Facilities Innovate with Purchasing, Plates

Long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania and Connecticut are controlling costs in different ways: one by standardizing purchases and another using bright-colored plates to increase patient/resident consumption and reduce food waste.



Diakon, a Lutheran social services ministry with a network of 18 senior living facilities based in Topton, PA, is seeking a 10% reduction in f/s costs by standardizing purchasing and staffing functions—which will be carried out by its new foodservice contractor, Cura Hospitality.



Diakon's contract with Cura runs for five years, and covers production and service of some 70,000-plus meals weekly among 40 dining rooms. The network includes 16 assisted- and skilled-living facilities plus two continuing care facilities in Pennsylvania and Maryland.



Cura gets to work: Cura will leverage Diakon's purchasing volume for better pricing with a new accounting system. Called CuraWorks, the system specifies product for optimal use, including those products Cura purchases direct from manufacturers.



An eight-person menu development team created a core menu for Diakon incorporating regional favorites. Team members consist of Cura culinary staff and unit operators.



The staff scheduling model creates workflows for every position, and states exactly what each employee does while on the job. "We were very non-standardized" prior to the Cura contract, says Mark Pile, ceo of Diakon.



"We wanted to capture savings yet enhance quality. By standardizing staffing and leveraging food buying, the savings are in the millions."



Wasting away: Waste has decreased at the Alzheimer's Resource Center in Plattsville, CT, since fsd Peter Riccio began serving food on brightly colored plates.



"These residents lead a very structured existence so serving food on different colored plates increases their sensory involvement," he says. "Some of them don't even remember to eat and some don't remember to stop."



Colorful dining: "Research has shown that the ability to distinguish light colors decreases with age, so a white plate on a white tablecloth was hard for residents to see. These plates are brighter, cheerier and less mundane and we've even noticed some weight gain."



Riccio is using Fiesta china in a variety of colors, except white and black "because black is depressing and not appropriate. And we try not to lose food in the color of the plate; scrambled eggs would disappear on a yellow plate so we garnish well."

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at an Arkansas high school may have to take creative measures to get a meal, thanks to a school policy that prevents parents from dropping off lunches left at home.

The Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Ark., last week posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that reads, “Stop. If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please turn around and exit the building. Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.”

While social media opinions on the school’s rule were mixed, some commenters expressed concern that...

Industry News & Opinion

Novato Unified School District in Novato, Calif., has created a new vegetarian grab-and-go item as part of the district’s Meatless Monday initiative, marinij.com reports .

The Fiesta Rice and Bean Shaker, which is served in disposable cups, contains rice, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, corn tortilla chips and romaine lettuce topped with an optional salsa and ranch dressing. It’s also customizable, as students are able to select which ingredients they’d like to include.

The vegetarian shaker is made using produce from a nearby organic garden. Sofie Garcia, an employee in...

FSD Resources