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The Best Tray Delivery Carts for Every Size Medical Facility

Foodservice in hospitals and healthcare facilities is one of the most important but often overlooked aspects of patient care. It’s important because it so closely ties to patient wellbeing and the financial wellbeing of the facility, and it’s overlooked because… well, we’re not quite sure.

The reality is delivering food and nourishment from the kitchen to the patients is a critical component to the overall success of a healthcare foodservice operation and selecting the right tray delivery cart can make a huge difference.

Here are five important areas to consider when purchasing a meal delivery cart for your hospital.


The people served in hospitals are there for a reason. There’s no need to give them an illness caused by foodborne pathogens. Yes, when it comes to delivering meals from the kitchen to the bedside, safety comes first. Food should be held at proper temperatures, and when it is, there’s a high probability those foods will also retain their desired, nourishing qualities that are so important for patient recovery. So, yes, safety comes first, but the byproduct can also be wellness.


Similar to safety, when food is held in the ideal storage conditions as it moves from point A to point B, there’s a better chance those foods will retain their desired qualities. Why is this important? Patient satisfaction. And patient satisfaction ratings play a key role in the reimbursement rates a hospital receives. What’s one of the biggest contributors to high or low patient satisfaction ratings? The quality of the food. Well-made tray delivery carts will help foods maintain temperature, contributing to safety, wellness, and quality.


The key word in “tray delivery cart” is delivery. Moving a collection of meals from the kitchen to patient floors is the goal, and that requires maneuverability and mobility. How far away do meals travel? How narrow are the hallways or turns? Over what type of surfaces will carts roll? These are all important questions, and with a food delivery cart designed for handling and equipped with high-end casters, maneuverability will be made easier.


The flip side of the maneuverability coin is durability. Even for the best-handling food tray carts, there are still likely to be times when carts bang against walls, crash into closing doors, or roll across hard surfaces that will shake and rattle the cart’s construction down to the core. This is when design and craftsmanship become important in order to extend the life of the equipment.


Lastly, healthcare foodservice operators must consider volume. The right cart will most certainly vary from hospital to hospital based on the number of patients served, how long the runs from the kitchen to the bedside, and in some cases, even what is being served. Quantities are key, as having a tray delivery cart capacity that’s much lower than the volume served will result in additional trips and overstretched labor.

Find the tray delivery cart that’s right for your hospital foodservice program.

The team at Alluserv specialize in food delivery systems for hospitals and other types of healthcare facilities. Schedule a free healthcare foodservice equipment assessment with one of our experts today, and find the right tray delivery cart that meets your unique set of challenges.

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Save on Linen Costs with Modular Serving Lines

Flexibility is the key to improving your bottom line in foodservice, particularly as we emerge from the challenges of COVID-19. Finding ways to save money and make labor more impactful while providing an exceptional resident experience is the ultimate goal, and the equipment operators use when delivering can make all the difference.

In terms of savings, one of the easiest ways to save money while reducing workload is to eliminate the need for linens. Why are most buffet stations draped in linen? Well, generally it’s to hide the ugly tables underneath. When you’re draping them with fabric, even the ugliest, most beat-up and battered tables become serviceable.

Unfortunately, hiding those ugly tables comes at a significant cost. Not only do operators have the upfront expense for the linens, but keeping them clean comes at a cost from both a labor and a resource perspective. Spilled sauces and dropped food require professional cleaning in order to keep those linens looking pristine.

According to the Textile Rental Services Association of America, continuously rising energy costs have had a devastating effect on their highly energy-dependent businesses. Despite improvements in laundry equipment, they’ve been forced to pass those ever-increasing energy costs on to their customers. Linen service costs can easily add up to two percent of sales — and that’s a pretty significant dent in your bottom line.

The Added Benefit of Serving Station Modularity

A modular foodservice system that lets you add or remove components as needed can help keep things fresh and exciting for your customers. How about adding a flexible serving station that can go from custom omelets at brunch to decadent sundaes at night? Multiple uses from the same piece of equipment help you increase profits while indulging your residents’ desires for a constantly fresh experience.

Establishing a great, resident-friendly serving line is a complex process. You have to balance mobility, simplicity and speed of set-up, and ease of use (for both residents and staff). Add in the need for an attractive, inviting, and spotless appearance, and things get even more complicated.

Flexibility, Functionality, and Cost Savings?

Yes, you can have them all when you choose the right tables for your serving line. Why not switch from ugly tables covered by expensive linens to attractive tables that allow you to ditch that pricey linen service? If they’re highly mobile, can be configured to meet your needs, and can nest for storage, even better.

That’s just what you’ll get when you switch to Lakeside’s modular serving table system. This highly flexible and attractive system allows you to configure your serving line in a multitude of different ways. Even the most awkward serving area is no longer a problem with these tables. They’re 32″ deep and available in multiple widths that allow you to configure them to suit any space.

Available options include induction stovetops, sunken chilled bins, and even right-angle corner connectors to make for smooth transitions.

The 3″ swivel casters and interlocking design make set up a breeze, saving you labor costs. Clean-up is just as quick and easy with the powder-coated steel frames and stainless steel, laminate, or resin solid surface tops. Best of all? Their attractive, front-of-house design eliminates the need for those expensive linens!

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What are People Saying About the SuzyQ System?

For directors looking to improve quality of life and staff morale in a senior care or long-term care community, reconsidering foodservice can be a viable option.

For many reasons, the SuzyQ meal delivery system can help on these fronts, but sometimes it helps to understand why and to hear what others are saying.

Let's review some popular sentiment on the SuzyQ:

Residents love the SuzyQ.

In many cases, long-term residents are slowly being stripped of their ability to choose. On the flip side of that, SuzyQ can actually provide choice by allowing residents to be in charge of their own selections during mealtimes.

“Residents have choices at mealtimes, limited but at least it is a choice. They can specify how much they want, ask for a second helping, eat pudding every day if they want. Patient meal satisfaction has greatly improved and family members rarely express concerns relating to meal service in the dining room.”

Being able to choose individual items makes mealtimes more enjoyable instead of seeming more regimented. SuzyQ also provides the opportunity for resident-staff interactions, giving residents the ability to talk about food options and even make a new friend. Residents can get access to a variety of intriguing textures, flavors, and aromas at each meal. This creates excitement and can make mealtimes what they're supposed to be -- the most enjoyable parts of the day.

“Comments have included; 'treated special' and 'feel like royalty'. Review of the satisfaction survey results from residents and families indicated an increase of the satisfaction level of the quality of meals to 73%. Food complaints regarding meals on the three halls using the system are non-existent. ”

Staff love it, too.

One clear result of the SuzyQ is staff love it, as well, in large part because it increases the opportunity for interactions with residents. Hint: residents aren't the only ones who enjoy and benefit from this. When this type of service is facilitated, staff get to see residents as real people with unique likes and dislikes rather than an anonymous room number or dietary code.

“The foodservice staff have a relationship with the residents, enjoy the interaction, and experience greater job satisfaction.”

Many staff testimonials mention how much staff members enjoy the interaction with the residents and how it results in greater job satisfaction, but staff also love SuzyQ because it can help reduce waste. Recent patient satisfaction surveys indicate this type of delivery is well-received.

“'I enjoy the new food service method of receiving food' and 'I prefer the new food cart; I feel good about the reduction in waste' are two of the many favorable comments we’ve received. It has been a positive experience for the foodservice staff too; 'It has  given us an opportunity to interact with the residents at a more personable level. We have observed a significant reduction in food waste with our new SuzyQ cart. We are giving the residents only what they want for the meal, so we are seeing a lot less waste. We are pleased with the new meal delivery service and look forward to providing our residents with many more SuzyQ opportunities.'”

They save money and provide important ROI.

As we just mentioned, staff love SuzyQ because the meal delivery systems result in reduced food waste. It's depressing to send out carefully prepared food only to see a substantial portion of it return uneaten. Not only is this demoralizing for the kitchen staff, but the tremendous amount of food waste is also a drain on the dietary budget.

In their testimonies, quite a few kitchen managers described how much less food waste there is with the SuzyQ. Because residents can specify the amount of each food item they select, more of them actually finish their meals. Getting seniors to eat more is always a bonus!

“The food waste has drastically decreased at my site, as well, which means the residents are eating. There has been a noticeable increase in the amount residents are consuming because now they get to eat what they want to! At each meal we begin with a beverage cart, we set up everyone with placemats, cutlery, water and any additional drinks they would like.”

Is SuzyQ the right solution for your facility?

With significantly hotter food, 30-50% less food waste, fast and efficient staff teamwork, and an improved resident-focused dining experience, SuzyQ meal delivery systems are proving to be an operation-transforming piece of equipment, as you read above. But what about your facility?

To discover the potential ROI of a SuzyQ for your specific facility, we've put together a calculator to help you understand the full savings potential of these meal delivery systems.

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Reimagining “All You Can Eat” Post-COVID

The world is starting to open back up, and so, too, are our beloved restaurants and foodservice establishments.

We’re all grateful for this, especially knowing that while it may take some time, things should pretty much return to normal — eventually — in a post-COVID world. There is one type of operation, though, that still might look a little different.


Many consumers have stated they wouldn’t feel comfortable going back to such open settings that allow anyone and everyone to grab what they want whenever they want. The once-beloved tradition is simply not feasible in current times and may not make a true comeback for years to come. So, how are restaurants and hotels recreating the buffet experience?


While all-you-can-eat is often associated with buffets, it doesn’t have to be. Some restaurants have been using this model forever, most notably Korean BBQ service. K-BBQ has gained popularity with the rising trend of Korean cuisine, and this model offers all-you-can-eat servings that are personal to the individual table. Consumers will order from a specialized menu, paying a flat rate and the dishes will be delivered to their table rather than going to a buffet.

This has been shown to be successful in K-BBQ settings and many restaurants are using the method to transition their services. By offering an “endless supply” of selected dishes, customers are able to still get the all-you-can-eat experience without the fear of cross-contamination.

This style of service also requires moving foods from the kitchen to the tableside while preserving safety, freshness, temperature, and quality. With the right food delivery system, operators can not only serve amazing foods but also reduce the potential for food waste by rationing serving sizes.


No restaurant is escaping the transition of re-opening unscathed, and that’s part of why many businesses are relying on disposable items so heavily for to-go orders and delivery services. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly cost-efficient and adds an extra layer of labor to the daily list of tasks. One solution that vendors are finding success with for maintaining a somewhat buffet-style service is by mimicking cafeteria lines.

Consumers are encouraged to socially distance in lines, but they can experience an almost traditional buffet by moving through an assembly line. While in line, they can choose from pre-assembled plates from the menu or encounter staff-served options that don’t require any consumer engagement with serving utensils.

Serving lines and foodservice solutions are a critical component of this type of service. Units that are easy to configure, provide visibility, ease-of-use, and are easy to clean can help make operations more efficient and profitable.


In addition to utilizing Korean BBQ settings and Cafeteria line styles, buffet models can benefit from ordering directly from the table. This would include a tablet or mobile device that allows customers to quickly review the menu and place their orders. The virtual order is then sent directly to the kitchen to begin preparation and helps create a hybrid of ordering on the go while still enjoying the dine-in experience.

This solution may also assist in offsetting some labor costs, reducing the number of front-of-the-house staff needed on shift. Staff that are serving would focus more on seating customers and delivering orders rather than constantly taking orders and checking on tables.


There’s no single direct solution to getting back to normal, and the truth is that the current day foodservice is creating a new normal. With modern-day technology, adjusting to local mandates and re-imagining the industry’s day-to-day setup is constantly changing.

Our goal at Lakeside is to keep you informed as well as provide you with serving stations, portable serving carts, serving lines, countertops that bring you innovative solutions for a post-COVID experience. The all-you-can-eat buffet tradition might look a little different from now on, but you can still create that sense of enjoyable engagement for consumers dining with you.

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What to Expect in the Post-COVID Labor Crunch

After laying off a huge number of staff members, the foodservice industry is now struggling to find and hire labor.

In some ways, the shortage in staffing has created a sense of panic in regard to how the foodservice industry and restaurants will move forward. For smaller businesses, it can be difficult to compete with larger chains that are now offering monetary incentives to entice workers. The industry will move forward just like it’s always done, and here are a few important factors.


At the start of the pandemic, many cities mandated lockdowns that shut businesses down completely or dwindled services to curbside pick up and delivery. This had serious impacts on the workforce, with millions of workers being either laid off or furloughed during the heart of the pandemic.

For those who remained, there was certainly the added concern of COVID exposure, in addition to the higher demands foodservice jobs brought over the last year. With so many worried about getting sick and potentially spreading the virus to loved ones, that mentality has continued to some degree up until the present day. Tack on the presence of poor working conditions in some situations, government assistance, and numerous other factors, and the result is an industry now facing a labor crisis. Simply put, the causes cannot be simply put. It’s a complex situation with many facets.

In April of this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 266,000 jobs had been added throughout the economy. While many people have concerns about what to do as businesses re-open, the numbers show that the majority of industries are not experiencing a shortage in labor. It’s mostly targeted towards the leisure, hospitality, and foodservice sectors.


Due to the shortage of staff, many foodservice operations are unable to fully open back up and some have even begun to cut back hours to try and offset the frustration. Many employers are having trouble getting people to show up for actual interviews, and when smaller businesses are unable to offer monetary incentives, updating SOP’s and providing transparency can help.

People are looking for safe conditions that provide them with reassurance in the workplace. This means being fully open about what you’re doing to protect employees. Adding in additional cleaning and updating kitchen or in-house equipment with hand sanitizer stations and more have been key turn solutions to encouraging many workers to ease their way back in.


The labor shortage isn’t only impacting the operational process for restaurants. It’s leaving the few workers on shift exhausted from overtime and lack of help. Fortunately, digital solutions and technology are making waves in easing the pressure from staff and providing a sense of functionality. Mobile ordering and apps that allow consumers to place orders directly from their table are allowing employees to focus more on cleaning and serving rather than constantly seating or checking on guests. This has offered phenomenal assistance in allowing workers to do their jobs without becoming overworked.

Other options include portable serving carts or pick-up cabinets to assist in providing options for hungry consumers, effectively changing the points of service. This equipment ensures that multiple orders can be taken care of at once, and it provides security to the customers that placed the orders. With the help of durable and reliable equipment, many foodservice operations are gaining some structure again.

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How Robotics Can Change the Future of Foodservice

Until recently, few people took the prospect of foodservice via robot seriously, with its key value lying in its novelty. As needs changed over the last several years, though, with greater emphasis on streamlining process, reducing friction in delivery, and with the difficulties foodservice operators have had with staffing and labor, robotic kitchens have moved beyond The Jetsons.

Take the previous momentum and add the challenges caused by Covid, and the use of technology has been accelerated even more. Now more than ever, the foodservice industry is looking to technology, automation, and robotics to keep staff and guests safe, to make service more efficient, and to cut down on rising costs.

Are robot servers the future of foodservice? There are two interesting arguments:

1. The Effect Of The Coronavirus Pandemic

Because of the pandemic, some areas of the economy are going through an unexpected digital transformation. Data from Transparency Market Research shows that the robotics industry will see an annual growth of 17.64% per year between 2021 and 2024. The hospitality and foodservice sectors have to transition if businesses are to stay afloat.

In the service sector, particularly in the high-end luxury segment, businesses strive to provide customers with exactly what they want, whenever they want it. Because of the Covid-19 restrictions in place around the world, we are increasingly seeing various service robots rolled out, particularly in luxury hospitality environments including upmarket hotel chains like the Hilton Group, Four Seasons, and Marriott. The industry is now facing a shift in its customers’ preferences, where people want a socially distanced and impersonal type of service that only machines can provide.

The advantages of having robotic foodservice become apparent within “quarantine hotel” settings, as many countries require mandatory hotel quarantine for visitors. To avoid contagion amongst guests and hotel staff, it makes sense for robotic servers to replace human workers. Already, Japanese hotels have the technology implemented at several locations.

2. Robots Lower Business Staffing Costs

Paying food preparation and service staff is one of the biggest expenses that face any restaurant. With the need to raise wages for employees — both for regulatory reasons and because of the rising cost of living — many businesses are now exploring the possibility of replacing at least some of their staff with androids.

In fact, a former McDonald’s USA CEO already issued a warning that robots would eventually take over all food service jobs from humans. According to Ed Rensi, buying specialized robots is now a cheaper alternative to hiring multiple people on minimum wage to carry out repetitive tasks.

He says it is much cheaper to spend $35,000 on a robotic arm than to hire someone inefficient to bag French fries at a wage of $15 per hour. He adds, “[Foodservice] depends on people with low job skills which have to grow. If you cannot give your workers a reasonable wage, machines will have to do the work.”

Final Thoughts

Current events mean that a robotic server is no longer a gimmick. The pandemic has ensured that alternative ways to offer service without physical contact are at the forefront of people’s minds within the hospitality sector. It is possible that because of social distancing rules and rising staffing costs, automated foodservice will survive a post-Covid-19 world.

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3 Phrases to Remember in Senior Care Dining

3 Phrases to Remember in Senior Care Dining

Foodservice in a senior care community or nursing home can be a tricky balance. On one hand, you have to make sure meals are safe and nutritious for residents. On the other hand, you have to empower residents to make decisions on their own. In reality, these two things don’t have to be in opposition to one another.

According to the Pioneer Network’s New Dining Practice Standards, food and dining requirements are core components of quality of life and care in senior care communities. Let’s go through three important phrases from their findings and see why.

STATEMENT 1: Choice of food has a tremendous impact on quality of life.

In fact, some say it actually defines it. Food can provide many amazing benefits, and those positive attributes begin with choices. Ask a few simple questions. What does the resident want? For example, how did they do things before moving in, and how can those things be replicated within the community’s foodservice program? What to eat, when to eat, where to eat, and with whom are all important things to determine. Provide real choice, not token choices like the difference between hot and cold cereal.

STATEMENT 2: We do not assume that just because residents may not be able to make a choice in some parts of their lives, they cannot make choices related to dining.

When both residents and staff are well-educated on matters of choice, when staff are trained to look for the right things, and when residents have consistent relationships with staff members who can advocate for them, even residents with impaired decision-making capabilities, can experience choice as it relates to dining. Studies show that cognitive impairment does not impact choice-making, and people with mild to moderate cognitive impairment can still provide input on food choice and successfully and make many of those decisions.

STATEMENT 3: Mealtime dining studies provide evidence that enabling residents to choose what they want to eat at mealtime does not result in negative nutritional outcomes.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When residents have choice at mealtimes, it actually enhances the nutritional impact of meals. Even more important, it increases not just resident satisfaction, but also the satisfaction of staff, caregivers, and family members.


Lakeside is here to help improve your Senior Care Dining operations with various product solutions! The Suzy Q cart is the ideal solution for providing a person-centered dining environment for senior care communities!

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Challenges and Solutions for Senior Care Dining

There are several key challenges senior care foodservice directors face. Some of these challenges are day-to-day in their nature, while others are more macro, focusing on the bigger picture. Let's run through a few of these challenges and solutions.


Tight budgets are common. In fact, directors tend to have about 10 dollars to feed a resident three meals and two snacks per day. If you're in senior care or nursing home foodservice, you know it's important to master the skill of doing a lot with a little.


Whether you're transporting food from the kitchen to the dining room or even directly to a resident's bedside, maintaining proper food temperature is always a struggle in senior care foodservice.


We waste a lot of food. In fact, studies show as much as 50 percent of the world's food supply is wasted. In senior care foodservice, this is also an issue. From residents who throw away food they were served but didn't want to discarding the cold dishes mentioned above, food waste is the same as wasting money.


Meal times are some of the most enjoyable for senior care community residents. Staff should recognize this, and provide the type of service that makes residents happy.


When staff communicate with one another, it's easier to pinpoint potential issues in foodservice. Setting up a culture of sharing is a great way to combat this.


These last three are all related. A disjointed team that provides poor service will most often be a staff that sees high turnover. Likewise, high turnover can lead to a lack of teamwork and poor service. Everything staffing-related is interconnected.

Meal delivery can make all the difference.

There are essentially two common ways to provide meal service. The first is with trays. Trays are very institutionalized. We don't eat on a tray in our own homes, so using them in a senior care community seems a bit out-of-touch. Senior care residences are not intended for acute care, where trays are acceptable. Senior care residences are homes where people live.

The second mode is pre-plating. Similar to a restaurant, the plating is completed in the back-of-the-house with lists and tickets. Staff run plates back and forth from the kitchen and the dining room, making this what we call the "throw and go" method

The best way to deliver food is with mobile meal service.

Mobile meal delivery carts allow operators to bring fresh options and meal choice directly to the table or to a resident's room. This way is the future of senior care dining as more and more directors realize the benefits.

Mobile meal delivery can eliminate cold food and food waste by allowing residents to hand-select what they want for dinner. It promotes interaction with staff and builds a sense of connection and teamwork. And, they're certainly great for an operation's bottom line.


Lakeside is here to help you improve your senior care dining experience. The Suzy Q cart is the ideal solution for providing a person-centered dining environment for senior care communities!

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Foodservice Equipment and Supplies for Reopening

As the vaccination distribution begins to ramp up, you're looking towards reopening your restaurant or foodservice business. However, you want to do so safely, and you know that Americans will always look at safety differently in the wake of COVID-19. This makes it an ideal time to create a plan for additional safety along with a list of the equipment and supplies you're going to need to reopen with safety as your main focus.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Grab & Go Kiosks

Whether you're offering up hot or cold items, these grab-and-go kiosks keep cold items cold and hot food hot. There are several styles and sizes to choose from. You can select a kiosk that comes with shelves above the main heating and cooling section for items that don't need climate control, such as chips, pretzels, or fresh fruit. These shelves can also increase impulse purchases as the customer grabs a bag of chips to go with their cold soda or hot sandwich. You can even have your company name or logo printed on the side.

Mobile Food Carts

Similar to the grab-and-go kiosks, these mobile food carts make it easy for you to offer both hot and cold food offerings except they have wheels to move it where it'll attract the most customers. You can choose among a variety of laminate colors to complement your company logo. The mobile food carts can include custom graphics to use as an advertising source. The cabinets open easily to making cleaning or draining melted ice a snap. A shelf at the end of the cart is a great location for napkins, condiment packets, or plastic cutlery.

Condiment Dispensers

Buying individual packages of condiments is too expensive unless you're offering to-go only options. Condiment dispensers are easier to clean than leaving ketchup or mayonnaise jars out for customers to use. You can easily fill the condiment dispenser and get back to the work you need to do. With dispensers, you can provide more condiment choices and more available products, so you don't spend a lot of time restocking. Also, dispensers help with portion control. You need to create a system for keeping the parts touched by humans hand cleaned and frequently wipe them down with a sanitizer but it's easier and safer than individual bottles.

Clear Partitions

In order to protect both your customers and employees, you need clear partitions set up around your restaurant or food service area. You might put up a partition at the point of sale and in between tables and booths. Anything that you can do to keep different people from introducing their germs to others is a positive. When planning on installing clear partitions, you need to put a plan in place for cleaning and sanitizing them. This should become as second nature as wiping down the tables and seats between customers.

Hand Sanitizer and Disinfecting Wipe Stands

Americans have become very conscious of keeping their hands clean and their surfaces sanitized. By installing either a hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipe stand in your restaurant or foodservice operation, you can provide your customer base with extra peace of mind. Making these products readily available to your clients and customers helps to minimize the transfer of germs and other contagions. These stands are easy to set up and restock with supplies.

Alluserv is dedicated to partnering with restaurants and foodservice organizations as they reopen safely to the public. We offer a full line of products and equipment to help you keep your company cleaner and safer for your clients and staff.

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Six Essential Senior Care Mealtime Elements

No matter who we are or where we live, mealtimes are often some of the most enjoyable moments of the day. We get to spend time with friends and family. We can order or decide to cook things that will meet our cravings. And we can take a few moments to slow down and relax. For residents of senior or long-term care communities, meals can provide the exact same benefits.

“Mealtimes are a mainstay of life through which residents’ experiences are characterized, exemplified, and magnified,” one study found. To understand just how important meals can be, consider this. They play an integral role in the emotional and psychological connections residents feel with other residents. Meals can help residents manage competing interests with limited resources, and they can provide an element of familiarity and routine that is so important.

On an even more granular level, food and mealtimes can provide three critical components. First, they bring people together. Through what are traditionally communal dining spaces (an area that has been challenging during the Covid pandemic), opportunities are created for socialization that are critical to a person’s mental health.

Second, food provides a sense of control. In a senior care community, this can mean selecting a certain entrée off a menu or even choosing to double up on a helping of green beans instead of receiving a plate of mashed potatoes a particular diner might not even like. With a demographic that tends to lose control of many health-related issues, having control at the dinner table can enhance the importance of mealtime.

Finally, meals provide structure and routine. These points of the day can provide much-needed stabilization and familiarity. In some situations, due to deteriorating mental capacities, the structure meals provide can be critical to a resident’s well-being.

The 3 Principles for Successful Senior Care Dining

Now that we understand the importance of senior care foodservice, what does a successful operation look like? This is an important question, and no matter where you end up in the ensuing discussion, that conversation must always begin with the safety of the residents. First and foremost, successful senior care foodservice should be safe and nourishing, promoting the overall good health of those who eat the food.

According to the Pioneer Network, food and dining are the core components of quality of life in long-term care communities, and they can be defined in three important ways.

STATEMENT 1: Choice of food has a tremendous impact on quality of life.

In fact, some say it actually defines it. Food can provide many amazing benefits, and those positive attributes begin with choices. Ask a few simple questions. What does the resident want? For example, how did he or she do things before moving in, and how can those things be replicated within the community's foodservice program? What to eat, when to eat, where to eat, and with whom are all important things to determine.

STATEMENT 2: We do not assume that just because residents may not be able to make a choice in some parts of their lives, they cannot make choices related to dining.

When both residents and staff are well-educated on matters of choice, when staff is trained to look for the right things, and when residents have consistent relationships with staff members who can advocate for them, even residents with impaired decision-making capabilities can experience choice as it relates to dining. Studies show that cognitive impairment does not impact choice-making, and people with mild to moderate cognitive impairment can still provide input on food choices and successfully make many of those decisions. Let’s honor this.

STATEMENT 3: Mealtime dining studies provide evidence that enabling residents to choose what they want to eat at mealtime does not result in negative nutritional outcomes.

In fact, it's quite the opposite. When residents have a choice at mealtimes, it actually enhances the nutritional impact of meals. Even more important, it increases not just resident satisfaction, but also the satisfaction of staff, caregivers, and family members.

Partners in success: Lakeside can help promote the positive benefits of foodservice in senior care communities.

Lakeside foodservice believes in honoring residents' fundamental right to self-determination at mealtime. Bringing hot, safe, flexible meal choices to residents is our goal and we are here to help your community accomplish this with SuzyQ carts, hydration carts, action stations, and more.