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AdventHealth ups its foodservice offerings for staff, patients and visitors

New menus with more scratch cooking and a new cafe using produce grown on the campus are some recent enhancements.

AdventHealth in Florida operates one of the largest hospitals in the country, AdventHealth Orlando with nearly 1,400 beds. Feeding that many in-patients as well as the some 9,000 employees is an enormous challenge that the system has not only embraced but is actively enhancing with a series of recent initiatives.

For instance, over the past year it has elected to prepare more items from scratch, add more plant-based and fresh items, embrace the popularity of breakfast sandwiches, improve the presentation of meals that require modification for patients with difficulty swallowing and include items requested by the diverse communities the hospital serves.

All eight AdventHealth Central Florida hospitals now share one common patient menu, which allows it to leverage bulk purchasing power for better pricing for the patient menu and also gives distributors set items to carry for all eight sites in their warehouses. This provides the hospital with supply chain resilience because the vendor can carry more of the set items as there are less stock-keeping units overall. The hospital can also stockpile emergency supplies centrally since everyone is using the same menu, and when substitute items are needed, they can be added quickly across multiple sites with a centralized database.   

With the new menu launched this August, 15 out of 35 (42%) lunch/dinner entrees, soups, salads and sandwiches will be vegetarian or vegan, including new items like vegan meatballs, a house made “herbed meatless loaf” and a house made spinach cutlet.   

There are also specialty cultural dishes like ropa vieja, plantains, rice congri, Cuban sandwich and more vegetarian/vegan options that have been successful items on the patient menu for both those familiar and not familiar with them.

A centralized food production center services the eight Central Florida hospitals and multiple free-standing emergency departments, producing bulk items like soups, sauces, salads, entrees and sandwiches from scratch daily. This allows for minimally processed and fresh items to be made in-house at a lower cost than can be procured externally.    

Patient meal orders are taken in the morning, when nutritional service attendants visit patients in their rooms before lunch to take their lunch orders for the day, and before dinner for their dinner orders, as well as their breakfast orders for the next day.  The same nutritional service attendants ensure that the meals are prepared according to each patient’s request and that the meal reflects the doctor's and dietitian's recommendations for the patient's healing and wellbeing.

Patient meal servers are staffed in teams that are assigned to specific units and work 12-hour shifts with 3.5 days on and 2 days off, thus giving a patient a familiar face to see every meal, every day through their stay, which fosters relationships.

AdventHealth Orlando serves about 4,000 of its 9,000 campus employees in its food court. Its nutritional services offers two large cafés, Welch and Lakeside, the latter a vegetarian café where the latest in vegetarian cuisine is provided, serving just under 1,000 customers. There is also the smaller King St take-out café and AdventHealth Orlando’s nutritional services is also developing a small concept that will serve employees and guests in the Innovation Tower.

Also notable is a bakery centrally located next to the AdventHealth Orlando hospital where bakery itemssuch as breads, muffins, cookies, cakes and pies are prepared from scratch and offered in all onsite cafés as well as delivered to all Central Florida Division–South Region hospitals daily.

AdventHealth Celebration has two cafés, the newest the recently launched “Garden of Eat’n at Culinary Creations,” a quick service area for fresh wraps, salads and sandwiches that utilizes produce grown on the campus at a hydroponic container farm and outdoor herb garden. It offers more plant-based and gluten-free options and utilizes seasonal produce when it cannot be gotten from the on-campus farm. The hydroponic container farm also produces all the lettuce for the main café and doctors’ lounge salad bars as well while the farm produces all the lettuce for retail services.

AdventHealth’s corporate office launched a c-store in 2014 with a register where employees can scan their food on an honor system. Their team prepares and stocks the store. Meanwhile, AdventHealth Daytona Beach and AdventHealth Palm Coast piloted a vending concept similar to a c-stor, something the other campuses are looking to copy.

AdventHealth Orlando's Welch Café remains open until midnight to ensure night shift workers and late-night guests have an opportunity to grab something nutritious, while AdventHealth Orlando offers Lakeside On-The-Go and Welch On-The-Go, which allows customers to place orders and choose a time and location for pick up. The c-store vending concept launched two years ago at AdventHealth Daytona Beach and one year ago at AdventHealth Palm Coast.

Other tech-related innovations include AdventHealth Orlando’s popular on-the-go programs for two of its cafés and a plans to launch a food cart/kiosk later in the year. In addition, AdventHealth uses CBORD nutrition informatics applications, including point of sales solutions. AdventHealth Altamonte, Apopka, Celebration, Corporate, East Orlando, Kissimmee, Orlando, and Winter Park use CBORD’s MICROS legacy solution for point of sales while AdventHealth Winter Garden is the first hospital campus within the Central Florida Division–South Region to transition to CBORD’S Simphony solution for point of sales, which allows the food service operation to quickly update its point of sale to reflect café seasonal or holiday specials, combination meal pricing and promotional discounts at the register while offering robust reporting to facilitate deep understanding of the operation, consumer trends, etc.

Much of AdventHealth Orlando's produce is sourced locally by its distributor. In addition, special attention is paid to one fruit or vegetable each month that is in season locally, with special recipes and offerings.

The AdventHealth Central Florida Division participates in a food donation program. It had started donating unused cooked food to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida back in June 2017 and the amount of donations currently average 15,000-17,000 lbs. a year. All leftovers, unopened discontinued items, canned foods, packaging, cups, bowls, containers, and more are donated. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida was chosen because of its distribution capability and its relationships with local soup kitchens, churches and other local outreach organizations in the community. Due to this partnership, AdventHealth has been able to evaluate where it was wasting its resources and become more efficient with its food production. The donated food is high quality and prepared with health and nutrition in mind, and re-purposing leftovers that would have ended up in landfills decreases environmental costs in the community while providing healthy food for income-challenged families.

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