Hospitals adding Indian concept to cater to foreign-born employees

Cafe Spice, Sodexo branded partnership helps directors offer authentic ethnic food.

In the cafeteria of Hurley Medical Center, in Flint, Mich., a doctor walks up to the steam trays at the Cafe Spice kiosk, takes a spoon, and flicks two grains of rice pulao into his mouth. He chews for several seconds, then walks to the other side of the counter and samples another batch. After careful deliberation, the doctor forgets the rice, takes two naan breads, douses his plate with mint chutney, and sits at a table with his colleagues—doctors from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. All of them have been eating curries, biryanis, and other Indian staples every day for lunch and dinner since the Cafe Spice kiosk opened here last summer.

“Before, we were eating a lot of mac and cheese,” groans Dr. Rao Mushtaq, a general practitioner originally from Pakistan. “My first year here my cholesterol shot up dangerously high,” echoes Dr. Vishwas Vaniawala, an Indian pediatrician. “Honestly, I used to skip lunches because I was sick of eating salads and sandwiches and chips.”

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Sodexo has partnered with fast casual Blaze Pizza to offer the chain’s signature pizzas, salads, beverages and desserts at select venues served by Sodexo, including colleges and universities.

Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

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