Local residents treat hospitals as dining destination

Pizza ovens and made-to-order meals prove popular.

July 26—Local hospitals in Fort Wayne, Ind.,  are moving away from the stereotypical hospital dinner platter of some form of pot roast mystery meat, lumpy mashed potatoes, green beans toward a model that is making the hospitals more like restaurants in the eyes of local residents. 

One major benefit to treating a hospital cafeteria more as a restaurant and less as a factory is the specialization factor. At Dupont Hospital, when a patient calls for room service, the food preparation employees see who’s calling, and they see the patient’s dietary restrictions, says Jeff Kolkman, nutritional services specialist at Dupont Hospital. This makes it easier for a patient to get the appropriate food for his or her condition.

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Drew Allen didn’t hesitate when asked what he expects of noncommercial dining in the future. “Change,” he says. “We have to change with the times and what our guests are looking for.”

Allen, the director of culinary services at Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices in Lebanon, Ohio, says the more the residents and guests at Otterbein change, the more diverse eating habits his team has the chance to explore. One of those changing habits, he says, is diners’ growing desire for portable, made-to-order items . That’s a theme borne out by data, too—and is true across dayparts. Roughly 67%...

Ideas and Innovation
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Ideas and Innovation
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Communication is key, and [managers] are busy too. One tip I picked up from another director was to label my subject line with the header “action,” “information” or “response” followed by a brief description of the email contents. That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later.

Ideas and Innovation
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