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14 JUL 2023 Seminar

Menu Engineering for Assisted Living Facilities

Professor Sadan Kulturel-Konak

Professor Sadan Kulturel-Konak

Abstract: Assisted living facilities are a rapidly growing segment of senior living communities providing end-to-end solutions comprising independent living, assisted living, nursing home care, and hospice. All these establishments contain (in addition to other facilities associated with living, exercising, learning, activities, etc.) dining services managed by an interdisciplinary (finance, nutrition, dietitian, kitchen operations, hospitality, and procurement) team of executives, each with their own objective while cognizant of the overarching organizational, operational, and financial metrics. The residents of these facilities consume most of their meals at these dining facilities, necessitating that the food served meets the complete nutrition, dietary, cost, and operational requirements. Thus, the menu (often rotating every few weeks) of food items must be carefully chosen to be efficiently procured, processed, and served while meeting the nutritional, dietary, and patron satisfaction constraints put forth by the corresponding stakeholder. We address this complex, unwieldy, and large multi-objective optimization problem using mixed integer linear programming. We demonstrate how menu planners and chefs can analyze their decisions regarding menu structures and evaluate alternative menu interventions to improve menus’ nutritional value while ensuring their residents’ autonomy in making food choice decisions. Along the way, we interviewed various stakeholders, identified their objectives and constraints, gathered the necessary data, formulated and solved the resulting optimization problems, and produced demonstrably effective menus.

Bio: Sadan Kulturel-Konak is a Professor of Management Information Systems and the Director of the Flemming Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED) Center at Penn State Berks. Dr. Kulturel also has an affiliated and graduate faculty appointment at Penn State Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. She received her Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Auburn University. Her research focuses on modeling and optimizing complex systems using hybrid approaches combining heuristic methods and exact techniques from probability and operations research. The primary application areas of her research include designing and redesigning facilities to provide significant economic benefits for industries. She is a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). She served as the President of the INFORMS-Women in OR/MS (WORMS), the Chair of INFORMS- Facility Logistics Special Interest Group, and the ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Chair. She is currently an academic member of the College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE). She is an Associate Editor of the Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence (Elsevier). She has been a principal investigator in several sponsored projects from National Science Foundation (NSF) and VentureWell. 


14 July 2023 (Friday)




Professor Sadan Kulturel-Konak


HW 8-28

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