The SuzyQ cart System was designed to eliminate most of the challenges in Long Term Care dining rooms. This system is now successfully used in many facilities throughout North America.
The SuzyQ cart System consists of carts with food or beverages on them, operated by both Nursing and Food Service staff. A cart is taken to each resident’s table, where the residents are informed of their menu choices. They are then served accordingly. Residents have control over what they want to eat and the quantity, because they are always asked first, before food is plated. This step alone, greatly reduces food wastage, which drives down costs. More importantly, the level of resident satisfaction increases dramatically, as they now have autonomy over their food.
Over time, in many facilities, The SuzyQ cart System results in a slightly faster serving of food, because trips back and forth between the kitchen and resident are eliminated. There is also an added safety component of less likelihood of accidents by staff falling on a resident’s cane/walker as they hurry back and forth between the kitchen and the resident’s table, as SuzyQ Cart eliminates these trips.
Ideal for Hallway Service:
The SuzyQ carts can travel anywhere, and can leave the dining room. They can travel into elevators, down hallways, out to patios, and really anywhere that clients are. Doing hallway service is easily done by traveling down the hallway, greeting a resident at their doorway, having a conversation as to what is available on the SuzyQ, and the trained food safety staff member serving up the desired choices accordingly. As the SuzyQ is not a “self-serve” buffet, it is staffed/used only by staff, this is a fun and flexible way to bring safe, hot food choices to folks where ever they may be.
Benefits for Residents:
Residents are able to see and smell food before selecting.
Residents choose what they would like to eat and the quantity.
Residents eat better because they eat what they want, and can finish the food on their plate.
Residents experience direct contact with the Dietary Staff, which allows for immediate feedback on the acceptance of the food.
Residents appreciate one-on-one contact with Dietary Staff.
The food and plates are hotter (crock pots, warm plates, SuzyQ Cart)
The dining room is much quieter, as there is minimal complaining about meals, service, lack of attention, and staff are not running back and forth.
Bulk condiments replace most portion-packed foods, and these are easier for residents to handle.
Residents gain back some control over their lives.
Benefits for the Food and Nutrition staff:
Dietary Staff get to personally know the residents.
Dietary Staff do not have long “likes/dislikes lists” to read, as residents are now asked what they would like first before their meal is served.
No pre-portioning of milk, juices or desserts since residents can now select food and drink directly from carts. Time saved can be used more productively.
Benefits for the Nursing Staff
Residents leave the table more content, and normally do not require as much attention after meals.
Less complaints during meals, resulting in more time being spent on assisting residents during meals.
Teamwork between the Dietary and Nursing staff is greatly improved.
Charting on resident food intake is easier because of better and improved staff interaction with the residents.
Benefits for the Management Team
Major cost savings!
Definite decrease in food wastage
Better use of leftovers as food and drink are not pre-plated or poured, so uneaten food can be used again.
Bulk food replaces expensive portion packs.
Happier residents and families with food service
Resident council meetings are more productive as less time is taken up regarding food issues.
"The numbers are eye opening as well,, with improved control and less waste…we have a savings of $90,000 - for a non-profit society this is a massive savings. The savings paid for the extra staffing to serve the food. My plan for this year is to purchase 3 carts and employ them at another site."
Wayne Maki Executive Chef & Food Service Administrator, Excel Society
“Residents were happier as they had choices. Staff felt more fulfilled being able to offer a more resident focused service. By interacting with the residents every meal, it has allowed them to get to know our residents individually. It has helped foster relationships with the residents in which they talk, laugh or are jus there for each other. It has brought the “humanness” back to a system that was impersonal and task focused. The dining room environment now resembles that of a restaurant and not an institution. The change to a more resident focused food service continues to be an example of how systems can change positively without significant cost increases.”
Cathy Mesner RD – Morgan Place
“A testimony from one of our residents is “I think all of us really like the choice we have about what we eat and how much. I like that we are all served at the same time and the food is hot when it is given to us. I always come to the dining room when we have the SuzyQ cart now.”
Cara Clark Cara Clark, RD, Administrator - Cambridge Place
“Since we started offering our residents choices, we have noticed a reduction in our food cost and waste, for example a drop in our weekly milk order by four-four liter jugs of milk. Our residents enjoy the interaction they have with the staff at meal times, and some ladies even enjoy flirting with our head cook. These changes have allowed us to focus on the resident and to understand how simple gestures of communication, being verbal and/or body are very important to the resident. We have also created a team that is resident focused and understands how communicating and working together benefits not only our residents but us as a whole.
Donna Weiss Administrative Service Coordinator, Echo Lodge Special Care Home
"The patients are really enjoying the New “choice meal service” provided. We only got complaints on our surveys before so getting positive notes from patients is a big improvement. The SuzyQ cart System is working wonderfully, and it is sooo much fun. Can’t believe the patient “happiness”. Thank you.”
Gail Weleschuk Supervisor, Patient Food Services - Tofield Health Centre
“The SuzyQ cart System allowed for improved interaction and relationship between the dietary and nursing staff, as they started to work more together at serving our residents the better. Our food and beverage waste has decreased as well, which means we are saving money. Our cooks for the first time are leaving the kitchen and serving residents direct, which has allowed them more understanding of the needs of our residents. The cart moves very easily, and we love it. The table side dining has allowed the staff to spend time before and after with the resident, engaging them in their meal choice and receiving feedback in the moment. As soon as the blessing for the meal and the staff is complete, the lids come off with a flourish and the steam escapes causing excitement as they anticipate the choices to come. Thank you for your passion and investment in our residents satisfaction.”
Angela Ross-Fehr Manager of Dining Experience, Menno Housing Society