While the number of hospitals and hospital beds has been on a slow decline over the past decade, foodservice sales to patients, staff, and visitors continue to rise. That growth can be attributed to creative foodservice directors who have updated their menus and how they serve that food.
Innovation that freshens the menu and offers food and beverages within easy access is becoming the norm. We’ve scanned some of the best ideas in new concepts that, with a minimal investment, can boost sales.
The easiest way for customers to access your food is to bring it closer to where they are. Take for example Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, where Chief Culinary Director Drew Patterson has nine BistrOH! kiosks to help speed up service, control food costs, and increase usage. These grab-and-go kiosks offer a beverage and a limited number of handhelds and salads. Patterson is experimenting with some digital ordering stations that enable a customer to use a web-based system to order ahead in the cafeteria or have food delivered within the hospital.
The Caffeine Element
Hospitals run on coffee and a snack. Leverage a quality branded coffee (e.g. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts) and other beverages with some fresh fruit and healthy snacks near main entrance and egress points within your facility.
Food Trucks & Carts
Ideal for some street business or catering, food trucks and carts are profitable endeavors, especially if your campus is too spread apart for easy access. Invest a few dollars in developing at least a cart for transporting and showcasing foods during peak time periods for breakfast or afternoon snacking.
Morrison Healthcare debuted micro stations within its facilities late last year, and by the middle of 2017 had launched 250 of them nationwide. Featuring little more than a hot bar with a hot menu feature and some side dishes, the secret is in the marketing of the concept. Each features the cuisine, branding that can be easily installed or taken down, and staff uniforms. The concepts include Liberty Street BBQ for down-home barbecue plates, regional sauces, and soul food side dishes. Morrison’s Tackle Box concept features sustainable seafood, such as mahi-mahi fish tacos and hand-crafted crab cake sandwiches. The concept can easily be replaced, typically after 30 days, and with a quick change of menu, signage, and staff wearables, Morrison moves on to the next one. Other concepts include The Roost, a chicken concept; Hand Krafted Burgers; Southern Bayou; and GRK Street.
Plus Up On Breakfast
An all-day breakfast concept can score big when one looks to the scores of upscale breakfast eateries popping up across the country. Top-trending menu items such as chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits can be shared with other dayparts. Fresh ideas, such as pancake flights featuring salted caramel and Oreo pancakes, are opportunities.
An upscale breakfast offering can become a signature by offering premium coffees (including espresso and cold-brewed coffee), as well as a wider variety of coffee creamers, such as almond, coconut, and hazelnut.
Turn around the ordinary and make your foodservice operation extraordinary when you bring innovation to the plate and to your concepts.