Hospital Room Service-It Takes A Team

Hospital Room Service

Hospital Room Service—It Takes a Team

Designing a commercial kitchen to accommodate a room service menu is a challenge hospitals across the country are facing. The model for “hotel like” room service means offering a fixed, high quality menu between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM. Implementing such flexibility requires changes in commercial design, as well as commercial equipment and supplies. Enhancing the patient experience and boosting patient-centered care is compelling many hospitals to rise to this challenge.  

In 2013, The Reading Health System (Reading, Pennsylvania) employed Tim Stafford of Stafford Design Group, Char Norton of The Norton Group and Tad Domek of Foodservice Venues—A Boelter Company to help them transition from a standard tray line to full room service operation facility. In addition to offering commercial kitchen design options, Tim, Char and Tad were able to help the operator enhance early ideas, work with the executive chef, and develop a plan to efficiently guide the transformation from beginning to end. Originally, the hospital team planned to close their kitchens and relocate foodservice to rented trailers during renovation. As foodservice design consultants, Tad, Char and Tim looked for ways to save the hospital time and money. Together, they worked out a plan to keep the kitchens functioning and complete the process in phases. Continuing service while remodeling, without moving into remote trailer locations, saved the hospital over $120,000 in rental costs. 

The Norton Group, Stafford Design Group and Foodservice Venus teams counseled Reading through each phase of the process, making new, room service ready equipment suggestions, deciding which used equipment was in good working order, and making sure that all equipment was calibrated to function properly under the existing hood while the remodel was taking place. Seven phases and a mere fourteen months later, the team provided full room service to more than 5 wings across 2.5 city blocks to over 700 beds. Also added to the facility was a contemporary employee dining facility, including a self-serve gourmet coffee bar, a deli/Panini station, grill and pizza exhibition stations, an entrée station, a self-serve soup and salad bar, and grab-and-go selections. 

Hospital systems realize that room service allows them to provide healthier options, producing a more home like atmosphere, which tends to improve outcomes. In addition to receiving bonus funding from patient satisfaction surveys, room service menus also save money. According to FE&S magazine, room service can cost up to $100,000 less in food and supplies annually per 100 patients. With the help of their architects and foodservice consultants, Reading Hospital was able to turn their dining operations into a delightful experience for both patients and employees.