Room service saves hospital $1.5 million

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii’s Moanalua Medical Center saved money by bringing the operation in house.

HONOLULU, Hawaii — Kaiser Permanente Hawaii’s Moanalua Medical Center has been saving about $1.5 million a year in food costs by bringing meal preparation in-house and allowing patients to choose when and what they want to eat as the first hospital in Hawaii to offer a room-service menu.

The hospital, which until two years ago outsourced meal preparation to Aramark, changed its policy on food, along with other Kaiser hospitals across the country, to make sure patients got the food they wanted, when they wanted it.

The end result was a new kitchen and staff that take orders over the phone and prepare the meals as they’re needed.

The hospital now spends about $1.1 million per year operating the kitchen, with about 18 full-time employees who take down orders from patients in a separate room and hand them off to the cooks who put the food together in an assembly line fashion. The meals are then carted to the patients within 45 minutes of when the order was placed. Between providing this mixture of the services and cutting down on food waste, the hospital saves about $1.5 million each year.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

Ideas and Innovation
chicken and waffles

Our elementary menu is currently riding the breakfast-anytime advertising trend by offering Breakfast for Lunch every Tuesday. It ranks as our highest participation, and it was a great way for us to introduce chicken and waffles inspired by an IHOP dish.

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

Menu Development
meatloaf slices plate

“This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had,” a diner at Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications in Naperville, Ill., once told chef Iraj Fernando. The dish was rooted in a tried-and-true source—the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.”

“I just seasoned the breadcrumbs differently, used fresh parsley and beat the eggs to make them frothier,” says Fernando, executive chef and manager for Southern Foodservice Management.

Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows...

FSD Resources