When it comes to choosing a hospital or residential care facility, one of the last things patients or residents consider (if at all) is whether the facility has great food. Yet, their three-square-meals is one of the most important aspects of their day. A fulfilling, well-prepared meal can completely change their perspective of their surroundings, taking them from a “facility” to a 5-star restaurant, or even a home-like setting.

A personalized approach to food services can achieve this by listening to the needs and feedback from those who know what they like the most: the customers themselves. How are you capturing this feedback? Are you using it properly to improve your operations?

Instant Gratification
Implementing the right culinary platform can allow you to track this feedback while a meal is fresh in their minds. Many of us struggle to remember what we had for breakfast a couple days ago, so relying on an annual customer satisfaction survey will not capture the right feedback and data required to make meaningful changes to your recipes, preparation, and presentation. The sooner the feedback, the sooner you can adapt your practice to meet the customer’s needs. In this digital age, any negative experience if not addressed in a timely manner can lead to a negative review online that many potential patients will see before making a decision.

Process, Data, and Their Application
Consider adding a process to your patient ordering system where those taking the new order ask the patients what they thought of their last meal. The right ordering system will have each patient’s order history tracked giving your staff the full spectrum of patient/customer experience. This data can also identify any potential issues before they become a common occurrence rather than a one-time mistake.

But why is this important?
A study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that a patient-centered foodservice model, such as room service, can increase nutritional intake, improve patient satisfaction, and reduce plate waste and patient meal costs with room service compared to a traditional foodservice mode. But even then, why worry about how someone’s burger is prepared when the focus is on rehabilitation and recovery? At the end of the day, your patients or residents are in your care. Asking for feedback on even the smallest things like their lunch is another way of showing them that you do care, and not just “provide” care.