Article

Senior Living Facilities Take a Fresh Approach to Food Service

May 12, 2021
Chef packaging high end food for delivery
Senior living facilities are rethinking their approach to food service. They have transformed their kitchens into delivery kitchens, also known as cloud kitchens or ghost kitchens. The food and prep areas that used to be dedicated to feeding residents at group mealtimes are now partially used for delivery and takeout meals. Residents can order ahead to receive or pick up the food, which is then ready at a specified time.
 
This business model provides an opportunity for senior living facilities to tap into a new market and elevate their food offerings. Residents and guests want more than a simple sandwich in a bag for takeout. They crave the same quality food and variety they received when dining in-person in dining rooms.

Delivery kitchens help senior living facilities meet their food goals. The kitchens give facilities the ability to serve a range of high-quality items. To make a good impression, many also offer higher-end, classier looking disposable cutlery rather than typical plastic cutlery.
 
With this business model, the delivery kitchen is modified so everything that’s prepared is prepackaged and individually wrapped, including single-use packaged condiments. All food must be deliverable and all items disposable.

UNIQUE FOOD SERVICES MEET CHANGING DEMAND

Senior living facilities are making far-reaching changes to their food service operations and dining amenities to appeal to current and prospective residents. Providing meals that are nutritious, delicious and created with seniors’ needs in mind can be a differentiator in attracting potential residents.
 
Transforming food prep and cooking space into delivery kitchens drives a range of benefits and outcomes:

  • Allows facilities to capitalize on the food delivery trend.
  • Increases resident satisfaction by letting them order food on demand for delivery.
  • Enables senior living facilities to expand their menus with items for takeout only.

More senior living facility operators, especially those in urban areas, are expected to consider implementing a delivery kitchen. The delivery kitchen would supplement, or in some cases, replace in-house dining options.

RETHINKING KITCHENS AS REVENUE SOURCES INSTEAD OF COST CENTERS
Delivery kitchens provide opportunities for facilities to rethink their approach to food. They offer a turnkey solution so creative chefs, artisans and restaurateurs can expand their brands. With the right approach, facilities can save money compared to a traditional kitchen operation. That’s because when food is takeout and delivery only, the base cost for meals is lower due to reduced overhead.
 
Lowering costs and adding new items to the menu can help facilities flip their kitchens from a cost center to a revenue stream. “For many senior living providers, dining is a cost center, meaning more money goes into culinary budgets than comes out,” according to Senior Housing News.
 
Working with a group purchasing organization (GPO) can help senior living organizations get a delivery kitchen up and running quickly while purchasing  the supplies they need for less money. For example, Provista can help with procuring everything from food items, to food services, to sous vide cooking equipment.
 

“Working with a GPO can help senior living organizations get a cloud kitchen up and running quickly, and buy the supplies they need for less money.”

PROVISTA OFFERS POPULAR SOUS VIDE COOKING OPTIONS

Sous vide is a French term meaning “under vacuum.”  The food is placed in a vacuum-sealed bag and cooked in hot water to a precise temperature. This ensures evenly cooked food.
 
Provista added a sous vide product lineup, which can be used in delivery kitchens. The technique produces food results that are difficult to achieve through any other cooking method. Provista is offering sous vide to every “center of the plate” food category for members. The offering includes a variety of pork and beef options that are high in protein, which can be ideal for menus for assisted living facilities. The meals help appeal to a wide variety of residents’ tastes and needs for senior living dining.

APPEAL TO CURRENT AND POTENTIAL RESIDENTS
Food can be a competitive advantage for senior living facilities. A range of food options, including options for delivery and takeout, can be enticing to current and potential residents. Delivery kitchens can also increase resident satisfaction through a more eclectic menu. Having one of these kitchens can be the deciding factor for someone who is considering different facilities.
 
Senior living facilities can implement a delivery kitchen onsite quickly and cost efficiently by working with their GPO. GPO contracts offer everything that’s needed, from expertise for setting up the kitchen and creating menus to procuring items at industry-best pricing like food, sous vide equipment and disposable cutlery. A GPO like Provista can be an invaluable partner for senior living facilities looking to take advantage of the food delivery trend.
 
David Richard Headshot

About the Author

David Richard is the Senior Director of Program and Portfolio Development for Provista Hospitality & Senior Living
 

Ready to Get Started?

Take the next step to start saving.

Become a Member