Self-serve salad bars that were popular previous to the pandemic and dormant since have reopened at all Allegheny Health Network (AHN) hospital cafes managed by Curb Hospitality, contributing to a systemwide lift of 11% in retail sales while enhancing safety and guest satisfaction. They are also safer than before thanks to Cura’s new Salad Bar Standards & Keeping it Safe program, which is planned to be implemented at all Cura-managed hospitals and senior living communities following its successful pilot at AHN.
“The cafeteria guests and visitors were happy to have the salad bar option available again after three years of grab and go limited selection,” reports AHN Saint Vincent Hospital COO Karen Surkala. “Retail revenues, guest satisfaction and menu variety have all increased significantly as well as safe accommodations for customers with allergies and other dietary restrictions.”
To implement the program at each AHN Cafe, Cura had new “Serving You a Safe Salad Bar” signage placed as the first and last images customers see. “This communications tool assures customers we prioritize their safety,” explains Cura Senior Director of Marketing Jared Levin.
Photo: New planograms that focus on creating a more effective and attractive food presentation have led to a near doubling of the number of salad bar options.
In addition, an alarm clock was added to the station to regularly signal employees to change out the serving utensils, and hand sanitizer is placed at the front of the salad bar and sneeze guards are reviewed and adjusted to maximize coverage.
Café guests with food allergies also find reassurance with Cura’s allergen and gluten awareness features available on the salad bar, and guests also have the opportunity to learn about the nutrition facts from the foods available on the salad bar through Cura’s BeWell wellness platform. There is even signage directing guests on how to build a better salad.
The overall merchandising of the station was also enhanced with a new smallwares package coupled with new planograms that focus on creating a more effective and attractive food presentation, leading to a near doubling of the number of salad bar options. “Customers eat with their eyes, so it’s important that not only our food looks amazing but also that the food vessels all match and are in great repair,” Levin notes.
Successful salad bar re-openings with the Salad Bar Standards & Keeping it Safe program enhancements have taken place in AHN sites across Pennsylvania—at Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie, Forbes Hospital in Monroeville, Allegheny General Hospital and West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, Jefferson Hospital in Jefferson Hills, Allegheny Valley Hospital in Natrona Heights and Wexford Hospital in Wexford.