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Why a SuzyQ Foodservice Cart Is the Best Option for Senior Community Foodservice (and How You Can Pay for It)

The SuzyQ Cart System empowers senior care community residents in meal decisions, but there are more reasons than that to go with SuzyQ!

This unique system is designed to eliminate many of the challenges faced in residential care dining rooms, both from the operator perspective and from the client’s.  Meals can be served hot or cold, and space for all the texture modifications and condiments are delivered right to each resident's table, allowing her to "self-determine" what she wants to eat.

There are many ways to bring the meal to the table, though, so why use the SuzyQ Cart System (video)?

Designed with both operators and residents in mind, the SuzyQ's stainless steel construction is durable and reliable.  With a wide range of laminate finishes to choose from, it can easily fit within the décor scheme of just about any dining room.  It also comes with Registered Dietitian support which includes education resources, webinar classes, email and phone support to ensure success!

The SuzyQ also holds a variety of insert pan sizes, has a built-in plate compartment, and has pull-out storage drawers on full-size units to accommodate two full-size insert pans.  Basically, they hold the capacity to deliver a wide variety of choices to residents.  Plus, individual controls for hot wells deliver food hot to residents.

So how can you quickly pay for a SuzyQ Cart System? Start with some of the benefits:


When residents have control over what they want to eat -- and how much of it -- food waste plummets immediately.  Considering we waste roughly 40 percent of our food supply, every little bit counts -- and saves thousands of dollars.


SuzyQ Carts bring meals right to the table allowing staff members to interact with residents.  This gives employees enjoyable, meaningful work resulting in increased retention levels.  And when operators don't have to constantly find, hire, and train new employees, they save money.


When all the back and forth trips are eliminated and staff members aren't running plates two at a time, enormous amounts of time are saved making labor usage more efficient and impactful.  And, yes, time is money.


The people who live within the community walls are the ones paying to be there.  People talk.  Potential residents read reviews.  So when residents are "wowed" by the foodservice component of their day-to-day lives -- and foodservice is a driving factor in overall review scores -- it becomes a marketing tool, courting future residents as well.


When you add all these things up -- actually, when you take the savings on food waste alone -- a SuzyQ Cart System can pay for itself very quickly, usually in a few short months.

We invite you to learn more.  Spend some time in a free, one-on-one webinar with the creator of the SuzyQ, Suzanne Quiring. Suzanne is a Registered Dietitian specializing in residential care communities, and she'd love to share her knowledge on how SuzyQ is working in hundreds of homes.

Suzanne Quiring, RD

To set up a free one-on-one webinar with Suzanne Quiring to explore how her SuzyQ Cart System can help improve your senior care community dining program, simply fill out the form to the right and she'll follow-up with you in person to schedule a time to get together.

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Solving Labor Challenges in Healthcare Foodservice with Pride

When staff members love what they do, residents and guests love what they do, too.

It seems kind of over-simplistic to say it like that, but nothing could be closer to the truth. When staff takes pride in their jobs, when they engage with residents in authentic and memorable ways, not only will residents be happier with the overall service level of the community, but staff members will be happier, as well.

Don't take our word for it, though. Here's what a few labor experts had to say:

According to Deloitte's Talent 2020 series, which surveyed 560 employees across several industries around the world, one of the top three engagement drivers for employment was the ability to do meaningful work.

The reality, though, is this statement is common sense. It's obvious that staff members who love what they do, who are the most engaged in the process and how to improve it, are the ones who are likely motivated by the fact their work matters. The question then becomes, how?

According to the MIT Sloan Management Review and a study led by Professor Catherine Bailey called "What Makes Work Meaningful -- or Meaningless," the answer is deeply personal and individual. What's the point of this job? It really depends on who you ask. There were some trends, though:

* Meaningful work tends to be associated with a wider contribution to society.

* Significant memories of family members when related to on-the-job experiences tended to result in feelings of worthfulness. Basically, there's a relationship between family and job satisfaction, between what's personal and what's work.

* Meaningful work is not planned. Rather, unexpected moments during the workday were often the most impactful.

How does this relate to healthcare foodservice and senior care communities?

The bottom line is meaningful work is personal, interpersonal, and unexpected. So how can we empower foodservice staff members to have those types of day-to-day experiences? By putting them in the right positions.

First, it's impossible to force our way into someone else's head. This makes personal, independent decisions about what's meaningful and what's impossible. The other two factors, though, are certainly doable.

How can senior care communities put staff in intimate situations that remind them of their own families? How can healthcare foodservice operators give team members the opportunities to have serendipitous experiences in their day-to-day tasks? By creating situations where staff members are around the residents.

In foodservice this means getting the team out of the four walls of the kitchen and into the dining room.  When staff members interact with their guests and a community can adopt a service approach to the dining experience, the work becomes more meaningful and more personal.  Have the staff interact directly with the residents, ask questions, and really actually talk to them!  This increases team engagement, staff retention, and resident satisfaction - it's a win-win-win!

Learn more and continue the conversation.

Take the dining experience quiz which only takes a few minutes to fill out.  Afterwards, you'll learn tips and tricks on where you can improve and you'll also have the opportunity to coordinate a call with Suzanne to discuss your results.

Contact Suzanne for her webinar, "Bringing Back CHOICE to Residents" where you'll learn how to:

  • Reduce high food waste by 30-50%
  • Serve significantly hotter food to residents
  • Eliminate multiple food preference lists to track and maintain
  • Improve customer service to residents
  • Improve overall meal satisfaction
  • Exceed CMS regulations and align with best practices (Pioneer Network, Eden Alternative)
  • Implement methods that are working in 800+ healthcare communities at all levels of care in North America

About Suzanne Quiring:
Suzanne Quiring, RD, CDM, CFPP has worked in residential care for over 25 years and has her Continuing Care Administrator designation. She has assisted over 800 healthcare centers and improved their meal programs with tableside service. She is the inventor of the “SuzyQ Cart System” by Lakeside. She has spoken at conferences throughout North America and is passionate about self-directed dining.

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What Is a Self-Determined Meal, and How It Will Help You with Resident Reviews?

It’s important to understand the importance of customer reviews and how foodservice impacts the overall score a healthcare center or senior community receives.

According to the Pioneer Network Dining Standards, not only does foodservice play a key role in optimizing well-being, it can have a direct impact on review scores. If people are happy with their living environment (and meals are a key focus!), then review scores and census results increase.

So what’s the easiest way to achieve better reviews?

Simple. Make your customers happy.

Meal times are some of our most cherished moments, not just for senior citizens, but for humans in general.

For our aging populations living in senior communities, this fact is even truer, though. With limited mobility or cognition, in many cases meals can break up the day and be moments of clarity, satisfaction, sociability and interest!

But what makes a meal interesting? How can operators make foodservice more engaging and fun? How can residents be empowered?

By allowing them to “self-determine” their meals. Self-determined meal service is basically another way to say choice.

Traditionally, pre-portioned meals are delivered to the table on domed plates. Also, food items and portion sizes are decided in the back-of-the-house based on perceived meal preference lists or in some cases medical needs.

Instead, self-determined meal service brings the selection process to the table, to be made by the guest.

If you stop and think about it, it’s a pretty logical concept, but most senior care communities don’t offer foodservice in this capacity. It's usually just tray service or pre-plated service. Here are the benefits that self-determined meal service offers:


When you have a style of meal service that allows for residents to choose the items and portions they want, they are more likely to eat more of the meal. Food is only nourishing if residents consume it. Therefore, when food is presented in a better way, there is improved intake, less risk of malnutrition, and better overall energy levels. A win for everyone!

Which brings us to another point…


Implementing a meal system that embraces choice makes residents happier, but in turn, staff members become more engaged with the people they serve. Meals become less like a chore and more like hospitality. In addition to talking to residents about the food selections, staff can also talk to them about what’s going on in their lives.

Bringing choice to the dining experience with engaged staff members not only results in happier residents, but staff members that feel empowered and that they’re actually making a difference in a resident’s life.

And speaking of empowerment…


When residents in a senior care community go to the doctor or receive medical care, it so often involves something they have to do. "You need to take this pill twice a day or you cannot do 'this or that' until your hip heals." The sad fact is choice is often taken away from us as we age.

This doesn’t have to be the case with meals, too. The most anticipated times of the day should be interesting and engaging, and residents should have a choice as to how they want to enjoy those times. Don’t feel like having the broccoli today? Opt for the asparagus instead, or choose no vegetable at all. Why plate a vegetable that a resident isn’t going to eat and will just get thrown out? Choice can be a different option, or choice can be the size of the serving, or choosing, “No, thank you.” Just providing that choice can make someone’s day and may just change their lives.

Is your community providing a truly self-directed experience? Are you enjoying the benefits listed above? We have an easy and free way for you to find out.

Take the dining experience quiz to see tips and tricks on where you can improve.

About The Author, Suzanne Quiring:
Suzanne Quiring, RD, CDM, CFPP has worked in residential care for over 25 years and has her Continuing Care Administrator designation. She has assisted over 800 healthcare centers and improved their meal programs with tableside service. She is the inventor of the “SuzyQ Cart System” by Lakeside. She has spoken at conferences throughout North America and is passionate about self-directed dining.