2013 Goldies: UNC Health Care, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Restaurant Delivery takes retail items and brings them to patients.

Even sushi, from UNC’s Red Ginger concept, is
available to patients.

There are a number of programs run by the foodservice department at UNC Health Care that can demonstrate best practices in non-commercial foodservice. For example, there is the Black Hat Chef program, which provides training and career advancement for cooks, and Kids Carts, which provide meals and treats to pediatric patients. But to Director of Nutrition and Food Services Angelo Mojica, no program exemplifies the gold standard in foodservice like Restaurant Delivery.

“This is our best because it is something that is important to the entire team,” Mojica says. “The clinical team, the retail team, the patient services team, the administrative support team, everyone had to pull together and be a part of this for it to work.”

Restaurant Delivery is an offshoot of a retail foodservice program Mojica and his team created. Launched in April 2012 after an 18-month trial, Restaurant Delivery provides on-demand foodservice for patients from 20 in-house created concepts. The stations, developed during the last several years, include Bandolero’s, a Mexican concept; Cosmo’s, a pizza/pasta concept similar to Sbarro; The Lighter Side, which features healthier entrées; and Red Ginger, a Pan-Asian concept.

Patients receive a 20-page menu from which, diets permitting, they can order at any time. (The program recently was expanded to around-the-clock service.)

“This gives most patients more than 90 entrées to choose from,” Mojica notes. He adds that patients on special diets receive pamphlets explaining the diet and directing them to appropriate choices on the menu. The process is enhanced by call center employees who are taught how to help such patients navigate the menu.

Although Restaurant Delivery seems like a complex idea, Mojica says he believes that any hospital can implement a variation of it. “You don’t have to run a 20-page menu; you can do eight or 10 pages,” he explains. “It’s more about starting with something that you know is good, holding your team accountable for it and then building from that nucleus.

“For us, it was starting with macaroni and cheese,” he adds. “From there it went to Bandolero’s to the next concept and the next concept. The key is taking small bits and building on them. We started with retail and then, when we were satisfied, we turned around and launched it for patients.”

If Press Ganey scores in the 99th percentile weren’t enough to prove Restaurant Delivery’s success, the foodservice team got further validation last month from the nursing staff.

“I attend a regular nurse managers meeting,” Mojica recalls, noting that in the meetings he often fields complaints from nursing staff. “[Recently] I was asked by the vice president who oversees the meetings to bring my team with me. I thought, ‘Oh, boy, this is going to be really rough.’”

However, when Mojica’s food-services team arrived, the nurse managers gave them a standing ovation. “I had never even received applause from nurses, let alone a standing ovation,” he says. “That was so important for my staff to experience.”

Program Highlights

UNC Health Care’s Restaurant Delivery program represents the gold standard for non-commercial foodservice because:

• It increases patient satisfaction by offering patients more variety and dining convenience than with even a standard room service program

• It maximizes labor efficiency by using staff who already were preparing meals for the retail operation, rather than adding staff dedicated solely to patient food

• That cross-utilization of kitchen staff has led to a 6% decrease in labor costs

• Sous vide technology has been applied to a number of the items being prepared, resulting in improved food safety, product yield and quality, while also reducing the time from order to plating by as much as 10 minutes

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