Outsource-free food suits Radius

Ace Food Services operations manager Julie Cooper and managing director Peter Kennett. Photo:...
Ace Food Services operations manager Julie Cooper and managing director Peter Kennett. Photo: Christine O'Connor

A Dunedin chef designs and oversees the menus in all of Radius Care's 22 facilities after the aged care provider was burned by a bad outsourcing experience.

One of the meals offered at Radius Fulton in Dunedin. Photo:Christine O'Connor
One of the meals offered at Radius Fulton in Dunedin. Photo:Christine O'Connor

Radius Care managing director Brien Cree, of Auckland, said he opposes food outsourcing for a simple reason - the quality of the food suffers.

"The fact remains that when you outsource food, they want to make a margin on it.''

Radius had struck "huge trouble'' with outsourced food at various sites.

"I'm anti-contract cooking.''

The company contacted the Otago Daily Times to talk about food outsourcing after months of publicity about the Southern District Health Board's foray into outsourced food production.

Ace Food Services managing director Peter Kennett, who is based at Radius Fulton, in Dunedin, designs and oversees the menus for all Radius sites. Mr Kennett's business also cooks the food at Radius Fulton, but it is not an outsourcing arrangement, Mr Cree says.

"We control all aspects of the process.

"Food is purchased on our account and managed by us.''

Fiscal savings from outsourced food were often not what they seemed.

"For example, if an in-house chef directly purchased a $10 cut of meat for a meal, then they'd end up with a $10 cut of meat.

"The second you outsource this, however, your $10 cut of meat becomes an $8 cut of meat with a $2 mark-up,'' Mr Cree wrote in a blog posting.

Mr Cree said he was not ideologically opposed to outsourcing, but it did not work for food services.

"We went from endless complaints, under the contract food suppliers, ... weekly, to now [when] I get compliments about the food.

"By managing it yourself you can do a better job.''

Mr Kennett said there was some flexibility for local Radius chefs. For instance, swedes on the menu in the South Island were not seen at North Island facilities.

Mr Kennett's business also provides outsourced catering for other aged care facilities in Dunedin and Mosgiel.

The business produces about 5000 meals for aged care residents every day.

Operations manager Julie Cooper said outsourcing could be successful when facilities and food businesses had a close working relationship, easier to do in a city the size of Dunedin.

"For [Mr Cree] and his business, he wants to do it that way. Other businesses have decided to go another way.

"We agree wholeheartedly with what he's doing, fantastic, but we also agree with what we're doing because we think we do a really good job, and obviously our clients do as well.''

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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