Patients at hospitals are there to recover from surgeries, injuries, and illnesses. Patients’ bodies need adequate nutrition to heal, but they’re not the only people who need to be fed while they’re at the hospital.
Hospitals must accommodate doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers as well as visitors, and everyone needs to have access to high-quality, nutritious, and delicious food. Contract food services offer an easy way to accomplish those goals.
What Are Contract Food Services?
A good hospital contract foodservice provides all or some of the food for the institution while working with its existing nutritionists to ensure that patients can follow their specialized diets and everyone will have plenty of healthy choices.
The alternative to a food service contract is to manage the entire operation in-house, which means that hospital administrators are responsible for vetting suppliers, keeping track of inventory, and placing orders.
The Benefits of Contracting Food Services
Managing cafeterias and patient nutrition strictly in-house can be a huge burden for already over-stressed hospital administrators. It requires balancing the importance of offering healthy meals against keeping costs low and providing everyone at the facility with diverse, delicious options. Working with contract food services makes these processes much easier. It can also:
- Cut costs for hospitals.
- Offer access to a greater wealth of data.
- Foster career growth.
- Make it easier to implement innovative technologies.
- Improve efficiency and patient experience.
Working with a company that focuses exclusively on the health services industry is usually the best option. These food service providers are always patient-focused, and they understand the importance of providing healthy food options.
It’s Not an Either-Or Proposition
If a hospital already has a dedicated food and nutrition services department, there’s no need to lay off workers and turn over exclusive control to a third-party company.
A healthcare-focused contract food service provider will be willing to work within the hospital’s existing culture to improve its food and nutrition services program.
Hospitals can keep what they like about the current model while simultaneously taking advantage of improvements in efficiency and the lower costs associated with contracting food services through a third-party provider.
Take Advantage of Transparent Pricing
Keeping track of cafeteria budgets can be an incredible hassle, as can negotiating with vendors. Contract food services can negotiate lower bulk prices with vendors, and a good food and nutrition partner will be happy to offer open-book accounting.
Administrators can stay up-to-date on what’s being spent and when without having to worry about managing every minor detail or taking on arduous negotiations.
It’s About the Patients
The primary focus of every hospital nutrition program should be providing patients with the meals they need and ensuring that everyone sticks to their specialized diet.
Of course, cafeterias also need to serve hospital workers and guests. It’s perfectly possible to offer a wide range of healthy meal options to everyone in the facility at low prices across the board, and keeping both staff and visitors well-fed can certainly help the patients, too.
Make the Switch
Hospitals that are ready to make the switch to working with a third-party food and nutrition partner should do some research first. Not all food services are created equal. Look for a partner that focuses on the healthcare industry and has a reputation for excellence in the field.