New Year’s resolutions seem to prove almost impossible to keep—but for foodservice directors with a renewed budget, creativity and eager diners on their side, January is a great time to launch into fresh projects. FoodService Director chatted with hospital operators and chefs to see what they’ll be unveiling in 2018.
Growing sales without growing space
With numerous foodservice, coffee and vending locations on its main campus, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s diners aren’t hurting for options. But Culinary Director Drew Patterson is looking to grow at the Columbus, Ohio, hospital in another way—by selling more food. “Our staffing numbers keep climbing, but our space will stay the same [in 2018], so we’re working on creative solutions like delivery, pickup, etc.,” he says. “That way we can sell food without people coming into the space.”
How does your garden grow?
For some operators, 2018’s biggest goals are still the seed of an idea—literally. Children’s Hospital Colorado will be finalizing plans to implement a garden, says JP Krause, executive chef for the food services department at the Aurora, Colo., facility. “The garden is in planning phases—not sure on many details yet, but we are going to rock it!” he says.
A self-branded caffeine boost
Eisenhower Medical Center, operated by Compass in Rancho Mirage, Calif., is teaming up with a well-known coffee giant to create a new concept it hopes will become just as popular among its regulars. Director of Food and Nutrition Rick Tinsley says two locations will be transitioned to a self-branded cafe called Copper Spoon. “The food will be a bit enhance[d] from what a ‘normal’ Starbucks operation offers,” he says. “We are doing two of these; one is a small refresh, with very little construction involved. The other is pretty well a tear-out and rebuild on a site that has been Eisenhower's for a bit more than 20 years.”
Stepping up to a new way of ordering
Having proven a popular, useful tool at noncommercial operations nationwide, more and more FSDs are stepping into the future with self-order kiosks. It’s first on the list for 2018 at University of California San Francisco Health, says Roy Sullivan, executive chef for nutrition and food services. “The kiosk will also allow customers to access past orders and customize, while at the same time allowing us to recoup the cost of the items seamlessly without relying on preprinted labels for cashiers,” he says. “It will deliver nutritional info at the touch of a button, giving customers an easy way to navigate allergy and dietary constraints.”
Painting the operation green
While the specific goals vary, the overall aim at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City is to increase sustainability throughout the operation, says Timothy Gee, executive chef for food and nutrition. That includes reimagining food waste and in-house composting; furthering the local/sustainable mix after moving to 100% grass-fed beef and poultry without antibiotics in 2016; and zeroing in on the so-called “dirty dozen” by moving those specific produce types to organics.
Patterson is looking to go greener, but recognizes the challenges Wexner may hit along the way. “We are also working to come up with more creative ways to offer more local and sustainable products to our guests,” he says. “We are just like everyone else—balancing rising costs, but guests are not always willing to pay more.”