Reimagine Hospital Food Service
COVID-19 has forever altered hospital food service as we know it. With health systems experiencing major financial losses due to declined retail revenue, hospital leadership teams have transitioned beyond regaining normal footing and have worked to reimagine food service, embracing what’s new and staying committed to ensuring a safe food service environment for patients, guest, and associates in today’s new normal.
Let’s look at the below concepts to see how hospitals are transforming existing retail spaces and re-configuring traditional services models to recoup lost revenue and maximize safety and social distancing as hospitals chart a path--beyond COVID-19.
New Service Methods
Across health systems and businesses alike, you’ll find that self-service buffets are discontinued and hospitals have transitioned to a “served to you concept.”
So what’s this mean? Beyond transitioning from self-service buffets, creating a socially distanced environment in retail is expanding beyond spaced tables, Plexiglas, masked chefs and directional markers. Hospitals are turning to robotics in the form of meal dispensers and food lockers to distribute and pick up meals in a controlled, hygienic environment to ensure safety protocols are being met.
Food carts also continue to gain momentum as this concept brings your retail café to your nurses’ stations and floors.
Health systems are turning to mobile ordering to decrease face-to-face time between employees and food service staff, minimize waiting in the café areas and to facilitate specified pick-up times for meals to eliminate crowds even in a required 6’ distanced area.
With grab-and-go, pre-packaged and snack options on the rise, using mobile meal ordering such as GET, allows staff to pre-order a la carte pre-packaged items for pick up at pre-defined areas through the hospital. Mobile ordering also extends beyond on-site , and allows staff access to off-site merchants through no-contact delivery options. Learn more about mobile ordering for you hospital retail area here.
As hospitals continue to look for ways to minimize the impact of declined retail revenue, health systems are re-imagining existing retail spaces to offer pop-up convenience for staff through grocery and essential items to minimize additional stops on their way home. Locations such as Spectrum Health have opened micro-markets that allow guests to purchase items without the assistance of labor or labor associated costs.
In today’s new normal, our current state has taught us the importance of being agile and flexible in hospital food service. With new service models and innovation through technology, hospitals continue to push the needle to create greater retail spaces and food service experiences that accommodate guests and staff.
Learn what UC San Diego Health and Spectrum Health are doing in Cooking Up Creativity In Hospital Food Service.