2015 Healthcare Census: Retail continues to reign at hospitals

Plus see what trends rule menus and other highlights from our 2015 Hospital Census.

Survey snapshot

Total number of hospitals surveyed: 148

Partly self-operated/Partly contract-managed2%

Annual food and beverage purchases

Under $200,00023%
$1 million—$4,999,99929%
$5 million or more14%

Whom do you serve?

Feeding Patients

218—The average number of patients fed daily per hospital, up 12 from last year’s Hospital Census. Once again, hospitals in the Northeast and South serve more patients daily (466 and 226, respectively) compared to those in the West and central part of the country (161 and 118, respectively).

Room service at the top

Nearly half (45 percent) of the hospitals in our survey offer on-demand room service for patients. The larger the hospital, the more likely it is to offer such a program.

Under $200,00030%
$1 million—$4,999,99949%
$5 million or more71%

Room service by region

On-demand room service is most prevalent at hospitals in the central United States and least likely to be found at hospitals in the South.

map US

Retail rules

Ninety-one percent of hospitals surveyed offer both retail and patient services.

As in previous years, retail meals exceed patient meals.

Patient meals41%
Retail meals/transactions59%

64% of of hospitals surveyed that say their retail business has grown over the last two years.

1,009 is the average daily meal count/transactions for retail business, up from 981 last year.

Feeding the third shift

Overall, 55 percent of hospital operators say they offer some type of foodservice for late-night or third-shift employees. Here’s how it breaks down by hospitals’ annual purchases:

Under $200,00038%
$1 million—$4,999,99965%
$5 million or more79%

Types of late night service offered

Vending machine with meal-type items43%
Partial cafeteria40%
Full cafeteria13%
Lounge with foodservice for medical staff13%
Unstaffed c-store or micromart11%
Staffed c-store or micromart10%

Menu trends

Vegetarian options on the rise

Gluten-free items remain the top menu trend hospital operators expect to increase in the next two years. Vegetarian items claimed the No. 2 spot this time, with half of hospitals anticipating an increase, while local sourcing slipped to third place. 

Local sourcing42%

Local sourcing behind produce

Seventy percent of operators say they source at least some products locally. Of those operators, 16 percent of their total purchases are locally sourced. Here’s what they buy:

Baked goods47%

Charting dayparts

Late night recovers

Every hospital that offers retail dining provides lunch service in their retail cafeteria/dining areas. The number of hospitals offering late-night service in these areas bounced back this year, with 33 percent offering this service compared to 23 percent last year and 31 percent two years ago.

Late night33%




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