EVALUATION OF YOUR CURRENT FOOD DELIVERY SYSTEM
Does your facility experience any of these challenges?
- Shrinking Food Budgets
- Long individual food preference lists in the kitchen
- Difficulty tracking and updating resident “likes/dislikes” lists
- Rigidity with meal service
- Discontented residents regarding limited choice
- Poor teamwork between departments
- Limited “Resident and Food Service Staff” contact
- Mediocre “customer service” to the residents during the delivery of food (limited eye contact, conversation, etc)
- Complaints of cold food from the residents
- High levels of dining room noise which eliminates a relaxed eating atmosphere
If you checked any of the above challenges, then your facility is not alone. Most Residential Care facilities use a system of food delivery that has not changed for decades. This system is normally a pre-plated, non-selective one. Food Service staff plate the meal in the kitchen, and Care staff deliver the plated food to the resident’s table.
Unfortunately, under this old system, every resident receives the same meal and quantity, unless listed on the resident’s “comment list”. This list has to be read by the Food Service staff who may be under time constraints, short staffed due to illness, or where new staff slow the process down due to unfamiliarity with “The List”.
If a resident doesn’t like the plate of food received, they may complain to the rest of the people at the table, thereby creating a negative atmosphere. Alternatively, the resident may tell staff to send the plated food back to the kitchen and get another one. Either way, there is a strong sense of frustration felt by all concerned – the resident, the care staff and the food service staff regarding negativity that always surrounds a “complaint”. Furthermore, the “Likes/Dislikes” list has to be changed by the Manager at some point, which is also time consuming
There are also other major problems with a centralized meal service system including high wastage, rigidity, limited resident contact, poor teamwork, high levels of dining room noise, and a feeling by resident’s that they are just a number and not an individual.