Technology & Equipment

The state of healthcare foodservice: Finding a way forward

Technology is helping teams alleviate staffing shortages and meet sustainability goals.
illustration by Nico Heins

As healthcare operators make their way out of the pandemic, many are using technology and to keep up staffing and sustainability.

Nearly one-fourth (22%) of respondents to FSD’s 2022 healthcare survey say that automation and technology is the biggest trend in healthcare dining right now, and 9% say they’re using it to help them with their labor shortage issues.

At Brethren Village, a senior-living community managed by Sodexo in Lititz, Pa., the dining team is experimenting with robot servers. Other senior-living operators, such as Wesley Enhanced Living Maine Line in Media, Pa., have started using robots to act as bussers between the dining room and kitchens.

We need people who really just can rely on hourly wage versus hourly plus tips,” Dining General Manager Shawn Fontaine told FSD earlier this year, explaining why the team purchased the robots. We saw that our labor pool was going down a little bit in that area, so we had to figure out a way to compensate for some positions that we knew we needed.”

Automation and technology are also being used to help operators incorporate sustainability initiatives.

At The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., the foodservice team is using Leanpath to track waste, and at Cedarbrook Senior Living in Plymouth, Mich., iPads help manage recipes and menus in the kitchen to reduce the amount of paper the cooks have to print out. The team also looking at introducing reusable compartment containers to reduce its use of disposables.

Return to the full 2022 State of Healthcare Foodservice report.

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