We are in the people business. We spend much of our time pleasing our clients, guests, and patients. Unfortunately, our success there is often hard to measure. Further, our clients often want “quantifiable value” when we discuss the impact our partnership and service. Don’t misunderstand - economic denominators and key performance indicators can illustrate positive change and value. However, they don’t always represent the entirety and true impact of our services.
Even without relationship management or executive reporting (yes, there are organizations that don’t see the need for either), I believe Economic Denominators are absolutely essential for leaders to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of their respective operations. In our case, data regarding kitchen operations and the consumer experience are critical. Economic Denominators can reflect the drivers within the original proposal, monitor the added value of Thomas Cuisine and most importantly, provide a tool to isolate areas for improvement and progress in those areas. I gravitate to these facts and figures. They are predictable, measurable, and with some work easy to present.
If Economic Denominators are used to measure quantitative strengths and weaknesses in performance and also the progressive improvement, I say they are effective. However, it seems unreasonable to use these as the only measure of value. If you’ve stayed connect to our company’s blog, you have read about some of the things our staff does to impact other lives when they are in need. How would you express the value of Chef Vern Bauer’s hand made-to-order meal for a couple undergoing chemotherapy and their 15th wedding anniversary simultaneously in the hospital? Could it reasonably be expressed by the equation (Stress and Fear / Warmth, Caring and Giving = Value)? I don’t think so.
Caring and economics and caring and administrative practices are often considered in conflict with each other…The dominant institutional values and commitments are informed and guided by economics, technology, medical science, and administrative theory, instead of basic considerations of what it means to be human, to be vulnerable, to be ill, to be cured, to be cared for, to be healthy, and to be healed… This language conjures up an image of impersonal, functional exchange of fees for services or goods that require no humanity or human relationship, no authentic caring connection, no mutuality, and no compassionate human service ethic, philosophy, or value that guides the system…Caring and economics, however, are not mutually exclusive, in that human caring is an essential resource. Cost-benefit and cost- effectiveness models can and must include human caring healing— as a value-added resource, a foundational asset, as well as a more humane model to serve the whole.[i]
This argument made so eloquently by Dr. Watson is at the heart of our organizational values. Further, I argue it is the reason we are in the food service business. In all of our operations we hope to be a significant contributor to the caring that is so critical in the healing process. I encourage you to read Dr. Watson’s paper and consider the implications. While I have yet to arrive at a quantitative expression to illustrate the value of caring and a giving experience, there is value in giving a heartfelt well prepared meal to all of those we touch.
Greg Turpen, Vice President of Operations
Thomas Cuisine Management
[i] Watson, Jean. Caring Theory as an Ethical Guide to Administrative and Clinical Practices (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. 2006)