Insource or outsource your meal service?

Insource outsource meal serviceHave you been thinking about outsourcing your meal service? Why? Is it because you think that by so doing, you will get a better result?

Outsourcing your meal service can be a smart, strategic move. Forming a partnership with an experienced contractor can lift a load from your shoulders. However it must be considered carefully and take a broad range of factors into account before a decision is made. The cheapest price will not guarantee the best outcome for your residents, staff, family, management or regulators.

 The Great

A negotiated fixed price per person per day – assists budgeting purposes.

Can be part of a well-honed greater system whose core focus is catering.

They will manage staff recruitment, training, discipline, development.

Opportunity to move staff across locations for uptake of skills, experience, ideas.

Access to specialised management, tools, tips, tricks, strategies you may not otherwise have.

Compliance is taken care of.

Frees up your management time to focus on care.

Provides dedicated expertise you don’t have inhouse.

Broad range of menu items, recipes, techniques to provide variety to your residents.

 To Ponder

You placed the contract with the cheapest offer and it is not delivering what you thought it would.

Catering costs per resident per day have increased to help pay for the Contractor’s fixed costs.

Documented separation of duties between your care staff and their catering staff. In the real world, there is crossover of workflow to ensure your residents are top priority.

A standardised contractor menu that doesn’t suit your vision.

Contractor values and outcomes differ.

You may not be able to tweak and demand changes as much and as often as you would like.

Resident engagement can vary and be less than you would like.

Any changes to the contract can result in extra cost or other penalty.

It wont absolve you of your responsibilities – whose name will be in the paper if something goes wrong?

If you don’t like the outcome, it is expensive, disruptive and demoralising to reverse.

They cant work with you and want to break the contract.


Has your decision to outsource not worked out for you? Are you disappointed and feel you could now do better by bringing the meal service back inhouse?

 Choosing a Contractor

When choosing your catering contractor, frame your tender document in such a way that proposals received meet your criteria beyond price point. Before testing the market though, benchmark your existing service, quality and cost so you can increase quality at equal or less cost through a tender process with clear evaluation criteria.

We have been running competitive tendering for clients for 25 years using 8 evaluation criteria to ensure clients end up with the best fit partner with contract value to meet their objectives.

Before you make a change, lets have a conversation.

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