The recent ANFP regional conference in Anaheim provided a substantial amount of valuable information to the hundreds of healthcare foodservice professionals in attendance. The educational sessions were presented by some of the top industry leaders who focused on vital topics of interest such as leadership, menu development, patient and resident experience. We had the opportunity to attend this event and came away with 5 key takeaways that can help any foodservice operator.
- Promote Your Department
In “The Power of Story-Telling,” Bionca Lindsay, CEO and Founder of “Be Caught Living” emphasized on the importance of promoting your department to the entire organization and those outside.
Why it is so important for others to know what you do?
Because what you do is rarely recognized but plays a vital role in the patient and resident satisfaction. As a foodservice leader, you can bring interest and shine light on your department by effectively communicating your goals and achievements with stakeholders.
- Improving the Dining Experience
When we refer to a dining experience, we often reflect back to a past memory that involved more than just the taste of what we ate. The session “A Sense of Appeal: Targeting the 5 Senses” focused on how each of the five senses work together to create an experience. The taste, texture and visual of the food, the cleanliness and lighting of the dining area, and the background noise all matter in creating a pleasant dining experience and the strongest link to memory is smell.
“To improve the dining experience among patients and residents, healthcare foodservice chefs need to consider all five senses,” said Rocky Dunnam, Executive Chef, Bivins Foundations, TX. “If you can’t hire a chef, you can improve yourself, be more passionate and make subtle changes to bring change.” Rocky added.
- Maximize Your Negotiation and Marketing Skills
Most of the time it is easier to stick to an existing plan or habit than to look for a way to improve it. During the “Under-Utelized Skills: Maximizing Value Through Negotiation & Marketing” session, the emphasis was on leveraging your position by learning how to negotiate to improve your bottom line. “You need to revisit costs every now and then, and negotiate with vendors to make sure you get the best deal,” said Victoria Gardner, Regional VP, Multi-Unit Healthcare/Hospitality Sales at Sysco Corporation. Negotiating is to build relationships, Gardner added.
When it comes to marketing, communication is key. Whether it is communicating valuable information to your internal department, customers, partners and community about recent improvements or communicating special offers to customers, partners and the community to build relationships or provide nutritional tips and programs that would benefit them.
- Empower Your Employees
In the session “Valuable Diversity: Creating an Environment of Intention & Contribution,” leadership tips to create an encouraging team included:
- Giving them the opportunity to express the areas they want to improve and help them achieve those goals.
- Having routine team building exercises and surveys about the department health.
- Allowing one-and-one meetings for private conversations to build trust.
- Having department meetings and discuss achievement and areas that need improvement.
“As a leader you have to recognize each employee’s strength and weaknesses and help them thrive,” said Mary Hanna Schupp BA, CMM, CFPP. Most importantly show appreciation and ask your employees how you can serve them better as a leader, emphasized Mary.
- Elevate Your Menu
“Elevating Your Menu: Blending Culture, Trends and Nutrition” focused on the future of meal styles. Moving away from the institutional dining model with bland foods is absolute. Today’s long-term care residents want home style foods that resemble what they were served at home before they ended up in a facility. This means taking all your residents’ eating habits and culture in consideration when creating a menu. It’s important to consider cultural diversity and incorporate some of the ethnic tastes and ingredients. “I think we can make a menu culturally diverse and still maintain the base,” said Rocky Dunnam, Executive Chef, Bivins Foundations, TX. In addition, seasonal menus should also come into play for foodservice operators. Adding seasonal vegetables and fruits to your menu provides a fresh new taste and experience for the guests, added Rocky.
For a list of upcoming ANFP events, click here.