Competition between healthcare facilities is on the rise. Both patient and staff satisfaction is necessary to keep your operation moving forward. Happy employees mean you’ll attract the best talent, which will then draw more patients. And with patients come their families, sometimes spending weeks or months in the hospital. Where does foodservice fit into all of this? Taking steps to enhance dining areas is one way to improve morale among your staff, patients and their families.
Read on for ways to evolve your foodservice for a welcoming dining experience.
Let Light Shine
- Wherever possible, let natural light into your space. Outside light will make a room more inviting. Many hospitals are renovating their dining areas by tearing down outward facing walls to replace with large windows.
- If budget prohibits a full blown renovation, consider using table lighting. The softer glow creates a calming space for stressed families.
Define the Zones
- Clearly identify public spaces and ‘employee only’ areas.
- Mark entrances and exits to help visitors find their way around.
- Instead of one long service line, set up different stations displaying large menu signs such as ‘Sandwiches’, ‘Salads’, ‘Hot Entrees’ etc. Patrons will be able to quickly grab what they want to eat, avoiding a lengthy wait for foods that don’t interest them.
Offer Take Out
- Family members may not feel comfortable leaving loved ones for long periods to time. And nurses and doctors alike are often rushing from one patient to the next. Consider offering take out containers or pre-packaged meals for diners to grab on the go.
Think Outside the Healthcare Box
- When renovating your dining area, choose materials that are more reflective of a restaurant. Enhancements can be decorative wall tiles, quartz countertops or furnishings with a higher end look. Healthcare Design offers an extensive list of inspirational ideas.
- A more budget-friendly and less time consuming alternative to renovating is an update of your dinnerware. Melamine dinnerware is not the same plain round plates in white or primary colors. Add distinctive colors and interesting looks with shatterproof options from Elite Global Solutions and E.T. Enterprises.
Focus on the Food
- A fresh dining space won’t have the same impact without an update to the menu. Nutrient-rich meals are an important part of a patient’s recovery process. Have your chef and nutritionist work together to create restaurant-like offerings that meet a patient’s nutritional needs.
- A more in-depth summary of steps you can take to improve your food program is in our Tips for Improving Foodservice for Patients