Good reviews and constructive feedback are helping to improve retail food services in Saskatoon hospitals.

Saskatoon Health Region’s Food and Nutrition Services Department is using a Customer Feedback Program at Saskatoon’s three acute care sites to ensure our cafeterias and cafes are providing a high quality service to customers.

RR-2015-11-04-food-nutrition-feedback“The results we received from surveys in the first quarter of the year were very positive, particularly regarding food quality and cleanliness, which we were really happy about,” noted Shelley Dobrowolsky, Business Manager for Retail Food Services with Saskatoon Health Region. “We just received our second quarter results at the beginning of October, and once again, they were primarily positive.”

The Customer Feedback Program runs all the time. Every cashier station has a form people can take and fill out, and drop boxes are available at every station. Surveys can also be completed online or a QR code is provided on posters at the cashier stations.

In the second quarter, the survey results showed that 81 per cent of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the appearance of the food, and 92 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with the friendliness of the staff. Seventy-seven per cent of respondents liked the taste of the food and drink, 86 per cent were happy with the temperature, and 81 per cent were pleased with the cleanliness of the environment.

“It’s very open, very friendly, very helpful, staff was amazing. Overall, the best experience,” was one comment submitted from the survey. “Good service from employee preparing food today. A clean and quiet area. Liked the natural lighting,” stated another person.

The feedback also noted areas in need of improvement. Some survey respondents stated concerns about cleanliness, others about portion sizes and specific food offerings, but the retail food service staff were happy to receive that constructive feedback.

We use the information we get from the survey as an opportunity to improve our service,” Dobrowolsky noted.

For instance, previous comments about how tables were set up in The Downstairs Café at Royal University Hospital resulted in a reorganization of those tables by managers and staff.  A concern raised about the difficulty in handling stainless steel lids on the soup pots resulted in the replacement of those lids with a plastic version.

Comments about muffins earlier this year resulted in the implementation of an entirely new muffin line. A comment that called their waffles were “horrible” led to a waffle review and taste panel, and resulted in changes to how the waffles are prepared.

“If we get any complaints about cleanliness, we work with Housekeeping, or sometimes we can assist with some cleaning ourselves,” Dobrowolsky said. “When an issue is reported, we actively try to do something about it. We respond.”

As in any line of work, providing food services in a healthcare setting can be challenging.

“It’s difficult to balance variety, cost, menu, and diet needs while maintaining high quality food products,” said Dobrowolsky. “We change our master menu twice per year to strive for variety and we also add feature items to the weekly menus.”

As the results of these surveys indicate, Food and Nutrition Services is successfully finding this balance.

“I’d like to give a shout-out to all our staff for their hard work and great customer service. Customers are noticing the extra effort you put in,” Dobrowolsky said.