Foodservice Equipment Reports

Designed To Last

A little forward thinking goes a long way. Consultants from Denver-based William Caruso & Associates planned for the future when they designed a main kitchen and retail dining space at the newly constructed William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital in Dallas. Part of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the 460-bed hospital, which opened October 2014, replaces the decommissioned, 50-year-old St. Paul University Hospital. “Hospital administrators requested a forward-thinking foodservice program, one that complemented the state-of-the-art medical-center campus,” says Stephen Young, FCSI, Partner/Design Director at WC&A, who led the design team with William Caruso, FFCSI, ISHC, Partner/Principal in charge.

The duo planned for the future by specifying energy-efficient, versatile equipment throughout the sprawling, 15,000-sq.-ft. main kitchen, primarily supporting the room-service meal program for patients, as well as the servery, offering medical staff and students plus visitors a wide selection of stations, from Pizza/ Pasta to Grill to Deli.

“By specifying flexible equipment—combi ovens in the main kitchen and hot/cold drop-in wells in the servery’s action stations—the department staff can keep up with changing food trends and adjust the menu as needed,” Young explains. “Menu variety also keeps folks interested and coming back to the servery instead of going off campus for meals.”

Along with the kitchen and 4,000-sq.-ft. servery, the consultants designed a 24-hour kiosk, called Simply To Go, near the servery’s entrance, located in the hospital’s front lobby. Here, guests quickly pick up prepackaged sandwiches, salads, snacks, beverages and desserts. Inside Simply To Go, Jazzman’s Coffee station features upscale coffee drinks.

Good Teamwork
Along with specifying versatile equipment, Caruso and Young planned for the future by working with the architectural team at RTKL Associates in Dallas to secure a walkable space underneath the first-floor main kitchen and servery. The space allows access to utilities during future construction projects.

On a first-floor project, utilities typically run into the ground, Young says. Thinking ahead 15-20 years, the architectural team asked the consultants what challenges the foodservice department leaders may run into when they need to change or replace equipment.

“We told them it’s difficult to retrofit in-ground utilities, and they responded by adding the utility access space underneath the facilities so staff can quickly see and make changes. They can add a floor drain or electrical outlets without interrupting daily operations,” Young says. “It’s a feature we rarely see.”

The consultants joined many influential meetings during the project’s planning and construction phases to offer their expertise during the hospital’s planning stages. By joining in the process early on, they were able to ensure that the servery, combined with a 350-seat dining room, stayed connected to the main kitchen and in a front-and-center building location.

“In a new building, everyone, especially the healthcare team, wants a presence on the first floor,” Young says. “We made sure we were a part of all the key meetings; we’re professionals, and we have to look out for the client’s best interests. In the end, the servery sits in the perfect place, adjacent to the elevators in the front lobby.”

Cook-Chill Hybrid
In the main kitchen, consultants designed a cook-chill hybrid setup—a combination of cook-chill equipment and short-order cooking equipment—to offer a room-service meal program to patients. Additionally, the kitchen backs up the servery with bulk-cooking production and storage.

“Combining cook-chill and traditional cooking gives the operator the best of both worlds,” Young says. “Employees cook and chill certain dense menu items, such as chicken and other proteins, in batches and then quickly finish the items at mealtime. But they prepare pasta, hamburgers and other products to order.”

In total, the kitchen comprises areas for patient-meal prep, cooking and assembly; servery prep and cooking; catering; baking; dry and cold storage; and an ample dishroom with a Hobart flight-type warewasher.

Designers added Halton hoods with M.A.R.V.E.L. intelligent demand-controlled kitchen ventilation systems throughout the kitchen and servery. They also specified energy-smart, water-cooled ColdZone refrigeration systems. “Only four months after opening, the facilities personnel noted the energy-efficiency benefits of the hoods and refrigeration systems,” Young says.

For cook-chill production, employees rely on some of the industry’s more versatile, high-volume equipment, including two double combi ovens for baking, steaming and roasting and two 40-gal. tilting skillets for griddling, browning, braising and frying a variety of foods. Employees use two 60-gal. tilting kettles for preparing large batches of soups and stocks, multiple double convection ovens, one convection steamer and blast chillers, which decrease food temperatures from around 200°F to 38°F within 90 minutes and maintain the cellular integrity of the foods in the process.

Two identical straight-line assembly stations enable staff to prepare patient meals. “We designed two identical lines so the operator can run one line during slow periods, such as between meals, or open both lines during peak mealtimes,” Young says.

Each station sports a short-order cookline with a tray slide down the front. Cooks use a fast-cook oven, griddle, range, charbroiler, double convection oven and fryer. On the opposite side, they rely on a refrigerated sandwich prep table, drop-in hot wells, a food warmer, an induction heater and a heated-plate dispenser.

Top-Notch Dining
Medical staff and students and hospital guests appreciate healthy meals offered in the servery, which is open seven days a week. Platforms include Pizza/Pasta, Entrée/Specials of the Day, ethnic menu-themed Innovations, Grill, Deli, Soup and Dessert plus two Grab-and-Go spaces and two Beverage stations. Guests choose between a bright, airy dining pavilion with booths and alcoves for private chats or an outdoor dining space surrounded by lush landscape.

Guests enter the servery and, along the outer wall, approach Deli or the hot-food stations, all positioned behind custom-millwork serving counters by American Creative Solutions. Department staff marks stations with countertop signs. Five heated-plate dispensers spread out along the counters enable diners to walk directly to their destination without picking up a plate first.

Behind the stations, employees depend on multiple pass-thru refrigerators and pass-thru heated cabinets to pull bulk-prepared menu items or ingredients from the main kitchen.

Designers specified flexible drop-in hot/cold wells and induction cookers at Innovations. Cooks might present a sushi bar one day and a build-to-order Mexican taco station the next, Young explains. They added more hot/cold wells at Entrée/Special of the Day to hold meatloaf, lasagna and other comfort foods.

Further down at Pizza/Pasta, the team added two conveyor ovens for quickly producing housemade pies. Heated stone shelves hold hot slices for guests on the go. Over at Grill, designers included a charbroiler and sandwich prep refrigerator so cooks can turn out made-to-order hot sandwiches. Meanwhile, at Deli, they put in a TurboChef fast-cook oven for finishing sandwiches, a convection oven with proofer and a slicer for cutting meats.

At the Grab-and-Go areas on either side of the wide entrance, guests pick up prepackaged foods and bottled specialty beverages from refrigerated merchandisers, which employees fill from a cold-storage room in the back-of-house.

Tray-Return Challenge
Organizing a tray return in the dining room was one of the project’s more difficult challenges. Designers needed the tray-return window near the dining-room exit to be visually appealing, easily accessible and to connect directly to the soiled area of the kitchen’s dishroom.

They met the challenge by opting for a 90-ft.-long National Conveyor takeaway conveyor that runs from the dining room directly to the kitchen. Diners place soiled trays on the flat conveyor through a 12-ft.-wide window near the dining-room exit. The conveyor pulls the trays out of guests’ sight through a tunnel-like hallway running the perimeter of the kitchen directly into the dishroom’s soiled area. Personnel can access the conveyor at any point by entering the hallway.

“The benefits of using a conveyor are two-fold: It saves labor because employees don’t have to manually run trays from the dining room back to the kitchen, and it prevents cross-contamination,” Young says.

Spending four years on the project, Caruso and Young successfully designed a main kitchen and servery that will serve the Dallas community effectively for decades. The facilities opened to rave reviews, including excellent patient satisfaction scores, Young notes.

For those going through a similar process, he offers this advice: Stand your ground. “Use your expertise to influence the design concerning correct adjacencies, materials and workflow and eliminate any potential cross-contamination conditions,” he says. “The operator and governing authority agencies will thank you in the end.”


Facilities: Main Kitchen and Servery
No. of Beds: 460
Opened: October 2014
No. of Dining Seats: 350
Stations: Pizza/Pasta, Entrée/Specials of the Day, Innovations, Grill, Deli, Soup, Dessert, Grab-and-Go, Beverages
Total Cost of Project: $800 million
Foodservice Design/Equipment Portion: $3.8 million
Foodservice Design Consultants: William Caruso, FFCSI, ISHC, Partner/Principal In Charge; Stephen Young, FCSI, Partner/Design Director; William Caruso & Associates, Denver
Architect: Michael Hoffmeyer, AIA, ACHA, Senior Assoc. V.P., RTKL Associates, Dallas
Foodservice Equipment Contractor/Fabricator/Installer: Stafford-Smith, Kalamazoo, Mich.
​​​​​​​General Contractor: Hunt Construction Group, Dallas 


Main Kitchen
Hobart/ITW FEG food processor, slicers, mixers, warewasher, pot-and-pan washer
Kolpak/Manitowoc walk-in coolers, walk-in freezer
ColdZone/Carrier refrig. system
Eagle Group shelving
Duke double convection ovens, convection oven w/proofer
Rational combi ovens
Hoshizaki ice makers/dispensers w/beverage heads, ice maker
Follett ice bin
Jade/Middleby ranges, charbroilers, griddles
True refrig. bases, undercounter refrig., sandwich prep refrigs., refrig. merchandisers
Pitco/Middleby fryers, food warmers
Traulsen/ITW FEG reach-in freezers, reach-in refrigs., blast chillers, beverage refrigs.
TurboChef/Middleby fast-cook ovens
Dinex/Carlisle heated-plate dispenser
CookTek/Middleby induction heater
Randell/Unified Brands hot wells
Aladdin Temp-Rite/Ali Group tray transport carts, dome-drying racks, heated-plate dispensers
Waring bar blenders, bar mixers
Delfield/Manitowoc drop-in freezer
Hatco heated cabinets
Halton hoods
Blodgett/Middleby double convection ovens
Southern Pride smoker oven
Alto-Shaam double cook-and-hold ovens
Vollrath soup wells
Cleveland/Manitowoc tilting skillets, tilting kettles, convection steamer
Robot Coupe food processor
National Conveyor tray conveyor, scrapping table
LVO pan-and-rack washer

Hoshizaki ice maker
Federal Industries/Standex refrig. merchandisers, display cases
Structural Concepts refrig. merchandisers, display cases
Traulsen/ITW FEG pass-thru refrigs., passthru heated cabinets, reach-in freezers
True pizza prep refrig., sandwich prep refrig., refrig. bases, undercounter refrig.
Lincoln/Manitowoc pizza ovens
Randell/Unified Brands drop-in hot/cold wells
Hatco drop-in hot/cold wells
Rotisol heated stone shelves
CookTek/Middleby induction cookers
TurboChef/Middleby fast-cook ovens
Aladdin Temp-Rite/Ali Group heatedplate dispensers
Pitco/Middleby fryers
Jade/Middleby charbroiler
Wells/Middleby soup wells
Duke convection oven w/proofer
Hobart/ITW FEG slicer
Halton hoods
American Creative Solutions/Eagle Group counters
BSI food shields
Eagle Group custom stainless fabrication 

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