Food is one of, if not the most important element in our services to residents. It is often the highlight of the day!
The importance of food to residents is often overlooked by healthcare industry management, as it tends to focus on dietary compliance rather than resident enjoyment. Healthcare operations tend to batch-cook large amounts of food and try to keep it warm and appetizing for long periods of time. This type of thinking permeates kitchen design, menu planning – everything involving food – so that the largest number of people can be served over the longest period of time at the lowest cost. The individual’s personal likes and tastes are lost to the system.
LanePark uses a different approach. It starts from the day we first build the kitchen and continues through menu planning, serving and delivery methods. Our concept is to cook each plate at the time and place of the resident’s choosing. Just like in a restaurant – my food, my way, at my time. Breakfast all day? Why not? Eggs to order? Of course. A cheeseburger in the middle of the night? If that’s what you want!
So how do we do this? We develop dietary compliant menus just like a restaurant’s and keep track of likes and dislikes. Then appropriate amounts of various meals are prepared for flash cooking and finishing and served within ten minutes of ordering. Institutions try to keep hot food hot; we keep various meals, say a partially cooked cheeseburger, cold so that a staff member can finish the cooking and deliver a high quality personalized experience. This planning and programing is a combination of equipment, menu development and staff attitude. It allows for what most of us expect in any public restaurant, and, whenever possible, we hire a cook from a fine dining restaurant where the sense of urgency and timing of restaurant quality meals is assumed and normal.
Do we do batch cooking? Sure we all do from time to time – a great pan of lasagna or thanksgiving turkey – but even then we want to know who likes dark meat or white. One’s personal likes and dislikes matter.