Pitt County Memorial Hospital opens heart healthy café


Sept. 10-The 861-bed Pitt County Memorial Hospital is pushing healthy dining options to the forefront in its retail operations in an effort to improve employees' health and wellness. One of the ways Pitt County is achieving this is with the opening of a heart healthy café in the East Carolina Heart Institute, which is adjacent to the main hospital.


FoodService Director - Pitt County Hospital - heart healthy cafe"The menu consists of 80% heart healthy items, meaning that it meets the FDA guidelines for heart healthy," said Russ Currie, general manager of food and nutrition for Aramark at the hospital. Menu options are low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Currie said the café uses better-for-you preparation techniques like steaming in addition to using foods that promote better heart health, such as olive oils. "We have fryers over there that have never been used," he added.


Although pizza is on the menu at the café, it is a healthier version, with whole-wheat crust, low-sodium cheese and sauce and toppings like pepperoni are swapped for chicken sausage.


The café also offers salads, sandwiches and sushi. Healthy snacks such as hummus, whole-grain snack bars, and soy and pita chips are also available. All beverages using milk are made with skim milk unless a customer requests otherwise.

Currie said that about 23% of total sales come from the heart healthy café, which opened in January. About 800 meals a day are served in the café.


The heart healthy café isn't the hospital's first venture into healthy dining options. Ever since a call to action by the health system's CEO in 2003, Pitt County has offered at least one healthy selection at each of the main café's stations, and healthier grab-and-go items are placed at eye level and at impulse buying areas, such as the cash registers.

Another component of the foodservice program is heart healthy Fridays, when a meal consisting of an entrée, vegetable and starch is offered. The meal has fewer than 500 calories.


FoodService Director - Pitt County Hospital - heart healthy cafeCurrie said the push toward healthy has been gradual. "It was and will continue to be an evolution," Currie said. "Eastern Carolina communities tend to be unhealthy as far as their eating behaviors, so we felt that doing a super aggressive change was not in our best interest and that we would try to move people along the continuum of healthy. My goal is that I don't want people to leave campus. I want to provide what they want here and also to help with their health and wellness."


Currie said that since the healthy changes have been made, there has been an increase in people buying at least some component of a healthy meal.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
growth spurts

Whether inching along or in leaps and bounds, nearly all noncommercial segments are expected to see foodservice growth in 2018, according to Technomic’s 2017 U.S. Foodservice Industry data, powered by Ignite. But what stories do the numbers tell about the kind of year operators should expect—and why is that growth happening?

Ideas and Innovation
all-day breakfast

Every year around this time, the arbiters of culinary fashion predict how dining in restaurants will change once the New Year’s confetti is swept away. The poor dears, sweating up their all-black duds. Instead of struggling to read oolong leaves and animal entrails, all a true hipster need do is hang out in a noncommercial facility and note what’s already caught on there. If they’d done it two years ago, they’d have been hailed as savants for knowing all-day breakfast and the blurring of dayparts would reshape the mainstream dining-out market. The trend would be a bright spot for many a...

Industry News & Opinion

Italian food hall chain Eataly is making plans for a 2018 initial public offering in its home country, according to a report this week in Financial Times.

The company plans to list shares on the Italian stock exchange in Milan “as early as next year,” Eataly Executive Chairman Andrea Guerra told Financial Times .

Eataly is eager to expand the presence of its massive Italian food emporiums in the U.S., which have helped spur the growing food hall trend . The company has five locations here, with two in New York City and one each in Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. Financial...

Industry News & Opinion

Students staffing the foodservice department at Rutgers University will soon get an hourly pay bump, as the New Brunswick, N.J., university is raising its wage for student workers to $11 an hour, philly.com reports.

The increase will go in effect Jan. 1 and will impact 13,000 students.

The fight to raise wages at the school was spearheaded by student group United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), which is continuing to push the university to increase student wages to $15.

The fight for a $15 wage for student workers has spread at schools throughout the country,...

FSD Resources