Passion project

What I've learned about people in the industry.

In my two-plus years covering the non-commercial foodservice industry, I’ve learned a lot. But one of the great things I’ve learned is that the people who work in this field are, by and large, passionate people who love to share what they are doing to help others.

In my two-plus years covering the non-commercial foodservice industry, I’ve learned a lot. But one of the great things I’ve learned is that the people who work in this field are, by and large, passionate people who love to share what they are doing to help others.

Howard Rosenberg, executive director of food service at the 320-bed Sea Crest Health Care Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., is a great example of this. A couple of months ago, Howard invited me to tour his facility, which is one block away from the famed Coney Island Boardwalk.

I’m no stranger to nursing homes—my grandfather lived in one for seven years—but at Howard’s facility food is no longer an exercise in patience for both the residents and staff. At many nursing homes, my grandfather’s included, there are a handful of nurses who are trying to assist the entire dining room. After his stroke, my grandfather was one of the residents who needed help opening containers and cutting meat. When a family member was not there to assist, he had to wait for the nurses to make their way to his table to help him. Often, that meant that his food was cold and he no longer wanted to eat.

Howard saw this happening at his facility and made a change. In 2007, at his old location, Sans Souci Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Yonkers, N.Y., Howard implemented a new program called Independent Tray Service. The idea is simple: give residents packaging that they can open. All beverages are served in pre-portioned cups with a slot for a straw. Condiments are in pre-portioned soufflé cups. Bread is packaged in plastic bags with fold-over seals. When Howard moved to Sea Crest, he brought the program with him.

Howard says the change in mood in the dining room has been dramatic. He says residents can now enjoy their food without waiting for assistance. To demonstrate his point, Howard took me to meet a resident named Lee. Lee is 40 with cerebral palsy, which makes it virtually impossible for her to open up containers and packaging.

“Lee is very independent,” Howard says. “She won’t let the nurses help her with anything. You’ll see her in her wheelchair coming down the hall and she won’t let anyone push the wheelchair for her. But she couldn’t be independent at mealtimes and that bothered her.”

“It’s easier to do thing on my own,” Lee told me about the change since implementation of Independent Tray Service. “I don’t have to wait on the nurses to figure out that I need help.”

That story lights up Howard’s face. It’s not the first time he’s heard it, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time either. But you get the feeling watching Howard that it’s moments like these that are the reason he does what he does.

To learn more about the Independent Tray Service, watch a video here.

Keywords: 
menu development

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources