CBORD Insights: The Key to Increased Revenue 

CBORD Insights: Foodservice and Technology: The Key to Increased Revenue

For hospitals, the price of patient meals is often fixed and incorporated into the daily price of an individual’s hospital stay. As a result, foodservice operations have traditionally sought to control costs in order to manage their budgets. But now, there is a growing focus on generating revenue through foodservice to strengthen the bottom line. In fact, 4 out of 10 foodservice decision-makers believe that their future success depends “to a large extent” on creating new foodservice revenue streams, according to recent CBORD Insights research.

Today’s technology provides a number of ways to drive dining revenue. By linking systems, hospitals can have more effective, centralized control of foodservice-related activities across the hospital—and can expand their business with the existing customer base. “For foodservice, a big part of the retail cafeteria dining business is guests coming to visit patients, along with vendors and staff, of course,” says Sarah Myers, director of product management at CBORD. “Connected technology can help you increase the revenue you earn from those key groups.” 

Reaching visitors and staff members begins with the ability to offer these groups a broader range of high-quality, healthy meals—and then using connected technology to bring greater convenience to their experience.  

Mobile Momentum

For example, hospitals can provide hotel-style choice and on-demand ordering that lets guests enjoy meals in patient rooms rather than in the cafeteria. This can be further enhanced with mobile capabilities that let them peruse menus on their tablets or smartphones and order ahead. Similarly, hospital staff can use the technology to order meals and then pick them up at drop-off locations around the hospital or have them delivered to them on the job—saving them significant amounts of time. 

Mobile capabilities also make it possible to replace registers with cashless payments, such as mobile payments and payroll deduction arrangements. Cashless payments can decrease time per transaction and, experience shows, increase per-transaction spending while reducing credit- and debit-card fees.  

Hospitals can also boost convenience for visitors and staff by increasing the number of retail touchpoints, thereby providing more opportunities for people to make purchases. Self-service food kiosks, which can provide an additional channel for reaching customers, are effective at increasing revenue by cross- and upselling because they make it easy for visitors and staff to customize and add on to orders.  

Hospitals can also extend their mobile payment capabilities to include other retail operations, such as the pharmacies, gift shops, and convenience stores, or even on-site external retailers such as Panera or Starbucks. Users’ phones become a kind of portable POS device that gives them meal purchasing power throughout the hospital—or beyond.  “Hospitals like to keep visitors and employees on-campus to increase revenue, but that’s not always possible,” says Myers. “However, you can allow external retailers and merchants outside the hospital to accept your mobile cashless payments, and then make a percentage fee from those partner transactions.” 

Better Data Through Connectivity  

Connected systems and centralized control also mean that hospitals have more data at their disposal. As marketers across industries have discovered, this data can be used to better understand what customers—visitors and staff—are most likely to buy. This insight allows the hospital’s dining and retail operations to ensure that the right inventory is on hand, and adjust pricing and offer promotions to enhance sales. Data can also be used to support the increased use of billable malnutrition diagnosis and management services. These services depend on the accurate tracking of patients’ dietary intake. Connected systems make the management and analysis of that data easier, while mobile capabilities allow employees working with patients to gather the required data quickly and efficiently. 

Overall, connected technology can give the people moving through and working in the hospital more choice and less friction—and the impact of that is clear. “When you use technology to make it more convenient and easier to buy things,” says Myers, “your staff and visitors will take advantage of that and spend more in your hospital.”  

*CBORD Insights™ Patient Experience survey, March 2023. N=180 C-suite/VP-level administrators in Acute Care, Government and Private Hospital Systems and N=100 patient respondents. 

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