The University of California San Francisco Health (UCSFH) dining services program is staying busy in the new year. It has rebooted the destination delivery service it piloted late last year at its main Parnassus Heights campus. It also launched a limited delivery program at its Mission Bay campus and plans to debut mobile ordering and delivery through the GrubHub Campus app at the Mount Zion campus in the next couple of months. In addition, it has introduced a program called Budget Bites, which packages leftovers, blast chills them and sells them as re-heatable grab-and-go options in its cafes and also in Garten branded smart fridge vending units.
“So far there has not been much interest [in the delivery service], which is disappointing yet understandable,” notes UCSFH Food & Nutrition Services Director Dan Henroid, theorizing that the traditional role of hospital cafes as places to get away and take an emotional break might be a reason for delivery’s lack of orders. “We are challenged with the amount of break space in our hospital campuses,” he explains. “The café dining rooms help serve as a relief valve to the lack of space on the patient care units. In addition, I think people are under a little more stress and need the mental and physical break off their unit or work area. We are still tinkering with it.”
The Mount Zion facility, meanwhile, is the site of a UCSFH hospital that was closed in 2015 when Mission Bay opened, but which was reactivated as a hospital last April because of the COVID pandemic and is currently in the process of completing a kitchen facility.
“As this campus is small—it’s licensed for 53 beds—we are planning to do a restaurant delivery meal from the patient meal,” Henroid explains. “We should have this up and running in April 2021.”
As for Budget Bites, “we have committed to have these meals always available even if we don’t have significant leftovers,” he says. “All meals are $4.50 regardless of food components. It’s one more way we are trying to get back some business, particularly from customers who may have been substantively impacted by the pandemic with reductions in household income.”
The destination delivery service that debuted at Parnassus Heights last fall brought breakfast and lunch meals that customers remote ordered through GrubHub Campus to 55 different drop-off points around the complex, including 14 in the main hospital and the rest in four surrounding buildings.
“The timing was not fabulous,” Henroid noted shortly afterwards, “launching just before Thanksgiving with everything going on around then,” hence the reboot following the holidays.