National Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management
What are the most challenging aspects of a career in college and university foodservice? What about it do you find most rewarding?
The most challenging aspect is in understanding that the foodservice goals need to be constantly aligned with those of the healthcare institution. As the hospital goals change, foodservice directors need to adapt their department goals accordingly. This requires the ability to continually innovate, generate more revenue, and, be cost effective at the same time. Flexibility is essential.
The most rewarding part is being able to mentor new people in the profession and always being exposed to and learning about new aspects of this ever-changing and dynamic field
What are some typical jobs available to those interested in this field?
There is a wide range of career opportunities in healthcare foodservice. In hospitals, food and nutrition professionals with an undergraduate and/or advanced degree qalify for a position as the Director and/or Assistant Director of Food and Nutrition Services. Responsibilities include overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department and staff.
Other positions include Manager of Patient services in charge of meal delivery and patient menus; Food and Beverage manager, handling the retail area, food purchasing and food costing; Education Coordinator, conducting in-service training for all healthcare foodservice staff; and the Information Systems Analyst, who implements and oversees technology. Many manage other departments outside of Foodser-vice, such as Building Services, Escort Services, Materials Management and more. Some food and nutrition directors have been promoted to become healthcare executives at their facility.
Most foodservice directors are responsible for the retail foodservice in hospitals as well as patient services. The primary focus in retail is to provide foodservices to employees, visitors, guests, professional staff, and the like. That is one reason there is such a wide range of opportunities for chefs and food production supervisors. Also, long-term care facilities offer many opportunities of their own; in some cases they have foodservice operations that are very similar to those in a club environment.
What are compensation and benefit levels like?
Compensation levels can range from $40,000 i to over $140,000 n annual earning, depending on the facility, individual's position, geographic location, education and training. In addition to receiving typical benefits, some salaried foodservice professionals have the opportunity to manage other departments (e.g., gift shop, environmental services, etc.) and take advantage of additional training, depending on their length of service.
What would a culinary graduate or chef like about working in this field?
He or she will have the opportunity to obtain a thorough understanding of nutrition as it relates to food, and not just the culinary aspect, while running a multi-site operation with catering, retail café, patient services, etc. Further more, healthcare facilities typically afford regular business hours (rather than off-peak and night shifts) with more room for flexibility and rotation in scheduling, as well as strong benefits and tuition reimbursement.
What would someone interested in a management career find rewarding about this field?
It is extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to use all of one's management skills, from strategic planning to marketing to financials, and more. The average operation for an HFM member is roughly $1.5 million in annual expense. In essence, it is like running a small business.
What does HFM offer to students interested in college and university foodservices?
HFM offers access to the latest healthcare foodservice job opportunities around the country through the HFM Job Board, available on the Web site (www.hfm.org). Job postings are also listed in the association's quarterly newsletter, the innovator. Such postings put one in direct contact with potential employers and are updated regularly. Separately, HFM hosts regional networking events throughout the year for members and non-members¯ a wonderful opportunity to meet industry leaders, request informational interviews, and learn more about a career in healthcare foodservice and possible openings.
How can I find out more?
Simply visit www.hfm.org or call 212.297.2166 to request additional information on HFM, membership, programs, tools, events or the healthcare foodservice industry.