Preparation Steps

Capture the Vision!

  1. Successful facilities have invested time talking to Dietary and Support staff to explain this exciting concept, and to get all teams on board regarding how foodservice could be different and better! This step is very important. There might be some resistance, because for some people change is stress. However, by evaluating your current system with staff regarding resident choice, rigidity of the system, wastage and resident contact, it will be easier to convince people that change will be better for everyone.
  2. Meet with all departments, especially Nursing to share the vision. Form a multidisciplinary Food Committee to discuss ideas and concerns about the new system. Allow a safe open arena for staff to get comfortable with the concept, ask questions, and brainstorm together as a team.
  3. Physical layout, multiple dining areas, staffing and type of residents may be factors that should be examined at your facility. Evan at High Care level facilities, the SuzyQ Cart system works well because most residents are still able to communicate in some way (speech, nods of the head, facial expressions, etc.) as to what they want to be served.
  4. Do a Waste Audit of your current meal delivery system to determine actual wastage. Report results back to the Food Committee.
  5. Meet with the Resident-Council Committee to share the concept. Get ideas and feedback from residents as to how they would like to see food service and delivery improved.
  6. Set up an area in or close to the kitchen to store the SuzyQ cart(s) and install electrical outlet(s) to allow the carts to be plugged in for ½ hour prior to meal service. The voltage required is 208V. A licensed electrician should handle installation.
  7. Evaluate your “accessory” serving equipment. You may already have certain pieces. If not, many of these items are a one-time purchase and can be bought through your local Food Service equipment distributor. Assorted 4” and/or 6” deep serving containers work best to hold the food in the steam wells
    4” deep inserts for storage in the pull out drawers
    Attractive tea/coffee carafes
    Large (5 L) attractive crock pots and a tablecloth for the soup cart
    Attractive juice jugs
  8. With the Director of Care, change the present job duties to enable the staff to use the SuzyQ Cart System.
  9. Try one meal at a time to get staff and residents used to this new concept. One suggestion is to try breakfast first, and then add lunch and supper at a later date.
  10. Educate and role play with Dietary staff as to how they should verbalize the menu choices to residents. Allow time for residents to make their selection and quantity amount.
  11. Develop a Meal Serving Schedule so that all residents have a turn at being served first or last. The schedule is followed for cereal or soup, main meal and dessert. Beverages can be served at any table, throughout the meal service.
  12. The Food Service Department has to initially review production numbers on a very constant basis, as resident food choices may lean heavily towards one food item over another. As the system gets up and running, this review of production numbers will gradually ease. These reviews are an important step and may require patience by staff and residents, (especially if there is a shortage of one choice), until the production numbers are accurate. This continuous process needs to be monitored by the Food Service Manager other designated staff member.
  13. The use of quantity audit sheets is very helpful in reducing the occurrences of running short of food.
  14. Set up a schedule of regular meetings with residents and staff to discuss the changes and any challenges. Review feedback.
  15. Allow staff and residents three months to adjust to the new food delivery system.
  16. Complete Time & Waste Audits after implementing the SuzyQ cart system, so that comparisons can be made between the old and new systems, and success measured.
  17. Be prepared to hear staff say they don’t want to go back to the old system. Be prepared for higher resident satisfaction, a decrease in food wastage, hotter food, increased staff interaction, better utilization of leftovers, teamwork and cost savings.