Offering a choice of high-quality, nutritious and allergen assessed meals for our residents is extremely important at our Richmond Villages, so I was excited to work with Bupa’s Customer Lab as it supported Kafoodle to develop and pilot their food management and meal-planning software. Food is an area where our residents expect the highest standard at our villages, and we always strive to meet these and continue improving, so it is very important to me to look at products like Kafoodle to see if there are ways that we can improve our service.
Kafoodle launched in 2015 as a cloud-based solution to help hospitality clients digitise their recipes and menus to comply with new EU food allergen regulations. As part of our work with Kafoodle, we looked to develop their meal-planning software to be more care home specific and provide personalised meal planning based on allergens, medications, and dietary restrictions. The product aims to help chefs to create nutritious, cost-effective meal plans for their residents, while also ensuring that all dishes are accurately allergen assessed. It also aims to streamline communication between the restaurant staff and the kitchen.
After Kafoodle spent time developing the software with Bupa, we decided to trial it on the a la carte menu in the restaurant at Richmond Villages Letcombe Regis in Oxfordshire, where we have 80 independent living apartments, 65 assisted living suites, and a 53-bed care floor.
The daily menus in our restaurants are produced at each village. Currently, staff go around to each assisted living suite every morning with the menu for that day, plus ingredient and allergen information, giving residents the option to pre-order their meal, either to have in the restaurant or their suite. All food orders across the villages are currently done via paper and manually tallied at the end of each morning round and communicated to the chef.
We trialled two of Kafoodle’s software packages - Kafoodle Kitchen and Kafoodle Electronic Personalised Meal Ordering (ePMO). Kafoodle Kitchen enabled the village to capture and manage ingredient data allowing allergen and nutrition information to be effectively communicated with staff, residents and diners. Meanwhile, custom profiles within ePMO filter the day's menu options to ensure that each resident is only able to order a meal that is suitable for them.
For the three-day trial, we:
- Digitalised over 30 recipes from the current menu onto Kafoodle Kitchen to include all ingredients and allergens
- Created menus on Kafoodle Kitchen
- Added tags to all meals which clearly identified food allergens
- Carried out ordering using the ePMO application on a tablet for the assisted living unit pre-order service and table ordering service in the restaurant.
Overall the trial went extremely well. Through using Kafoodle, staff at the village estimate they could save 30-45 minutes per meal ordering service during the mornings by removing the manual paper-based process. The restaurant team also found it would allow them to provide fresher food and be able to cook to order more efficiently by having the data readily available from ePMO, leading to a better resident experience, giving them the best quality of food. The chefs were also excited about the prospect of being able to have more freedom in what they cook and also having the nutritional and allergen content available on the new recipes, once they are inputted correctly on Kafoodle Kitchen.
While this was only a small trial in one of our village restaurants, Kafoodle’s innovative software proved to be an effective way to firstly manage any allergen risks and also provide a better food offering to our residents. A good healthy diet is an important part of living a longer, healthier, happier life. While an accurate record of food information, such as ingredients and allergens, and each resident’s conditions is essential to mitigate any risks.
Bupa’s Customer Lab offers start-ups and small businesses the chance to pilot and test their ideas inside a global health care company, while being mentored by senior Bupa business leaders and tech experts.