Becky Ellis: Community partner

Becky Ellis has enhanced the foodservice program at Carilion Clinic by enhancing patient foodservice.

At a Glance

  • 1.5 million patient meals served each year
  • $17 million budget
  • 217 FTEs
  • 7 retail outlets

Accomplishments

Becky Ellis has enhanced the foodservice program at Carilion Clinic by:

  • Fostering partnerships with a number of organizations, including two local colleges, the ACF and Health Care Without Harm
  • Promoting health and wellness on the retail side through the Choose Wisely program and a Choice Plus vending program
  • Enhancing patient foodservice through a new ordering system that allows patients to order meals closer to mealtimes
  • Overseeing the renovation of the 300-seat Mountain View Café at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, the system’s largest facility

The patient experience

With the goal of Carilion’s projects being to enhance the patient experience, Ellis and her team have most recently focused on improving the foodservice portion with a new menu and ordering system. The menu has been altered to provide the widest variety of items that a cycle menu can, while offering options for the growing number of allergy-driven and gluten-sensitive diets.

Along with the menu changes has been an alteration of the ordering system, as well as new non-skid meal trays and tableware. Diet techs now use Ultrabooks to take patients’ orders much closer to mealtimes.

“It has been amazing watching our techs learning all the technology they need for the system, and the patients really like being able to order meals right before service,” Ellis says. “We’ve implemented the program in three units at our largest hospital and are planning to expand it to the rest of the hospital shortly.”

Shockey says Ellis’ management skills have enabled the department to make so many changes. “The way [Becky] manages her team is phenomenal,” Shockey notes. “She has different managers and different levels, each with their own different needs, and she is able to give them the latitude they need while maintaining control.”

Ellis herself credits the skills of her leadership team with giving her the ability to be that inquisitive, probing soul.

“We have top-notch leaders, and I rely on them to come up with new ideas, to study the trends and be innovative,” she says. “My role is to put the pieces of the puzzle together and find the resources that will help our team succeed.”

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
chili spaghetti

Iconic local dishes like Cincinnati chili may not be entirely healthy, but they are incredibly popular. Across the country, K-12 operators are finding ways to add these foods to their lunch menus while still meeting their nutritional requirements. How are they adapting popular recipes and bringing them to schools—and is it worth it?

Cincinnati chili has been a staple of Mason City Schools lunches for as long as anyone can remember. Located just outside of Cincinnati, the school system serves its chili in two traditional ways: covering a pile of spaghetti, or atop a cheese Coney dog...

Ideas and Innovation
torch flame

There’s more than one way to open a wine bottle. When a corkscrew is nowhere to be found, David Brue—chef de cuisine and production manager for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s central production kitchen in Columbus, Ohio—reaches for his butane torch.

“I can never find a corkscrew anywhere, but for some reason, I always have a torch,” Brue says. “Heat the neck of the bottle carefully, and the cork pops right out.”

Managing Your Business
uconn gluten free bakery

When Amarillo Independent School District opened a central bakery , the foodservice team faced years of challenges: getting a handle on equipment, refining recipes and planning for shrinkage, says Michael Brungo, residential district manager of dining services for Chartwells at the Amarillo, Texas, district. Through trial and error, the right solutions at the bakery—which provides sliced bread and sandwich buns for the district’s 55 schools—rose to the top.

Though kitchens in general can be a minefield of issues, bakeries present some unique challenges thanks in part to the finicky...

Managing Your Business
food safety manager paperwork

Food safety can be a lot to handle, requiring plenty of paperwork and diligence to ensure a kitchen complies with health regulations. It’s important to assess the structure of a food safety program —and to know what’s required, and what’s just good to have on hand.

In recent years, as Virginia Tech’s foodservice operations have expanded, so has its Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points strategy. The Blacksburg, Va., university doubled its food safety staff to two employees, in addition to a training project coordinator and a manager to teach basic food safety classes to...

FSD Resources