Last month, healthcare operators met virtually for the Association for Healthcare Foodservice’s national conference to discuss current challenges and solutions in their segment. One of the major topics was COVID-19. Here are three steal-worthy ideas operators shared during the sessions.
1. Giving customers a choice
When Johns Hopkins Health System in Baltimore had to shut down its self-serve salad bar due to COVID-19, the dining team sought to find a way for customers to still be able to customize their meals rather than be forced to take premade options.
The team retrofitted a space in the cafeteria into a build-your-own salad concept called The Greens Project. Here, diners can select toppings for their salads, which are assembled by staff. Customers can choose from around 60 different toppings ranging from salmon to artichoke hearts.
“We get great reviews,” Senior Director of Food and Culinary Services Angelo Mojica says. “Our customers love it. They love to be able to make a choice.”
2. Flatbreads on the grill
Last summer, the team at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, N.J., debuted an outdoor grill station that became very popular. “Employees absolutely love it because it's a service that is different than their every day,” says Director of Nutritional Service Angela O’Neill. “They go out to get outside, enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the fresh air and have a nice cooked grilled meal.”
O’Neill and her team wanted to make sure that the grill station continued during the pandemic, especially since it was something that could be done with social distancing. To keep the concept fresh, they decided to try flatbreads on the grill this summer, which became a hit.
3. High-tops in the hallways
To get creative with seating due to social distancing restrictions, the foodservice team at Johns Hopkins Health System moved some high-top tables from the cafeteria to the hallway just outside. The seating, which is placed in front of the hallway windows, allows diners to have a place to charge their phones, eat a meal and enjoy the view.