There is hidden waste in every aged care residential facility. 5 examples include:
1. Production, tray and plate waste. By completing a one-week survey recording the amount of waste of every serving tray and every plate at every meal plus pantry and production waste, one facility went from ordering 2 extra meals to ordering 10 less. This equated to $43,800 per annum, with no impact on quality outcomes for the residents.
2. Murdering the meal. Long hot holding durations along the meal delivery process can result in deterioration in taste, visual appeal and nutrition. Likewise with excessive heat when regenerating or hot holding the meal. Eg one facility regenerated cooked peas for 1 hour alongside lasagne, a very dense dish. The lasagne logged temperature showed 93° at end of serving, and food safety requirement was 65°. Can you imagine the state of the peas?
3. Off-menu options “just in case”. A facility made 5 extra loaves of sandwiches and 3 spare salads every lunchtime in addition to off-menu requests. Labour and food waste was conservatively calculated at $12,550 per annum.
4. Serving the same item noted on the dietary profile sheet every day. Just because someone has suggested they like orange juice and cornflakes, does not mean they want it for every day of their 2-3 years stay. Often this is pre-served and wasted if the resident chooses not to eat/drink it on the day. Logging pre-plated breakfast waste for a week conservatively indicated annual labour and food waste of $13,160 for breakfast alone.
5. Inefficient labour processes. This can include in the production kitchen, the serving kitchen, meal service, preparing trays, movement between main kitchen and serving kitchens. A lack of enabling technologies and readily available resident information can also slow down efficiency of catering staff. One wasted hour per day is $11,680 per annum – per dining room.
Improving these areas of waste have no negative impact on quality outcomes for the residents. In fact, they will lead to an improved meal quality and dining experience.