Black Stallion Inn comes to grips with new fiscal reality

How would you like to pay $300 for supper? It may sound like an exorbitant price, but that’s the cost the Black Stallion Inn Dining Facility on Patch Barracks incurred every time it opened its doors for a supper meal.

“Based upon the low head count, it actually cost the facility over $350 to produce a supper meal for one individual,” said T. C. James, the chief of Supply and Services for U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Directorate of Logistics.

Because attendance during evening meals was extremely low and not cost effective, they were eliminated at the end of 2009 as part of a Lean Six Sigma project designed to eliminate inefficiencies and save almost $5 million through 2016, according to James. “After the study ended in 2010, we pledged to continue to look at areas that are not cost effective,” James said.

The study data indicated that weekend meals should be on the fiscal radar — with usage dropping off 80 percent and operational costs of meals more than doubling. For example, lunch during the week cost the garrison $4.87 per plate. On the weekend, that same plate cost a whopping $29.70.

Add to this an average of 40 customers per weekend meal — less than three of them uniformed personnel. “Of course, the mission of an Army DFAC is to feed the service member,” James said.

So as of Aug. 20, the DFAC will no longer be open on the weekends, James said.
The cut will save the garrison $200,000. “Once the numbers were presented to Col. Bird, the garrison commander, and to senior leadership at EUCOM, the decision was clear,” said Kathleen Cole, deputy to the USAG Stuttgart garrison commander.
“We are sorry that the Black Stallion will no longer be available on weekends. I know it was popular for brunch after church; however, we must be fiscally responsible,” she said.

With the Patch Food Court about to open at the end of this month, weekend diners on Patch will still have several options available. Burger King will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Subway and Taco Bell will be open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. And finally, Sehne bakery will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.