Satisfaction with and the importance of food service management companies performance in hospitals as compared to elements found in management proposals

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Approximately 20% of all hospitals in the United States utilize management contracts for the food service operation, and other hospital administrators are contemplating their use. Despite the rapid growth of contracting within hospital food service, very little is known about the performance of contractors.

This research was designed to produce new information about food service contracting in hospitals. A comparative content analysis of proposals from three food service management companies was conducted. It revealed that all proposals included the same basic categories of information, but the extent of detail provided in proposals varied.

A survey was sent to 909 hospital administrators that had been identified as utilizing food service contracts. Responses to the survey provided descriptive data about the hospitals and their food service contracts. Responses also measured the levels of satisfaction/dissatisfaction and importance/unimportance experienced by hospital administrators with their food service contracts.

Eight independent variables were tested to determine their influence on satisfaction and importance. They were:

1.) location of the hospital

2.) size

3.) length of present contract

4.) number of years using present contractor

5.) name of contractor

6.) length of previous contracts

7.) number of previous contractors

8.) total number of years contracted out

One parameter of size caused significant differences in the levels of satisfaction and importance. The other variables did not cause significant differences in satisfaction or importance.