Rehab Hospital Nixes Deep-Fry

Canada facility’s sales rise nearly 20% after facility and menu upgrades.

Sales at the bistro at Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, part of the Capital Health network in Edmonton, Alberta, are up 19% and catering is growing since the hospital overhauled its cafeteria, ditched all deep-fryers and revamped the menu with more healthful items.

FoodService Director - Glenrose Rehabiliation Hospital - deep fryerGlenrose Bistro debuted last January after a year’s worth of planning and renovation of the 20-year-old cafeteria, reports Khaleed Khan, regional manager of hospitality for Capital Health. The multi-station bistro offers a grab-and-go section; self-serve soup station; panini grill; a made-to-order composed salads line; and a display cooking area that boasts a made-to-order pasta program and Chinese wok stir-fries.

The facility has gone from operating at a deficit before the revamping to breaking even within its first three months. “We’re ahead of schedule in terms of financial performance,” he asserts, adding that significant growth in catering sales—approximately 270%—is the “gravy” of the program at the 400-bed rehab hospital.

Glenrose Bistro is generating a daily average of $1,400 to $1,500 in sales, compared to $1,200 before the renovation. The check average is $3.44, up about 6.5% over the previous average of $3.23. “Lunch spending has gone up,” says Khan, noting that there have also been some price adjustments. “We changed prices, but still kept them moderate, because we know there are thresholds we can’t cross.”

Frying away: One threshold the hospital did cross, however, was the elimination of the old cafeteria’s top two sellers—french fries and fried chicken fingers. Khan says the menu items and recipes the bistro uses had to pass muster with the resident dietitians who established guidelines including criteria for the amounts of fat, fiber and sodium that should be in each.

This approach fits with a Capital Health initiative called Weight Wise, a program offering support, treatment and education in weight management. Glenrose was the first hospital in the system to implement it.

A particularly popular item at the bistro is the rice bowl, which is a mix of chicken, brown rice and other grains pre-cooked in a wok and then held in a display case, since it can take up to five minutes to prepare. Other strong performers are the panini sandwiches and the bistro feature of the day, which includes such entrees as oven-roasted chicken, salmon filet and pasta dishes.

“We’re staying away from the processed foods and using fresh ingredients as much we possibly can, and that’s meeting with success from our customers,” he reports.

Together, the redesign and the new menu reap many rewards, both tangible and intangible, according to Khan. Food costs are under target, for example. And though labor costs bumped upwards a bit with the decreased usage of pre-processed foods and the increase in display cooking, Khan says labor costs are coming down progressively, and are countered by greater control of portion sizes and decreased waste—not to mention happy customers.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Two chefs at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., are trying to help solve the Mars food dilemma, myfoxspokane.com reports .

Just outside the school’s cafeteria, Executive Chef Timothy Grayson and his partner, Christine Logan-Travis, are trying their hand at growing tomatoes, oregano, basil and other plants in Martian Regolith Soil, the closest soil on Earth to that found on the fourth planet from the sun.

All of the plants in the Mars-inspired garden are intended for human consumption.

“It is a reality that at some point, if man goes to Mars, they will need to...

Industry News & Opinion

Access to fresh produce just got easier for students at the University of Virginia.

The Charlottesville, Va., university’s dining service has partnered with Greens to Grounds , a student-run nonprofit organization that delivers locally grown produce to students. Though students could previously purchase Greens to Grounds produce, they can now use a portion of their meal plans to do so, thecavalier.com reports .

Students can choose between a snack box or produce box, the ingredients in which usually require no cooking, and can place their orders online. The base boxes cost...

Industry News & Opinion

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

FSD Resources