Tim Bauman: Fully Committed

You’d be hard pressed to find someone more involved in healthcare foodservice than Tim Bauman, director of food and nutrition services at 167-bed Wood County Hospital in Bowling Green, Ohio. He is a 35-year veteran of the foodservice industry, 18 of which has been as director at Wood County. He was on the national board for the American Society of Healthcare Food Service Administrators (ASHFSA) for four and a half years; he is Ohio’s state president for the Dietary Managers Association; he is on several other regional and national advisory boards; he teaches a class for dietetics majors at Bowling Green State University; and he recently published his first book, The Food Service Managers Tune-Up Book. Bauman admits he has a hard time saying no, which helps explain the many changes that have taken place  the past couple of years.

With so much experience, it is no wonder that Bauman has been able to create an innovative and well-managed foodservice department at Wood County Hospital, where he manages a foodservice program that has 30 FTEs and serves an average of 1,200 meals each day. He oversees the retail cafeteria, vending, an on-site catering program that averages between 50 and 70 events each week, a Meals on Wheels program and a student intern program for Bowling Green State University’s dietetics program.

Cafeteria culture: “I am big on fighting boredom with people who are repeat customers, and in an employee operation, there is a lot of repeat,” Bauman says. “I hand-write a cafeteria menu that is totally different every week. I typically start with the entrée and I base the rest of the meal around that so that the vegetables and starch are appropriate for whatever entrée I pick.”

For example, a typical cafeteria menu for a day will have three entrées.  Bauman will pull two of those entrées from the one-week patient cycle menu. The last item will be a completely different entrée than those offered on the patient menu or one that has been offered in the cafeteria previously. Bauman says he rarely repeats the non-patient menu items in the cafeteria. Even with a popular item, such as beef brisket, Bauman says he may only menu the item three to five times a year.

Another way Bauman prevents customer fatigue is by staging promotions in the cafeteria. One recent promotion was designed to help customers select foods that are high in fiber. The promotion, developed by an intern from Bowling Green, provided cafeteria patrons with information about which foods contained a high fiber content, such as the café’s ziti bake, roasted vegetable lasagna and red pepper crab bisque, which were on the menu that week. Display cooking also helps create “a bit of theater” in the café.

Bauman says a major reason he can create this type of menu is because of the culinary expertise of his staff. “The staff here really can turn on a dime. I have four people who are schooled chefs. It’s a staff that you can hand anything to and they just make it, as opposed to a lot of places where it’s roast beef every Tuesday whether you like it or not.”

Ray Hohman, kitchen manager/chef supervisor, has spent the last 16 years working under Bauman. For his part, Hohman says the stigma of bad hospital food has been erased at Wood County because of the administration and Bauman’s commitment. “The administration has chosen to allow Tim to put together a strong kitchen and I think it’s showing,” Hohman says. “Tim’s biggest asset is he realizes people’s strengths and weaknesses and allows people to excel. If someone is not successful in one position, Tim has the foresight to find him another job where he can succeed. So you have a success story rather than a rehire situation.”

Bauman says the most rewarding part of his job is teaching and managing people, which has helped to create an environment where apprenticeship is valued. The average tenure for foodservice employees at the hospital is 12 years. That number used to be higher, but many people who had been with the hospital for more than 30 years retired recently. “There are so many things that you can only learn on the job,” Bauman says. “I started top-down with high quality chefs. There is a heavy emphasis on technique, procedure and outcomes. I want people to have pride in their knife skills. When people have a lot of pride in the work they do, it makes them want to stay and build on each other.”

Tim Bauman, FSD of the Month, March 2009Mapping the menu: In 2008, Bauman and his staff decided to tackle employee dining habits head-on with a program called Meal Maps and Menu Markers. In the program, a registered dietitian analyzes every item sold in the cafeteria for nutrition information such as calories, fat, sodium, cholesterol and carbohydrates. That information is then printed on stickers and placed on the menu items.

“This is an offshoot of what some states and cities are doing with requiring restaurant chains to supply nutrition information to customers,” Bauman says. “I see this as a trend that will increasingly take hold in the United States.” He admits there is a lot of up-front work—eight labor hours a week were added to get the program running—but he says once the program has been fully implemented, it will take little work to maintain it.

Bauman hopes this information will sway customers to make healthier purchases. While he acknowledges changing people’s dining habits is difficult, Bauman says when customers are supplied with educational materials they are more likely to make healthier food decisions. Part of that education is helping customers make a balanced plate. “What we are doing is preaching the total meal concept,” Bauman says. “Say you decide to splurge on a dessert and it’s got 50% of the calories from fat. You might then pick a salad with a low-fat dressing to go along with that. If you put the salad together with your dessert, the total calories from fat might fall down to 28%. So it will show you where you are allowed to splurge or where you can cut. We try to create interesting menus and then train people how to eat in a healthy way.” The goal is to have a plate with 30% of calories or less from fat.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce eat dining

Forced to battle crumbling infrastructure and a constant churn of trends, sometimes the best way to save a foodservice operation is to change it entirely. As Steve Mangan, director of dining at the University of Michigan, puts it, “At some point when your building starts to fail, the cost of maintenance stands out.” But for operators with limited budgets, the challenge is discerning the right time to do so—and how far to take it.

At Jefferson High School, change came because little worked anymore. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, school’s cafeteria hadn’t been updated since 1957; students...

Managing Your Business
farmer produce

The seeds of farm-to-table 2.0 have officially blown into noncommercial foodservice. Since the movement has caught the attention of the segment during the past decade, operators have broadened agricultural collaborations outside of just supply. As a result, a new strain of the movement has been created that treats farms as allies in events, training and innovative growing systems.

The 500-bed Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., didn’t start out sourcing produce from local farms; instead, it administered its own growing programs, including an on-site garden and honeybee apiary...

Ideas and Innovation
fsd screenshot web

A full year has passed since we redesigned FoodService Director magazine, taking the publication from its longtime tabloid dimensions to a more convenient size and more creative design, and recasting the content to provide actionable, peer-to-peer insights and ideas for FSDs.

Now we are thrilled to announce that we’ve extended the makeover to our website as well. The new FoodServiceDirector.com has been redesigned to be more engaging and even easier to use. We’ve made it faster to find information, from recipes to HR best practices, that will help you run your facility better....

Managing Your Business
wage feud business

As plans to increase the minimum wage surge ahead in states such as New York and California, operators eventually will feel the reverberations shake up labor costs for more than just hourly workers. As associate wages gain on manager salaries, operators will have to answer a call for reciprocal increases. FSD spoke with operators who advised going gently into the brave new world of heightened labor costs, investing in talent and making cuts elsewhere; however, they did offer three perfectly proactive tactics to make the process as seamless as possible.

1. Keep talking

Even though...

FSD Resources