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Your Challenges?

Does your facility experience any of these challenges?

  • Shrinking Food Budgets
  • Long individual food preference lists in the kitchen
  • Difficulty tracking and updating resident “likes/dislikes” lists
  • Rigidity with meal service
  • Discontented residents regarding limited choice
  • Poor teamwork between departments
  • Limited “Resident and Food Service Staff” contact
  • Mediocre “customer service” to the residents during the delivery of food (limited eye contact, conversation, etc)
  • Complaints of cold food from the residents
  • High levels of dining room noise which eliminates a relaxed eating atmosphere

If you checked any of the above challenges, then your facility is not alone. Most Residential Care facilities use a system of food delivery that has not changed for decades. This system is normally a pre-plated, non-selective one. Food Service staff plate the meal in the kitchen, and Care staff deliver the plated food to the resident’s table.

Unfortunately, under this old system, every resident receives the same meal and quantity, unless listed on the resident’s “comment list”. This list has to be read by the Food Service staff who may be under time constraints, short staffed due to illness, or where new staff slow the process down due to unfamiliarity with “The List”.

slow process
disliked food

If a resident doesn’t like the plate of food received, they may complain to the rest of the people at the table, thereby creating a negative atmosphere. Alternatively, the resident may tell staff to send the plated food back to the kitchen and get another one. Either way, there is a strong sense of frustration felt by all concerned – the resident, the care staff and the food service staff regarding negativity that always surrounds a “complaint”. Furthermore, the “Likes/Dislikes” list has to be changed by the Manager at some point, which is also time consuming

There are also other major problems with a centralized meal service system including high wastage, rigidity, limited resident contact, poor teamwork, high levels of dining room noise, and a feeling by resident’s that they are just a number and not an individual.

Its time to change!

The SuzyQ cart

Hundreds of health care
communities have chosen
the SuzyQ cart system

Are you located in Canada?

Please visit our Canada website


  • "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

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