Richard Woodward, General Manager for Care Homes at apetito, takes a look at how homes can save time and cost in the kitchen.
Every penny counts right now as the cost of everything, from energy to food continues to spiral. And with no end in sight to the cost-of-living crisis, all care homes – regardless of size – are looking to make cost efficiencies, without any loss of service or provision.
The kitchen is one place where homes can make efficiencies in cost and labour without loss of quality in the mealtime experience for residents.
A home with a team of cooks is always vulnerable to labour issues – whether sickness, or staff turnover. And as ingredient costs grow by as much as 30%, understanding costs and how these can be controlled is causing significant stress to management teams.
By turning to high quality pre-prepared meals which can be cooked from frozen, there are innumerable benefits.
Having full transparency of costs is one major benefit, removing the influences and impact of inflation on a daily/weekly basis.
Staff can easily cook the meals from frozen meaning that after training, the complexities of managing kitchen staff whilst ensuring cover and associated admin can be reduced significantly – along with a notable reduction in costs. Furthermore, staffing resources can be devoted back to the frontline giving an additional benefit to residents.
Whether reducing waste, being able to offer personalised nutritional pathways and most importantly delicious meals that residents will love – the cost benefits are clear.
Let’s give you an example; Last year some of our Care Homes team visited the VSA Group, who appointed apetito after struggling to recruit chefs, ensure consistency and guarantee cover. This had led to the group having to supplement internal teams with agency staff who were unreliable, expensive, and challenging to manage.
During the visit, Chief Operating Officer of VSA, John Booth explained that since moving over to apetito, he has seen immeasurable benefits when it came to reducing food waste and saving on labour, having been able to streamline catering roles.
Because apetito’s service doesn’t require any skilled labour, it means that if any kitchen staff are ever off ill or on holiday, any employee who has been trained can help in the kitchen.
At VSA there’s now less admin, less invoices, less suppliers, less people to manage, and this alone has removed a stress factor including the removal of expensive agency staff. It’s great that the team now has more time than ever before to focus on frontline care.
We recently challenged a chef to cook a Shepherd’s Pie from scratch for 24 residents, which took 1h57m. It only took apetito member Molly 3 minutes in the kitchen to put an apetito meal into the oven and serve it, leading to a huge time saving. Same quality, same ingredients but massive time and cost difference.
Managing costs alongside care is a real challenge and we’re proud that our service helps care homes reduce catering costs without compromising on quality.
Discover more about apetito’s care homes service by calling 0808 239 2399 or visiting https://apetito.link/careengland