Diagnosis: Dull. Hospital food has long had the reputation for being boring, tasteless and definitely not personalized. But at St. Vincent's Infirmary in Little Rock, AR, patients on the orthopedic floor are greeted each morning with omelets and other breakfast entries made to order by a chef.
The pilot program has gotten rave reviews from patients, and the idea is simple: fresh, hot breakfast food, made to order and delivered quickly.
The service is provided by a three-person team. Two catering associates read menu choices to patients and take orders, three at a time. They bring the orders to the chef, who is set up in a room on that floor with three induction burners, a refrigerator, and other portable equipment. The chef prepares the food and the associates deliver it about 12 minutes later. Thirty patients are served in an hour on an average day.
“We get a serious ‘Wow’ effect from our patients,” said Stephen Wadell, systems director at the hospital, a Morrison Management account. “A businessman told me, ‘This is better service than I get at business hotels.’ That's the reaction our administration is looking for.” The service may be expanded to other floors, in an effort to set the hospital apart. The added labor cost isn't substantial, Wadell said. And it seems patients think having toast hot enough to melt the butter on top is priceless.