' decision to expand their operations on Long Island. They are the recipient of the first National Grid economic development incentive check," says Joe Rende, Vice President of Energy Solutions.
Sandwiches, salads, entrees, and other fresh foods are prepared in the commissary's 72,000-square-foot kitchen that adheres to quality standards that meet or surpass USDA regulations. An on-site USDA office and visiting inspector ensure safe food-handling practices, and all must follow Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point procedures established collaboratively by the quality assurance departments of 7-Eleven, the commissary kitchen, bakery and other third-party suppliers supporting and working with the food preparation and delivery company.
HOW IT WORKS
Through sophisticated inventory and computerized ordering systems, 7-Eleven store operators place their orders by 10 a.m. each day for deliveries that begin the very same day. The computer system quickly consolidates these orders and transmits them to the CDCs, commissaries and bakeries that support 7-Eleven stores across the U.S.
Upon receipt of the stores' orders, 7-Eleven sandwiches, salads, and baked goods are prepared fresh that same day, adhering to 7-Eleven's proprietary recipes and strict specifications. Fresh food products are immediately stamped with the time and date after they are made. Other perishable and time-sensitive products are delivered throughout the day, to be sorted for that night's delivery. Trucks are then dispatched to deliver each store's merchandise between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. the next day.
To ensure quality, the CDC facility follows strict product-handling and temperature standards. Products brought to the CDC are continually maintained at prescribed temperatures throughout food preparation, sorting and transportation cycles. The CDC also ensures the highest food quality by shipping from temperature-controlled docks. Delivery vehicles are equipped to control two temperature zones -- operating both a refrigerated compartment maintained at 38° F and a dry compartment held at 70° F -- assuring food safety, regardless of the season.
7-Eleven instituted the daily delivery of fresh foods, bakery items, and other perishable products to its nationwide network of stores in 1994. Today, more than 5,600 7-Eleven stores across the U.S. and Canada now offer customers fresh and safe products through this intricate preparation and distribution system.