J Korean Diet Assoc.  2022 May;28(2):67-84. 10.14373/JKDA.2022.28.2.67.

Current Status of Outsourced Food Service Operations According to the Type of Long-Term Care Institution and Plans for Improvement

  • 1Health Insurance Research Institute, National Health Insurance Service, Wonju 26464, Korea
  • 2Dept. of Food Science and Nutrition, Dankook University, Cheonan 31116, Korea


This study aimed to explore the status of food service outsourcing behavior of long-term care institutions (LTCIs) through a cross-sectional survey using a questionnaire administered between July 16th and August 7th, 2020. The survey respondents were either dietitians or facility managers, who worked at 731 nursing homes, 477 group homes, and 673 day-care centers. Approximately 25.9% of nursing homes, 11.7% of group homes, and 33.1% of day-care centers used a managed-services company to operate their food service units. The main reason for outsourcing food service by nursing homes was related to the staffing of dietitians and cooks, whereas group homes and day-care centers outsourced food services due to factors relating to meal costs and the cooking process. Almost all the LTCIs entered into private contracts for outsourced food services. Only a few food service contracts included the types of meals, nutrition standards such as protein and calories per meal, and the parameter or ratio of food cost. Of the respondents, 84.5% from nursing homes, 87.5% from group homes, and 87.1% from day-care centers agreed that the quality of outsourced food services of the LTCIs should be regulated. Meals are essential for maintaining the health and functional status of LTCI users. As more LTCIs outsource their food services, we suggest the following: (1) Increasing the minimum dietitian staffing standards for LTCIs as per the Welfare of Senior Citizens Act and requiring at least one dietitian for every nursing home, (2) Making it mandatory to use a standard food service contract template when drafting food service contract, and (3) Developing realistic standards for food service operations considering the size and operation type of the LTCIs.


long-term care; food services; outsourced-service; self-operation
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