Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

AUG 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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Page 27 of 104

AUGUST 2017 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 25 A cloud of uncer- tainty blankets the healthcare landscape as Congress determines how — or whether — to revise the Affordable Care Act. Regardless of the outcome, hospital and long-term care executives must anticipate possible worst-case financial scenarios that could come about as a result of further healthcare system consolida- tions, Medicaid reimburse- ment reductions, and higher operating costs for staff and supplies. Executives' responses include reducing operating expenses while driving initiatives to contin- ually improve patient safety, quality of care and satis- faction. In areas with low unemployment rates, finding ways to recruit and retain employees also tops the lists of challenges. Healthcare executives call on foodservice direc- tors and their teams to find solutions to these challenges. Foodservice teams may have thought they had reached as deep as they could into their creativity to find solutions to similar challenges in the past. But in this current environment, they face more pressure than ever to reassess — again and again — every aspect of their operational strategies to respond to their administrators' requests. "Foodservice operators must be very astute and flexible to assess moment to moment what's needed and appropriate in their environ- ments," says Paul Hysen, principal for the Hysen Group, a Northville, Mich.- based foodservice consulting firm. "They also must be ready to take immediate ac- tion to make changes." Strategies directors apply to meet the admin- istration's mandates reach far into all facets of their department, which often include patient services, retail operations and labor management. Regardless of the changes made, "focus- ing on customer service and being able to assess its effec- tiveness continues to be the driving force in health care foodservice," says Georgie Shockey, president, Ruck- Shockey Associates, Inc., The Woodlands, Texas. "A successful approach to continuously improving customer service is through customization," adds Scott T. Reitano, principal, Reitano Design Group in Indianapolis. "Customization is necessary for all facets of a foodservice department from patient and retail meal programs, catering, labor management, and well- ness and sustainable initiatives. Many directors are bringing in chefs who work closely with dietitians to provide this customization and upgrade the menu quality for all operations." While foodservice teams work to customize ser- vices that work best in their environments, whatever is done to satisfy external and internal (i.e., employees) customers must also be cost-effective. BALANCING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND THE BOTTOM LINE MEANS OPERATORS WALK A TIGHTROPE AS THEY APPLY A CORNUCOPIA OF INGENIOUS SOLUTIONS TO PERSISTENT CHALLENGES. By Donna Boss

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