Networking pays off

Discussions between members of two related organizations have led to a first-of-its-kind seminar.

On Sept. 15, members of two healthcare foodservice groups will get together for a one-day seminar that at least one person hopes will be the start of a beautiful relationship.

Jim McGrody, foodservice director at Rex Healthcare in Raleigh, N.C., and a member of the Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF), was the catalyst for the First Annual Carolina Healthcare Food Service Summit. The event, which is open to members of AHF and the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals (ANFP), will be held at a U.S. Foods location in suburban Charlotte. The event will include presentations and cooking demos on topics that are of interest to both groups, such as ways to reduce costs.

“I’ve been asked by ANFP to speak several times at local events and the national conference,” McGrody explained, “and I’ve gotten to know some of the members.”

One of those members is Carolyn Cooper, the foodservice director at Twin Lakes, a retirement community in Burlington, N.C. As McGrody related, the two directors sat down at a conference and talked about the differences and similarities between the two organizations.

“I thought that there is a lot of knowledge on both sides that we could share. For instance, I have two nursing homes I’m responsible for and I could probably learn a lot from [long-term care] members of ANFP.”

So McGrody went to U.S. Foods with the idea of staging a networking event. What came out of that meeting was a one-day meeting that would be free of charge to members of either group. The event is not being sponsored by either AHF or ANFP.

Because of space, the seminar will be limited to about 50 people—a number McGrody said has already been reached.

“I am amazed at how much interest there is in this,” he noted. He’s promised to share with us photos and a recap from the event.

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We started a panel discussion with our cooks and FSD to give residents a chance to tour our kitchen (during nonproduction hours), ask questions and share insight on how we can improve. The residents love the casual time with our staff. We have seen complaints and problems diminish greatly, and have found that most times the client is lonely and just wants someone to show them some time and attention.

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