Back in the day, at the turn of the century, Khaleed Khan was hired on as regional manager for hospitality for Capital Health based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Building upon his then almost three decades of experience in creating and managing branded concessions in airports and hotels in Canada, he steadily developed similar enterprises for the hospital’s various locations.
“Today, there are 107 sites. We’ve gone from 10 hospitals to 107 as we’ve taken responsibility for the entire province of Alberta , which we operate as an arm of the government,” reports Khan, now executive director of retail food services for Alberta Health Services.
Perhaps Khan can’t pull rabbits from a hat, but he’s proven he can pull more than $3,000 in daily sales from a less than 100 square foot temporary kiosk that opened last March. This closet-size area, a one-person operation open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., is actually in a “good” location inside the front entrance of Foothills Medical Center (Edmonton. The limited menu includes specialty coffee and tea, baked goods (made fresh downstairs), some sandwiches and cold beverages.
“One of the pieces I put in there is a portable cart from Italy that cost less than $19,000; it serves as the counter for this temporary location and has proven to be a good investment.” Come the spring, this installation will move to a newly constructed corridor that connects the Emergency Department to the rest of the hospital.
Meanwhile, at Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, Khan and his staff have converted a 71.5 square foot café and re-branded it as Healthy Trendz Express (a successful brand that exists elsewhere in the building in full format vs. “express.”) Located at a secondary hospital entrance, it’s only open from 7 a.m. to 2:30, but reports daily revenue of about $800. “The previous revenue was $286 daily, so that’s a considerable increase,” Khan notes. He cites the mix of low-cost, high-margin specialty beverages as key to profits.
To make this location work, Khan went vertical, removing counters, putting in shelves and adding a display unit. “To promote items, we do product sampling from time to time, plus it’s a convenience factor with high visibility for staff and visitors,” he says. “There was some pressure from staff for a frequent purchase coffee card, so we do offer that, but no other discounts. Staff and visitors pay the same price for everything—and it works.”