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Food Service Operations

Worldwide Chain of Military
Food Service Operations

The Military Food Service feeding operations are big business. Service Headquarters operate dining facilities, messes, galleys, food trucks and C-Stores worldwide in peacetime and wartime in all environments around the world. With annual sales of over ~$3 Billion annually, authorized patrons purchase items in these feeding operations based on the services operations using – BDFA, A-La-Carte pricing, or contracted meal rate. Each Services’ policy for dining patrons differ based on the location and service being provided; however, the meal card holder is their priority by law to be subsistence in military operated facilities. Ensuring the Service Member receives a healthy, nutritious meal is the ultimate goal for all of the operations providing value added service that meets the diner’s choices and meal type. Whether a sit-down meal or grab-n-go, all these options are offered to provide the right meal, at the right place and on time. Operating these feeding operations in an efficient and cost savings manner is critical in budget requirements that the Services must meet. The major operating expenses of the food service program are borne by the taxpayer. Thus, Military Food Service operations are referred to as an appropriated fund activity and its operations are governed, for the most part, by Title X of the United States Code.

As an appropriated fund activity, Military Food Service operations have limitations on the types of products they can purchase and merchandise, based on the Service Buying Guide, that provides specifications for meat, vegetables and other product lines. The majority of items are brand name products, depending on whether its front or back of the house offering. DLA-TS contracts with SPVs to provide the installation/Base with direct delivery of food products for the food service operations.
Helping Companies Sell, Promote, and Distribute

ALA provides members with a wealth of information directly related to selling, promoting and distributing your products to the military food service operations. ALA Members receive access to competitive intelligence and market data that includes:

  • Oversight of changes to policy and or processes for review of products
  • Viewing items to ensure they meet food service requirements – nutrition, product specifications, price and diner choices
  • Overseas operations (Outside Continental United States -OCONUS)
  • Point of contact information by Service
  • Services and ALA strategic plan
  • News releases
  • Policy or procedure changes.

**This information is only available to our members. To help members understand the types of information available, a user guide is available on line in the member’s portal.

Regional Events

Other benefits of membership include topic specific meetings focused on helping you expand your business with the military food service activities. In addition to regional meetings, we have two national meetings each year to update members. ***One meeting is focused exclusively on the Defense Commissary System and discusses their marketing and promotion strategies, operational plans, and exploring with members industry best business practices. The second meeting is held the beginning of the government’s new fiscal year and provides each of the retail commands (Commissary, Exchange, Veterans Canteen Services and Morale Welfare and Recreation) with an opportunity to connect with ALA Members to discuss their strategic initiatives and marketing plans for the new fiscal year.
These events are in addition to ALA’s Annual Convention, ALA’s Annual Congressional Caucus, as well as government and industry Round Tables to get you up-close and personal with the buyers and decision makers for each of the resale activities.

Are You Ready For Military Food Service?

Applying for membership to our Association can be completed by submitting your application using our online form or by contacting our Member Support Team at