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.

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