Business Insights

Managing Costs While Maintaining Dining Satisfaction

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The dining experience can set a healthcare business apart from the rest. But how can you provide a 5-Star dining experience on a fixed healthcare food budget where your Per Patient Per Day (PPD) cost dictates every order?

It’s easier than it seems, when you focus on these three key areas:

Patient & Resident Management

Who is ordering what? Is there a menu item that’s clearly a favorite among patients and residents? How much does it cost to create each recipe? Are there recipes that should be replaced?

Based on the answers to these questions, you’ll have a greater understanding of which menu items deserve more time and attention, and which are appropriate for ready-to-eat options.

While still maintaining food quality, ready-to-eat options can drastically reduce costs by freeing up staff from low-demand made-from-scratch recipes. For example, our line of ready-to-heat soups from Cobblestreet, are an ideal cost-savings option for healthcare facilities.

Menu Management

Patient and resident satisfaction dictates the menu, but you can dictate the costs with smart menu management!

It’s important to look for ingredients that work harder for your business, perfect as both a side dish and ingredient in larger meal, and cutting costs with bulk options. One such staple ingredient is applesauce.

Not only does applesauce provide powerful nutrients for patients and residents, it is a hot trend for healthy swaps in made-from-scratch recipes and especially popular as a substitute for sugar in sweet breads such as banana bread.

A great way to ensure your ingredients are working hard for you is to review the Top 20 items you order regularly (your Shamrock Foods Sales Rep can provide this list!). This will represent a large portion of your foodservice budget and knowing these 20 items will help you take a critical look at your menu options and identify even more ways to maximize each item.

Inventory Management

Lost inventory is the fastest way for PPD costs to get out of control, making inventory management critically important to the success of your business. With a couple simple strategies, you’ll be able to evaluate if your projected PPD cost is your actual PPD cost.

First, conduct inventory checks daily and make it known these are taking place. It will help deter items from disappearing and encourage staff accountability. It will also help you determine which items simply aren’t being used (e.g., spices, condiments).

Second, train your staff to keep all leftovers for at least a day. The only way to know if you’re ordering and preparing the proper amount of food is by evaluating leftovers. This evaluation will also reveal where/if some food items present the opportunity to be repurposed into a new meal (e.g., hamburger patties into a chili stew).

Feeling overwhelmed? Let the healthcare experts at Shamrock Foods help.

We offer Menu Wizard Healthcare – an easy way to manage your patients and residents with purchase tracking, inventory and menu costs. Available exclusively for our customers, Menu Wizard Healthcare is a powerful online tool that helps you focus on what matters most – the people you serve. To learn more, contact your Shamrock Foods Sales Representative today.

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