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Coffee serves several purposes in healthcare dining. For visitors, it’s a comforting beverage that helps them cope with sometimes stressful waits. For patients, coffee is a welcomed part of a normal daily routine. For staff working long hours, a regular jolt of caffeine from their favorite coffee drink often helps them power through shifts.
Coffee has grown up in the last decade, and healthcare settings are responding by upgrading their coffee programs to reflect current consumer preferences. According to the National Coffee Association, “daily consumption of espresso-based beverages has nearly tripled over the last decade,” with millennials driving much of that growth and expecting to find their preferred beverages in more locations.
Given the many roles coffee plays, healthcare settings rely on a variety of solutions to satisfy demand and keep up with the trends.
Because patients get hungry or thirsty outside of normal mealtimes, many hospitals have installed pantries that allow the nursing staff to deliver basic food and beverage options. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, for example, offers on-request room-service dining between 5:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Outside of those hours nurses have access to a kitchen on each floor stocked with packaged sandwiches and salads as well as coffee and tea. In a pantry setting, operating 24/7, single-cup brewers are a logical solution to satisfy a variety of coffee preferences while providing freshly brewed quality on demand.
Self-serve is another option for both visitors and staff. Uniontown Hospital in Uniontown, Pa., provides free bottled water and discounted Keurig® coffee from vending machines situated in five comfort stations located adjacent to waiting rooms.
For facilities with less traffic or labor challenges, automated on-demand coffee solutions can fill the bill, both at coffee stations and in cafeterias. Kaiser Permanente’s facility in Baldwin Park, Calif., installed a unit that can dispense a dozen types of coffee drinks and is used by staff, patients, and visitors.
When a hospital has sufficient volume to support it, a comprehensive coffeehouse concept serving the latest latte, cold brew coffee, and other coffee and tea concoctions can provide a good solution for both staff and visitors. Generally, these remain open from early morning until early evening, but the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics made a major commitment to coffee lovers when it installed a full-fledged branded coffee operation on the Salt Lake City campus several years ago and opted to keep it open 24/7. The location serves premium branded beverages and pastries in addition to foods prepared by the hospital dining staff and approved by the operator.
More typical is the scenario at Penrose-Saint Francis Health Services in Colorado Springs, Colo., which operates three cafés serving branded coffee drinks and pastries. The cafés are set up like traditional coffeehouses with comfortable seating and, in one case, a patio.
Often hospitals opt to partner with locally popular coffeehouse operators. Decatur Memorial Hospital in Decatur, Ill., installed a lobby outlet for Coffee Connection, a locally owned business, to supply visitors, staff, and patients with a full coffee beverage menu, pastries, breakfast, and lunch wraps.
Roving carts are a popular way to satisfy both visitors and patients, and are particularly popular at pediatric hospitals. At Akron Children’s Hospital, parents or caregivers are offered complimentary snacks, pastries, fruit, and coffee from a volunteer-run cart that makes the rounds. Texas Children’s Hospital offers similar food and beverages for purchase.
Kiosks expand the availability of coffee, snacks, and pastries to remote areas of a healthcare facility without requiring a large footprint. Mary Washington University Hospital in Fredericksburg, Va., has five food franchises operating on its campus, but when it came to coffee opted to set up three branded kiosks. The advantage of the latter arrangement is flexibility: The hospital purchases branded beverage products and containers, and has more latitude on the menu side to sell its own breakfast items, soups, salads, and snacks.
Urns are also a must-have for healthcare campuses that host conferences or public events and must manage high-volume demand for coffee, such as meal and break times.
Healthcare operators know how important food and beverage quality is to patient satisfaction scores. Studies have shown that employees, particularly younger workers, also value better food and beverage choices at work. Making a better cup of coffee more readily available will create a better impression among both groups .
 https://www.akronchildrens.org/cms/sharing_blog/f15465cabf2ea122/, https://www.texaschildrens.org/patients-and-visitors/planning-your-childs-visit/where-eat