The state of healthcare foodservice: A community of care

Leveraging their networks of suppliers and local partners has been key for many operators as supply chain challenges persist.
illustration by Nico Heins

For 14% of respondents to FSD’s 2022 healthcare survey, procurement issues are the top challenge that they anticipate facing this year.

At Cedarbrook Senior Living in Plymouth, Mich., good communication with suppliers and planning ahead has helped the team navigate supply chain disruptions, and Executive Chef Steven Szilvagyi recommends other healthcare operators follow suit.

“Work with your suppliers to get market reports to see what items are plentiful and which items are in short supply,” he says. “Anticipation of a new crop, harvest, or even weather helps us to plan our menus for the coming weeks.”

At Dogwood Trails Manor in Woodville, Texas, Administrator James Teel says that they go beyond the immediate team and try to brainstorm and communicate with the entire facility when faced with procurement challenges. “[This] opens added options of where and when you can look for supplies needed,” he says.

Molly Kitamura, director of food and nutrition at St. Rose Hospital in Hayward, Calif., suggests that operators have a back-up plan and let diners know about any potential menu changes.  

“Have back-up recipes and work with what is in stock,” she says. “Let cafeteria customers know ahead of time that menu items are subject to change due to availability.”

Utilizing partners in the community has been a lifeline for some operators, such as the team at Brethren Village in Lititz, Pa.

“Without our local partners, we would have severe shortages,” says Executive Chef James Carr.

More than a fourth (26%) of survey respondents say they’ve teamed up with local farmers and suppliers for procurement help, including the foodservice team at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis.

“Local is a much more reliable option at this point," Director of Culinary and Executive Chef Dugan Wetzel says. “The money you were saving previously by going with a larger supplier, you are now having to pay in transportation cost.”

Return to the full 2022 State of Healthcare Foodservice report.



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