Are you tweaking or transforming your menu offering?

Innovating menu residential careIn residential aged care I often see similar meal offerings:

  • 4 week revolving Dietitian-approved seasonal menu
  • 1 or 2 hot choices for the main meal
  • Morning and afternoon tea
  • Soup in the evening
  • Fish on Fridays
  • Salad or sandwich for alternatives
  • Standard meal hours
  • Meals fresh cooked onsite
  • Qualified Chef onsite

 Here are some ways to innovate your menu offerings:

  1. Rolling menu – Creating and introducing a new menu is very time consuming and can be traumatic for all involved.  Rather than  building and introducing new menus on a seasonal basis, consider swapping out menu items over time to ensure the menu is dynamic, that less popular items are replaced and favourites, which are not reliant on seasonal produce, are maintained.  Residents can be involved in collaborative cocreation on a continual basis.
  2.  Weekly hot options available daily – Fresh cook the menu as usual but save some portions and components to be used over the week.  Rather than have 1 or 2 hot options available for the main meal, allow residents to choose what they would like from the weekly menu, available on demand. Store small batches of components and single portions in the central kitchen or at the dining room.
  3. Single serve portions available 24 hours – Have components and/or meals available for residents any time they feel like having their meal. If they miss the main meal time or don’t get to complete their meal, warm wholesome food can increase their nutritional count.
  4. Chef’s Choice – Build a selection of recipes for Chefs to use on “Chef’s Choice” days.  Take advantage of seasonal produce abundance, supplier specials, treats and resident preferences.
  5. Digitalise, automate, integrate – Develop a digital catering solution that integrates with internal and external infrastructure and resources to build “one source of truth”.  Push and pull information between catering, care, finance, suppliers, allied health, HR, GPS, apps, regulatory, government and open source to inform decision making and reporting.

Now with smart production, processing, packaging, labelling, storing, heating, serving and digitalising options, facilities can build the capability to individualise the meal experience for residents even further.  Find and utilise hidden waste, reduce error, manage constraints, utilise skills and talents to bring the residents and staff on board.

These innovative catering options will complement your efforts to provide person centred care.

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