A growing trend in the healthcare food service industry is a transition from a focus on patient meals to retail meals. The data speaks for itself; since 2000 patient meals have dropped from a 70% focus to 30%, whereas retail meals have jumped from 30% to 70%. On average retail meals increased 20% at healthcare facilities in 2016 and that number is only expected to rise. This shift provides an excellent opportunity for these facilities to increase their efficiency and profitability by including a point of sale interface into their food service business plan.

This shift in service requires a shift in how we think about the role that dining plays in the larger framework of a facility's operations. Gone are the days of metal trays full of mystery meat in a cafeteria setting; employees, staff, and guests expect more from their food experience in healthcare facilities. Focusing more on retail meals requires managers and staff to change the way they operate their kitchens and cafes; rather than just providing a service, they must also act like a business and consider how information and production can increase profitability and reduce waste.

If food service managers have the information they need about where their budget is being spent to compare with analytics about what their customers want, they are able to adjust their operations accordingly and increase their profit and customer satisfaction at the same time. A point of sale interface gives these managers the tools they need to approach their operations as a business and identify the needs of their customers.

Identifying "Slippage"

Changing how we think of the hospital dining experience and applying a business model to this experience requires detailed information in order to increase efficiency. A point of sale interface is an essential component in meeting these expectations and providing quality service because it offers easy tracking of what is used, what is made, and what is sold to the customer. The relationship between these three elements is called "slippage." A point of sale interface gives managers information for a self-audit and shows them where the slippage is located in their service. With this information it is becomes easier to solve the slippage problem in a targeted way in order to increase profitability and customer satisfaction.

Slippage can occur in every aspect of a food operation. An example of how a point of sale interface works to identify slippage comes from a CBORD healthcare customer who added a point of sale interface to the grill segment of their food service operation. Focusing just on the bacon and french fries items on their grill menu it became apparent immediately that there was excessive slippage with these two items; the difference between what was being used, what was being made and what was being sold was almost 50% across the board. In other words, they were only selling half of the bacon and french fries that they were making and using. After identifying this slippage and adjusting their operations the facility was able to reduce waste and save over $200,000.

Good information makes for good business decisions. Plain and simple.