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2020 Year in Review: Healthcare Foodservice

Healthcare Foodservice 2020 Year in Review

Here are the highlights of our healthcare foodservice blogs from this year.

In the face of a global pandemic, we saw healthcare systems pushed to their limits. As we adapted to this new environment in 2020, we saw a change in how healthcare foodservice is handled, from delivery to sanitation to everything in between. Not only were these new solutions designed to keep patients safe, but healthcare staff safe as well.

Here are the highlights of what we saw transpire in healthcare foodservice this year:

Continue reading 2020 Year in Review: Healthcare Foodservice

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2020 Year in Review: Senior Care Foodservice

Here are the highlights of our senior care foodservice blogs from this year.

Senior care facilities were put on high alert early on during the Coronavirus pandemic. With residents at a higher risk than most, it has been vital for senior care staff to continue to deliver necessary foodservice safely. Meal delivery during COVID-19 has never been as important, and with the right tools, it was being done in a safe, effective manner. The changes we saw over the course of 2020 will no doubt impact how senior care foodservice is handled as we embark on the new year.

Here are the biggest takeaways of the significant changes we witnessed in senior care foodservice in 2020.

Continue reading 2020 Year in Review: Senior Care Foodservice

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How Healthcare Foodservice Leaders Are Responding in 2020

Pressure was placed on healthcare foodservice leaders to develop an unexpected pandemic response plan.

Many have prepared for emergencies like fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or mass shootings, but a pandemic was not on the list for the near future. Since being prepared is key to any good action plan, a lot of pressure was placed on healthcare foodservice leaders to develop an unexpected pandemic response plan. Nonetheless, they stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park with response plans created to anticipate the worst, respond immediately, and adapt to the inevitable changes to come. Circumstances differ from hospital to hospital due to location and outbreak, but food service leaders are working hard to keep providing food to patients and staff. Continue reading How Healthcare Foodservice Leaders Are Responding in 2020

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The Celebrity Appeal Behind Food Waste Reduction

Food waste reduction is popular for a variety of reasons. It fights hunger. It’s good for the environment. It’s appealing to younger consumers. And it’s profitable.

But there’s another type of popularity to consider when it comes to food waste reduction, and it involves celebrities and household names.

James Beard is arguably the most recognized name we associate with restaurants. The James Beard Foundation Awards are essentially the “Oscars of Food,” as every year, restaurants, chefs, journalists, writers, TV producers, bartenders, and sommeliers are given our country’s top honors. Now, they’re also educating us on how to make the most of our food.

With the release of Waste Not: How to Get the Most From Your Food, the James Beard Foundation provides some answers from several “scrap-savvy” chefs. Some of their tips?

  • Utilize roots as part of the dish. They can add a beautiful element, and depending on the type of vegetable, add a great bitter element.
  • Roast wilting vegetables like celery and carrots to bring them back to life.
  • Don’t peel vegetables. Instead of shedding the outer layer of a carrot or cucumber, wash it well, and use the brilliant colors. Citrus peels? Send them to the bar for use in cocktails.
  • Purée wilting herbs with olive oil before they turn black. Then freeze them for later use.
  • Freeze berries on a tray rather than together so they don’s stick to one another.
  • Use vegetable scraps, roots, tops, and greens to create vegetable stock.

These are just a few examples contained in James Beard’s book on food waste, but the Beard name isn’t the only one popping up in food waste reduction efforts. All across the country, famous chefs and culinary experts are joining the fray, as we look to reduce the amount of food we waste.

Wasted! The Story of Food Waste

A film from the late executive producer Anthony Bourdain, Wasted! The Story of Food Waste aims to change the way people buy, cook, recycle, and eat food. As seen through the eyes of some of the most famous chefs in the world, this documentary shows viewers how to make the most of our foods, transforming what most consider as scraps into incredible dishes.

Celebrity Chefs Across the Pond

In an article in Reuters, Chef Douglas McMaster described working in a previous job as a young cook, watching as hundreds of gem lettuces were thrown away as only the root was served… as a garnish. McMaster was the 2009 BBC Young Chef of the Year and now owns Britain’s first zero-waste restaurant.

“We like to think of zero waste as not having a bin,” McMaster said. “Every natural thing has a purpose, you just got to find out what that purpose is.”

Food Waste Pop-Ups

Chef Dan Barber was featured in the first season of Netflix’s critically-acclaimed series, Chef’s Table. Barber has been called a “philosopher chef,” and owns the prestigious Blue Hill restaurant in Westchester County, New York. He also owned a restaurant in Greenwich Village called Blue Hill, but changed it to a food waste pop-up called WastED, serving dishes from ingredients that would normally be headed for the trash.

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Did Someone Order Delivery? In-Room Service Gains Traction

In-Room Service Gains Traction Amongst Hospitals & Care Facilities Across The Country

The limitations and closures of gathering points in hospitals due to COVID-19 have impacted in-room service. However, special attention to in-room service was gaining traction well before the pandemic began. Doctors have always said food can be more than fuel for your body, and with the right nutrients, it can help in the healing process too. Some hospitals are using that concept, as well as patient experience, to change the stereotypes of hospital food for the better and improve patient satisfaction.  Let’s take a look at three healthcare facilities in particular that have started to take a more hospitality-inspired approach to in-room service.

UCLA HEALTH SYSTEM

Open 6:45 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., UCLA offers a restaurant ordering system where the kitchen cooks meals on-demand with menus updated to physician requested, plant-based meals with protein optional additions. Regularly scheduled tray service is still available to neuropsychiatry patients, which is why UCLA’s kitchen is separated into two sections to cater to both types of services.

Keeping in mind there is a 90-minute window between mealtimes, UCLA staff alternates between making and sending 25 trays to 1 unit in neuropsychiatric care and cooking and delivering room service tickets. This staggered approach has eliminated many challenges associated with offering both services.

Room service at UCLA is promised to arrive within 45 minutes but averages 28 minutes. What’s their secret? Food lifts.

Each floor has a dedicated cart with a timer for seven minutes. The cart is wheeled into the lift,  sent up to its designated floor, and the patient is immediately notified. To ensure quality, the cart enters into a pantry where hot and cold additions are added just before being taken to the patient, and the meal is delivered with food and drinks at the correct temperatures.

JOHNS HOPKINS HEALTH SYSTEM

John Hopkins offers Hotel-style, on-demand room service to their patients. They name this style of service the Johns Hopkins At Your Request program. Doctors realized there was a lot of food waste when they had patients ordering the day before, resulting in many being unavailable to receive their meals.

The John Hopkins At You Request program gives patients the flexibility to order their meals anytime between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and receive it within 60 minutes. To better accommodate nutritional diets prescribed to patients, John Hopkins also provides a nutritional department to help assist in meal decisions. Their diverse menu options are a significant factor in the success of the program.

The freedom to choose between traditional hospital foods like meatloaf and upscale items like salmon makes the patient feel satisfied with their meal experience, even when they don’t order the extravagant items. In fact, the majority stick with the traditional items, while the occasional upscale orders bring comfort to patients and family members who need it.

ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

St. Jude’s primary focus is on young patients and their families. Patients aren’t limited to in-hospital care, as many of their outpatients go through treatment at nearby housing sponsored by St. Jude and receive their customized meals there. They use a Combi Oven to deliver quality food within expectations of 30 – 45 minutes. As for their future plans for servie? They’re expected to upgrade their systems to TV-operated ordering services and explore newer cooking technologies. Nonetheless, their specialty is in the services they provide.

Considering the age of their patients, their happiness is a priority. The chef often greets patients with a hug and smile, with meals that are fully specialized to encourage the patient to eat and heal. So much so, that patients have even gone to the kitchen to teach the chefs how to make their food!

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Your Guide to Mobile Handwashing Stations

importance of hand washing

Handwashing on the go has become pivotal, We've created a guide for the best use cases and set-up for your operations.

We’re living in an era of increased importance when it comes to sanitation. According to the Center for Disease Control, we know the coronavirus and the subsequent COVID-19 disease it causes is spread mainly through people-to-people contact. This means people who are within six feet of one another are at risk of transmitting the virus. Because it’s transferred through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, it’s also critical that we wash our hands. Continue reading Your Guide to Mobile Handwashing Stations

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The Future of Healthcare Foodservice in the COVID Era

Hospital Cafiteria

Hospital and healthcare dining have been greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

To summarize the situation, the most profitable types of foodservice delivery have been limited, and higher patient censuses cannot make up for the difference.

Let’s take a closer look at the details.

In hospitals and in-patient healthcare facilities, the majority of the foodservice profits are made from staff dining and from visitors. When you factor in more and more staff members working from home and you eliminate the ability for many to visit patients because of the potential risks of the coronavirus, those central profit points are also eliminated.

These are certainly tough statistics, but the reality is healthcare operators are experiencing far less volatility than other types of foodservice operators. According to Datassential, only six percent of healthcare operators are completely closed during the pandemic.

What can we expect in the coming year for healthcare foodservice?

There are several changes that are here and will likely not change in the near future. With a focus on minimal contact, technology will play a key role in not just food ordering and delivery, but also in food production. Robotics will become more popular in a contact-less environment, as will sustainably packing for individually wrapped foods.

Along those same lines, buffets and self-serve options will become all but obsolete as we navigate COVID-19 conditions. As we’ve already seen this year, a complete rethinking of foodservice delivery methods will continue into 2021. With so much uncertainty, it will also be critical for foodservice directors to shore up their supply chains.

Here are some additional points to consider in late 2020 and early 2021 as it pertains to hospital foodservice operations.

HIGHER SPENDING ON DISPOSABLES

Current conditions have caused the cost of disposables to increase to a range of between $4,000 and $12,000 per month depending on the size of the community. This is caused across the entire spectrum of foodservice operation types. In restaurants, as full service dining starts to pick back up in many locations, some are considering a surcharge to cover the costs of disposables.

STAFFING COSTS ON THE RISE

In many cases, healthcare dining often translates to a self-serve environment. Today, operators are considering staffing options to eliminate the self-serve nature of these service types. More staff costs more money, of course. And so does all the time it takes to implement additional precautions to limit the spread of the virus.

THE GAMUT OF CHALLENGES

Foodservice directors in hospitals, in-patient healthcare facilities, and in long-term senior care communities are all facing some of the same challenges – maintaining safe distances in kitchens and dining facilities, increasing staff morale and safety, ensuring food safety along with quality, revenue, and more. The last thing these operations need are issues created by the equipment and supplies used to help solve these very challenges.

WHERE TO START

Interested in how to re-purpose some of your current equipment? Looking for efficient ways to handle meal delivery, sanitation, social distancing, and more? Than check out this inspiration guide for COVID-19 Solutions.

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Patients Eat With Their Eyes First

How a food looks tell the patient a lot about the food and the foodservice team accountability and experience. People use the way a food looks to judge the food for freshness and quality. When the food is visually appealing to a patient, you accomplish your mission of providing nourishment for the recovery and healing of your patients.

COLOR, SHAPE, SIZE AND POSITION OF FOOD MATTERS IN VISUAL APPEAL

COLOR: The most impactful eye appeal

  • Break up the colors
  • Enhance the colors
  • Make it “glisten”
  • Keep the colors natural

SHAPE: Ingredients

  • Vary the cuts of ingredients
  • Add textures to the dish

STYLE: Arranging ingredients, plating

  • Traditional – The Y style of plating
  • Modern plating
  • Simplicity

Aroma Strategies:

  • Include variety
  • Add flavor to comfort food
  • Herbs add color, taste and smell
  • Cooking techniques can enhance aroma and experience
  • Be aware of visual placement on the tray, temperature awareness, less is more, easy to handle and maneuver on tray space

For more on this topic, click here to watch Alluserv's last webinar!

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Milliseconds and Millimeters Matter

Ergonomics is an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely — also called biotechnology, human engineering, or human factors. Ergonomics affects all ages, all professions and all aspects of daily living.


Human Factors

Consider these conditions/requirements when evaluating equipment:

The goal is to monitor all work activities that permit the worker to adopt several different, but equally healthy and safe postures. Identify where muscular force has to be exerted, localize it to the largest appropriate muscle groups available. Where motion is performed, target the joints at about mid-point of their range of movement, particularly for the head, trunk, and upper limbs.


Lost or Found $$$

When making a decision to select equipment, one key objective is; get most done in the shortest amount of time in the most efficient manner. There are many nuances that may attribute to a lower price for a piece of equipment however, these attributes may in fact result in a higher Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Will this specific product increase or decrease:

  • Productivity
  • FTE's
  • Injuries/Call Offs
  • Errors/Mistakes
  • Cleaning Times
  • Maintenance

If any result in an increase, “Houston, we may have a problem.”


Time is money! Distance is time!

If the equipment happens to be “X” millimeters wider/longer/taller/shorter, and, this results in an increase or decrease by “Y” milliseconds to complete a task, what is that cost or gain to the operation?

Although a few mm or ms may appear insignificant initially, an increase, positive or negative, by example, reduce or add 400 milliseconds to complete a task (the time it takes to blink), repeated say, 1,000 times per meal period, that’s 400k milliseconds for the meal period, about 6.7 minutes. 6.7 minutes, no big deal, right? Then, multiply this by three meal periods and that’s 20 minutes per day. Still not a lot of time but you could get quite a bit done with 20 minutes of “found time” each day.

Let’s take this example a bit further. 20 minutes a day translates to 7,300 minutes per year, 122 hours. Over a seven year life-span for the piece of equipment, that totals 850 hours +/-. If the average wage is $15/hr, that’s $12,750. You can add or subtract this from your TCO to help make your decision.

Considering this one example, multiplied by each work station, for multiple tasks per station, and suddenly, you have good reason to look very closely into the ergonomic impact of every piece of equipment.

Use these findings to reduce FTE’s or repurpose work assignments. Either way, you have a “win.”


By The Way

Also, imagine if you could reduce one call-off per year per FTE due to reduction in back injuries, that’s another 56 hours added to your bottom line.

How about one less “call back tray or courtesy tray” per meal period? … that’s $15/day, $450/month, $5,475/year in direct cost savings.


Help

There are solutions, the Alexander Technique, a training program to help individuals to better understand how their bodies react to work/stress and how to avoid habits that negatively impact their well-being.

The right meal assembly set up can reduce minutes and increase time to get meals to patients. Modifiable equipment that works with your people. No one size fits all. Alluserv’s is ready to help! Modifiable tray starter stations, heights and widths for meal delivery carts, tray lines, etc...

http://www.alluserv.com/ContactUs/ContactUs.aspx

Browse our solutions.

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Parsley, Carrot Curls, Radish Flowers, Oh My!

A garnish is an item or substance used as a decoration or embellishment accompanying a prepared food dish or drink. In many cases, it may give added or contrasting flavor or texture. Some garnishes are selected mainly to augment the visual impact of the plate, while others are selected specifically for the flavor they may impart This is in contrast to a condiment, a prepared sauce added to another food item primarily for its flavor. A food item which is served with garnish may be described as being Garni, the French term for 'garnished.' Many garnishes in the past were not intended to be eaten but today is a different culinary playground.


I went to some of the foodservice culinarian leaders and asked them these questions:

  1. Can the food be the garnish?
  2. Or are traditional garnishes still mode of operation?
  3. What does a garnish do for the experience?

Here are their insights:

“In my opinion food should be the garnish in its own edible form. The old form of garnishes are out of trend. You might say, Elvis Parsley is no longer king or has left the restaurant! I prefer to see the plate like an artist palate. For example, a beet carpaccio with fanned out sliced beets with a dollop of goat cheese is eye catching and makes the food more appealing. Customers eat with their eyes and this is precisely why you see so many customers taking food selfies. The top restaurateurs understand "the art of food is from their palate to your palate."


“Food garnishes in their traditional forms are edible, however does a person dining actually eat a piece of parsley on a prepared dish? Not to say that they can’t but most don’t eat the garnish as it hasn’t been appealing or appetizing. If the garnish becomes part of the dish and is the right component of the dish it can enhance the flavor or texture profile when consumed with the dish. For example, I make a braised boneless beef short ribs sliders with garnish of caramelized onions. It can be actually the best dining experiences are when the garnish becomes part of the embellishment of a dish to enhance the customers palate.”


An herb’s blossom tastes like the herb itself. So, thyme blossoms are subtly thyme-flavored; arugula blossoms taste like arugula, with a hint of honeysuckle. In season, look for blossoming herbs at the farmers’ market — or in the vegetable garden. Notice how an ordinary bunch of rosemary or sage is flecked with delicate, perfumed flowers.

Of course, there are other beautiful edible flowers to consider, like calendula and nasturtium and borage and marigold, ready to sprinkle, like fairy dust, as a garnish, or to make your food even more colorful.


Today’s culinary playground is fierce as foodservice venues and chefs try to compete with each other for dining clients and loyalty.

Variety and purpose of garnishes are being reimagined. It needs to become an important component of sustainability as in the past, the garnish in a traditional sense was added as eye appeal then discarded by the customer and not consumed. Waste!! However, if a chef creates a garnish that can be consumed and enhances the customer dining experience, the garnish becomes that add flavor or texture that separates recipes from competitors’ recipes. See pictures slideshow of other ideas to incorporate into your flavor, taste and sight experience. Use your imagination and reach beyond. We eat with our eyes and if it looks and tastes better we can get better nutrition too!

Written by Marsha Diamond, MA, RDN