New grab and go options boost healthcare menus

grab and go healthcare

From Planglow USA.

Time is a commodity in the fast-paced healthcare industry. Operators must meet the needs of busy staff members pressed for time and visitors who want to be with their family members—not stuck in the cafeteria.

It’s no surprise, then, that this segment has continued to focus on grab and go. Grab and go comprises 18 percent of total revenue for hospitals, according to Foodservice Director’s 2014 The Big Picture research. Almost 80 percent of hospital foodservice operators say they offer some form of grab and go options, and over 70 percent of operators say they expect sales in that segment to increase.

Convenience is a must

In the Grove Café at Clovis Community Medical Center in California, customers can choose from an array of grab-and-go options such as sandwiches, salads, parfaits, hummus and pita, cheese and crackers or fresh fruit, according to Paul Luchi, director of nutrition & dining services. In fact, Luchi has one cook dedicated to grab-and-go preparation eight hours a day.

“It’s a big part of our business,” says Luchi. “It’s the convenience. Employees get a 30-minute lunch; they have lots of meetings. People are eating from the grab and go case because they can’t take the time to stop and eat.”

Luchi relies on several Planglow USA products to serve grab-and-go options in convenient, great-looking and multi-purpose packaging. He uses the sandwich wedge and large wrap box in conventional ways, but finds that the small wrap box works well for cheese and crackers or veggies and dip, and the small salad box is perfect for hummus and pita.

“They look really sharp and classy,” says Luchi. “They’re very appealing and super easy to open.” Luchi loves the cookie bag that makes it easy to show off his three-ounce cookies, by stacking them or laying them out in decorative bowls. “It looks clean and crisp and the cookie stands out,” he says.

An added bonus: The brown packaging sends an unspoken message to customers to recycle, says Luchi. “There’s always a bunch of them in our recycling bins,” he says. “Other biodegradable products don't send the same messaging. Planglow just naturally draws them to recycle—it looks earthy and natural,” he adds.

Quick and easy

The folks on the midnight shift at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, don’t have time to order hot food, wait and eat, says Martha Latham, storeroom and purchasing supervisor, so grab and go is a must.

“They can come down and get a sandwich and a drink and be back in their unit before the 15-minute break is over,” she says.

Latham likes that Planglow’s sandwich wedges, wrap boxes and deli sleeves have the see-through window so customers can see what they’re getting. “It might say chicken salad or pimento cheese, but it’s important for the customers to see what they’re getting,” she says.

DCH Regional started with a few grab-and-go items, “but nothing like we’re doing now,” says Latham. And she only sees that part of the business growing. “It’s a lot more grab and go than before,” she says. “We’re looking for more things to offer…to make it easier for our visitors and employees.” 

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