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It’s been well-documented that hospital food service weighs heavily on patient satisfaction and overall well-being. Combined with external factors, such as regulatory uncertainty and a consumer trend towards health-conscious decisions, there has been increased pressure on hospital food service operators to deliver higher quality options for patients and guests. In addition, patient satisfaction scores and readmission rates are important to hospital revenue and reimbursements.

Bringing innovation into the kitchen can help savvy food service directors alleviate these pressures by adjusting their current model to one that mimics a retail restaurant. OpenMarkets has discovered 6 key focus points that have been driving this change (listed in no particular order):

  1. Speed – How long it takes to prep, cook, deliver meals
  2. Menu Expansion – Versatile equipment that could increase menu possibilities
  3. Price – Acquisition cost/maintenance cost over the life of the equipment
  4. Data – Optimizing kitchen operations or automating cooking sequences
  5. Sustainability – Energy consumption/pollution/consumables – factors that affect environmental impact
  6. Safety – Equipment service, sensors, employee training

Recent research conducted by OpenMarkets has shown that the two most important factors for hospital Food Service Directors are speed and menu expansion. Hospitals want to offer a wide variety of nutritious and enjoyable food, while tasking their equipment with multiple uses. These Food Service Directors believe that focusing on these changes can help drive more value and allow improved service such as patient room service, a shift from cafeteria to café, emphasis on nutrition, farm-to-table sourcing, and community outreach.