Hearst B-Well Program Offers Tools for Wellness

Specially designed meals help employees manage their dietary health.

By 
Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

Hearst's B-Well program features a monthly wellness topic.

Wellness has been a primary concern for Hearst Tower since the building opened in 2006. When the building first opened Hearst brought together the team from Restaurant Associates, which manages Café57, employees from the building’s Wellness Center, Hearst's registered dietitian and employees from the building’s theCLUB fitness center to work on a comprehensive wellness program that resulted in B-Well. B-Well, which is made up of three comprehensive services—fitness, nutrition and wellness— was designed to help Hearst employees work, eat and live a healthier, more balanced life, according to the program’s website.

“The Wellness Center is the healthcare service for Hearst employees,” Alexcia Smith, assistant general manager for RA at the account, says. “There is a certified nurse practitioner and nutritionist on site who actually work with the café in providing health tips for the B-Well program. Melissa Holowecki, certified nurse practitioner, and Melissa O’Shea, registered dietician, work on site at theCLUB, Hearst’s fitness center, along with Café57 in providing health tips for the B-Well program.”

B-Well meals: One way the wellness program is reflected in the café is through B-Well meals. Smith says the B-Well meal is a portion-and calorie-controlled meal, which is recommended by the dietitian to help customers control weight, focus on balancing blood sugar, fight cravings, maximize energy and optimize health. The meal contains an average of 502 calories, has one serving of complex carbohydrates, one serving of lean protein and two servings of vegetables. To make the B-Well meals complete, a piece of fruit and a bottle of either sparkling or still water is included.

“The B-Well meals are served daily from a specific station,” Smith says. “We’ve served items such as a really good miso-glazed salmon with quinoa and baby bok choy. One of our top sellers is our chicken and black currant meatballs, which we serve with bulgur and tomato sauce. Café57 features a B-Well day each month where we promote a specific health topic. For example, last month we focused on fiber and this month the focus is on the importance of walking, where we handed out energy bars and pedometers. On that day we will feature and sample a recipe that ties into the focus for the month.”

The B-Well Team consists of Smith; Lou Nowikas, senior director of corporate real estate and facilities planning; Aaron Breitman, general manager of Cafe57; Sarah Yani, marketing manager; Jayson Brown, executive chef; Merle Taylor, general manager of theCLUB; O’Shea; Holowecki; and Angela Salveo, marketing manager of theCLUB. The team meets on a monthly basis and plans what the focus of the B-Well day is going to be. As part of the special focus of the month, the departments also work together to create B-Well cards, which feature health tips, a calendar of wellness events and a recipe. The cards come out monthly and also are available on the Café57 website.

Whole + sum: One new aspect of the café’s wellness program is the introduction of Compass Group’s whole + sum program. The whole + sum program, which won an FSD Goldie last year in the health and wellness category [click here to watch the program’s Goldies video], features healthful, customizable meals for 600 calories or less.

“The B-Well meals are featured once a week and the whole + sum meals are served every day,” Smith says. “B-Well soups and sandwiches are featured daily. So there is a day where we offer both. Whole + sum meals are more themed. They are built around various regional cuisines like American, Mexican and Middle Eastern. Again, it’s a controlled-portion and a controlled-calorie meal. It’s been going really well.”

Marketing: Smith says Cafe57’s website has a B-Well blog, which is updated on a monthly basis.

“We have a B-Well blog that is updated to reflect the topic for that month,” Smith says. “It also talks about what we’ll be doing in the café and the B-Well meals that we’ll be serving. During the B-Well day we set up a table in the café where representatives from the fitness center and the nutritionist give information about the month’s topic.

“Our B-Well team also hosts B-Well lectures as well as Lunch & Learns where guest speakers are invited in to speak about a specific health topic,” she adds. “We also do a lot with our Facebook page and Twitter where we tweet information to the guests.

Smith says the biggest challenge the café has faced with the wellness program is getting customers to stick with the controlled portions.

“It’s obviously a lot less than what they would serve themselves,” Smith says. “People are not used to eating the correct portion size. The biggest challenge was getting people to stay inside the guidelines and not having them asking for more if they wanted to see results. The customers have been doing really well now that they understand the portions more. To make it easier we use specific utensils for servings items such as let’s say we want to serve four ounces of protein, then that utensil will only serve four ounces so it makes it easier on the server behind the line and makes it easier to explain to the customer.”

Smith says the commitment to the program from all the departments involved is what makes it successful.

“I think we need to focus on trying to achieve optimal levels of wellness,” Smith says. “Just by taking an integrated approach to helping employees achieve healthy lifestyles is a step in the right direction. It’s better that we provide the customers information to customize something specific to them so then it will be easier to for them to see the results rather than having them do a bunch of different things on their own.”