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Hospital Power Players: University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics

Hospital Power Players: University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics

A special report from FM and Technomic provides a detailed look into both patient and retail foodservice operations at the 50 largest hospitals.

27. University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa

Licensed Beds: 1,103
Management: Self-operated
Foodservice Head: Joan Dolezal, director of food & nutrition services
Avg. Daily In-patient Census: 573
Avg. No. In-patient Meals/Day: 1,200
No. of Retail Dining Outlets: 7
Total Annual Retail Sales: $11.5 million
Dining/Nutrition Services FTEs: 253

This past October, food and nutrition services implemented CBORD’s TrayMonitor module to complement its room service delivery method, allowing patient foodservice operators to see how many trays are in the kitchen, in route or delivered to patients and how many empty carts are on their way back to the kitchen in real time.

The Fountain Dining Room and The Marketplace Dining Room have been upgraded with the outdated seating units given a face-lift, including warmer lighting, welcoming décor and varied seating options. In addition, the Marketplace Dining Room has a new weekday lunchtime build-your-own menu allowing diners to customize burritos, salads and nachos with ingredients such as pork carnitas, ground beef, yellow rice and cheese. Also new is a much-requested salad bar with homemade croutons and specialty greens.

IU Hospitals also recently opened the Compass Express c-store, retailing grab-and-go and self-serve items like wraps as well as shakes and smoothies, plus a limited selection of groceries and take-home prepared food items. Also in the inventory are locally produced items such as produce, ice cream, beef jerky/sticks and popcorn.

Sustainability has been another major point of emphasis. In 2012, roughly 12 percent of the food prepared for staff, patients and visitors went into the garbage, and then a landfill. The health system's leaders decided to make serious changes through a three-pronged approach to reduce food waste: reduce it, donate it, compost it.

The challenge was coordinated across the hospital's seven dining facilities. The first step was to identify and eliminate low-selling items, which reduced menu selections by 5 percent. The hospital also increased its donations to Table to Table, a local charity that collects and distributes food, from 647 pounds in 2012 to 2,300 in 2013 and a projected 4,500 pounds in 2015. A manager oversees the donations, which are stored in a designated refrigerator and freezer.

The hospital also switched to compostable food containers and began using a pulper to pulverize leftover food waste, which then goes to a local compost facility. UIHC sent 77 tons in 2013 and is on target to send 100 tons in 2015.

TAGS: Healthcare
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