UCMC left no stone unturned during remodel

By 
Dana Moran, Managing Editor

university chicago medical center exterior

Since the University of Chicago Medical Center was completing a floor-to-ceiling redesign and expansion of one of its patient kitchens after just one year, the project proved a chance to perfect. “Even down to the tiniest details, I feel like we got things right,” says MaryPat Severns, Aramark resident director of food services at the university. 

Dishware

dishes stack

Upgrading the space from a rack dishwasher to a flight model means washing moves much faster. Two employees are dedicated to scraping, clearing, loading and unloading dishes.

Cleanliness

kitchen drain

In the kitchen’s previous design, some drains were tough to reach, making pest control a potential issue, Severns says. Her tip to operators: Make sure your flow is easy to maintain, as well as efficient.

Employee safety

eyewash station

The accessibility of eyewash stations, fire extinguishers and emergency alert systems was “all done very well,” Severns says.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
food snap

We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

Ideas and Innovation
hybrid worker

Some of our employees can work four 10-hour days. It’s really helped with balance. We’ve also created a lot of hybrid positions, such as a personal services assistant and foodservice worker role. It allows workers to pick up more shifts and cover both positions.

Ideas and Innovation
cheeseburger

We set up an interactive collaboration with our dietetics department where students worked with our culinary team to test how recipes are imagined and produced. One of the recipes they came up with was a barbecue tempeh sandwich, which they believed was a great option for vegan students across campus. We added the sandwich to our On the Go program and then expanded it to our vegan station on campus due to its success.

Ideas and Innovation
salad bowl

We have reorganized our salad bars to not only include the traditional DIY salad ingredients, but also several daily entree salads. Our students requested 32-ounce heavy glass salad bowls that have been wildly popular. The big bowls allow students to load up on their favorite salads and customize with additional ingredients from around the servery. We have seen a significant surge in usage that cuts across all groups, including athletes.

FSD Resources