Cooking Up Savings with GPO Expertise

Over the course of the last year, Taimi Ando, Director of Culinary at Barclay Friends- A Kendal Affiliate, initiated a process that has led to high satisfaction among residents and budget savings for the community.

Following last year’s Kendal Annual Gathering of Culinary Directors and Chefs, Taimi was inspired to dive deep into the best practices for optimizing food purchases. Taimi discovered that with some fine tweaking of operational processes, savings and better products were available within the structure of Kendal’s affiliation and connection to Entegra, Kendal’s GPO partner for food purchases.

In a time of high inflation in food costs, Kendal culinary teams often must consider menus that keep in mind the sensitivity to tight community budgets and expanding demand for an enhanced resident experience in culinary programs. Taimi set forth the necessary effort to analyze the current culinary procurement program and optimize in areas that reduce “cost per plate” while continuing to offer exceptional dining experiences for residents.

Custom Order Guides

To harness the full potential of the Entegra GPO within the Sysco ordering platform, Taimi spearheaded the creation of a custom order guide indicating the most cost-effective items that meet Barclay Friend’s expectations of quality and taste. This targeted approach helped to streamline purchasing, integrating it into existing procurement and buying processes.

Taime Ando shares GPO expertise

Taimi achieved this by analyzing twelve months of purchase history and testing alternative items. Barclay Friend’s Head Chef, Ken Nichols, then utilized the custom order guide, gradually transitioning purchases, saving over $27,000 in the fourth quarter of 2023 alone.

This analysis and development of the order guide has moved Barclay Friends up as a top user of the Entegra GPO, currently at a 70%+ contract compliance rate. Taimi and the team review this guide quarterly as items and costs change.

High Resident Satisfaction

The substantial cost reduction is significant. More important was resident satisfaction with the change, as it opened the door to access to high-quality national brands at lower prices.

Barclay Friends was able to elevate its culinary offerings, something most people do not consider when pursuing typical cost-saving initiatives.

Teamwork and Education

Taimi worked with Chef Ken to help him educate culinary team members on the program and how it could benefit the community. There was some trial-and-error in testing new products, while some changes meant ordering different package sizes that the culinary team adjusted to.

The Road Ahead with Tech

While the manual integration of the GPO was successful for Barclay Friends, this time-intensive process can be a barrier for other communities and culinary teams looking for similar results.

Dan Rock, Kendal’s Procurement Director, notes that software in development by Sysco, Entegra, and Direct Supply would use AI tools to streamline and optimize the ordering process.

Kendal will continue to evaluate and identify efficient processes and savings as new technology and opportunities become available.