When Christine Guyott, FCSI, RD, principal at Robert Rippe & Associates Inc., Minneapolis, and team signed up to design a room-service patient kitchen and a retail dining space in the newly built, 90-bed tower at St. Elizabeth Hospital, they faced a daunting challenge. A 12-ft.-wide corridor, connecting the patient bed tower with a surgery center in an existing building on the Appleton, Wis., campus, extended straight through the center of the servery ceiling.
“My first thought was, ‘How are we going to accommodate this walkway?’ We couldn’t put exhaust hoods or anything else tall underneath it,” Guyott says. “I was worried it would make the space look too low and closed off.”
Foodservice designers met the challenge by placing three display-cooking stations, outfitted with Accurex hoods, along an outer wall of the retail dining space. Branded as Marketplace, the 2,125-sq.-ft. servery’s three display-cooking stations are Grill, Pizza and Chef’s Table, featuring a rotating menu of ethnic specialties; non-cooking stations are Soup & Salad, Deli, Grab & Go and Coffee.
The team from HGA Architects and Engineers, Milwaukee, also played a key role in incorporating the corridor. Led by Associate V.P. Michael Chobanian, AIA, the team extended the space vertically on either side of the walkway to create light wells, which provide useful daylight for staff and add ceiling height, reflecting an open, airy public-market atmosphere, one of the project goals.
Designers began work on Marketplace— complete with a 4,125-sq.-ft. dining room and a 5,250-sq.-ft. main kitchen for serving patients—in 2012 with an equipment budget of a little over $1 million. Hospital administrators opened doors to the facilities in January 2015.
Designers set up the display-cooking stations, where cooks prepare made-to-order menu items, in response to the client’s request for a wellness-themed retail dining space. The client also asked that Marketplace include versatile equipment to accommodate an ever-changing menu as well as elements inspired by the grocery chain Whole Foods Market.
“Every guest wants to be part of the culinary experience; they want to know that their meal was made in front of them and with fresh ingredients,” Guyott says about the display-cooking stations.
Cooks prepare hot menu items at Grill using a Jade charbroiler and build-your-own pies at Pizza using a Wood Stone hearth oven. At Chef’s Table, cooks rely on a Jade mobile step-up range for sautéing ingredients, such as chicken, beef or fresh vegetables for nachos or shrimp or beef for Vietnamese rice-noodle soup. “We set the mobile range askew from the equipment line so the department staff could host healthy-cooking demonstrations as part of their community outreach efforts,” she adds.
Because cooks prepare most items fresh to order, designers specified plenty of cold product support, including two Randell refrigerated prep tables behind the display-cooking stations and one at Deli as well as Low Temp drop-in cold pans at Soup & Salad. But Chef’s Table also includes a Victory warming cabinet for holding pre-made casseroles and roasts that cooks prepare in bulk and in advance in the kitchen.
Additionally, designers added a self-service, flavor-infused water station at Grab & Go. Hospital administration and department leaders went back and forth about whether they wanted to offer soda, Guyott says, and they decided to keep it but make the water station a focal point by placing it at the highly visible Grab & Go station while tucking away the soda in display coolers.
To accommodate the client’s request for versatile equipment, designers specified Randell combination hot/cold pans at Chef’s Table and Soup & Salad. Cooks can use the pans to hold cold salads at lunch then, with the flip of a switch, use the same pans to hold hot proteins at dinner.
Foodservice designers worked with Brian Wolff, senior designer at HGA, and the hospital’s foodservice department staffers to achieve the Whole Foods look. They took a field trip to a downtown Milwaukee public market during the project’s planning stage. They toured different food venues, took pictures and talked about what they liked and didn’t like about the look of the area.
“We used the Hubert catalog to order market-looking, Whole Foods-type bins for produce, and we added large tubs to display fruits and vegetables near the entrance,” Guyott says. “There’s a wall of millwork shelves for a farmers’ market display where staff can set out even more fresh produce as well as assorted food or gift items for a true retail experience.”
Better Traffic Flow
Designers laid out Marketplace with a separate entrance and exit for efficient traffic flow. “I see designs where operators/designers combine the entrance and exit, and it’s confusing for guests as well as staff that have to keep track of who paid,” Guyott says. “Even though the servery is a scatter-style system, we believe strongly in having a separate entrance, with trays for guests to pick up and menu boards and a logical flow through the servery and out the exit.”
After entering Marketplace, guests either walk to the outer wall to select menu items from the three display-cooking stations, pick up soups and salads from the island bar or move to the deli for made-to-order sandwiches. Once they have their main dishes and sides, the flow leads them to the grab-and-go and beverage stations, over to the cashier and out into the 76-seat dining room.
Designers intentionally and very cleverly combined the cashier station with the coffee bar and deli so the operator can maximize staffing depending on the volume of customers. “When they’re not checking out customers, the cashiers turn around, wash their hands and use the refrigerated table to prep ingredients for the deli or brew coffee. They do these tasks from behind the counter instead of out front in the way of guests,” Guyott explains.
Efficiently Serving Patients
Designers were equally mindful of creating an effi- cient flow when planning the main kitchen, which is equipped to serve up to 140 beds depending on future hospital plans.
The kitchen and servery are on the building’s main level but deliveries arrive on a lower level. Designers specified a ThermalRite walk-in refrigerator/freezer complex and a dry-storage space on the lower level to stage deliveries and store overflow from the kitchen. They also installed a separate refrigerator for composting endeavors on this level.
“The client wanted a robust compost program, and so staff members use bins to collect food waste in the kitchen and store it in the separate refrigerator and a service hauls it away,” Guyott says.
From the lower level, employees deliver product via a dedicated elevator to the kitchen and store it in a ThermalRite walk-in freezer or a dry-storage area. Working with a narrow footprint, designers lined up cold-food prep, hot-food production and patient-tray assembly along the back of the kitchen. An internal traffic corridor separates the kitchen from Marketplace.
“We always keep work aisles separate from traffic aisles so that people are not working where others are pushing carts or moving product,” Guyott says.
Focusing on an efficient layout, she adds that one of her favorite parts of the kitchen design was positioning food-production stations directly across from patient-tray assembly. “This allows staff to easily move between those stations,” she says. “Between 2-4 p.m., for instance, when patients aren’t typically calling in orders, cooks can walk 10 ft. over to hot-food production and make bulk soups, sauces or casseroles and then move back to tray assembly once dinner orders start coming down.”
Cooks rely on a TurboChef accelerated oven to quickly turn out a variety of menu items for patients. “Accelerated ovens are popular in room-service operations because once staff takes an order, they need to deliver the meal in 45 minutes or less,” she says.
Two Victory mobile air-curtain refrigerators also are key pieces of equipment, she says, because tray assemblers can leave the doors open during peak periods and the units will maintain temperature for up to 90 minutes.
Throughout the facilities, designers specified Accurex kitchen-ventilation systems with Vari-Flow, an air-management system that uses strategically placed heat sensors to effectively monitor the cooking operation and quickly adjust airflow to meet demand. The system reduces airflow by 50% or more during idle cooking periods, generating more electrical, heating and cooling savings.
Between dry-storage and catering areas, Guyott designed her first-ever food-sensitivity-awareness zone where workers prep food for patients with food allergies. “Even though we didn’t wall-off the zone, it’s visually separate from the main kitchen, and employees can look and see the separate equipment and know that it’s a specific area for patients with food sensitivities or gluten intolerance,” she says. She expects allergen-free areas to gain popularity in healthcare kitchens.
Patient-tray cart storage and washing areas and a dishroom complete the kitchen. In the dishroom, Guyott says, ensuring soiled trays from the patient floors and Marketplace arrived on the same side was a challenge. The team solved the issue by placing the dishroom in a far corner where guests leaving the dining room can drop off their trays; in the kitchen, workers can use a direct passage from the service elevators into the dishroom to unload soiled patient trays. Soiled trays never cross into kitchen work areas.
Working together, the Robert Rippe and HGA teams successfully delivered to the client a Whole Foods-inspired Marketplace around a challenging corridor. And the kitchen will allow the client to efficiently serve patients for years to come.
ST. ELIZABETH HOSPITAL
Opening Date: January 2015
No. of Beds: 90
No. of Seats: 76
Stations: Grill, Pizza, Chef’s Table, Soup & Salad, Deli, Grab & Go, Coffee
Foodservice Equipment Budget: $1,025,000
Manager of Food & Nutrition Services: Roy R. Farley, St. Elizabeth Hospital
Foodservice Design Consultants: Christine Guyott, FCSI, RD, principal; Amy Fick, project manager; Joy Enge, specification writer; Robert Rippe & Associates Inc., Minneapolis
Principle In Charge: Scott Lindvall, AIA, HGA Architects and Engineers, Milwaukee
Interior Design: Brian Wolff, senior designer, HGA
Architect and Project Manager: Michael Chobanian, AIA, associate v.p., HGA
Foodservice Equipment Distributor: Streich Equipment Co. Inc., Wausau, Wis.
Structural Concepts display cases
Hubert produce tub
Florida Stainless custom-fab serving counters
BSI food shields
APW Wyott/Standex wells
Low Temp cold pans
John Boos butcher blocks
Hatco heat lamp, heated shelf
Randell/Unified Brands hot/cold pans, refrig. prep tables
Jade/Middleby charbroiler, grill, step-up range
Victory/Ali Group reach-in warming cabinet
Wood Stone hearth oven
Advance Tabco sink
True display refrig., freezers
Manitowoc ice maker
T&S water fill station
Follett ice maker, dispenser
Rubbermaid recycling/compost bins
ThermalRite walk-in freezer, walk-in refrig./freezer, walk-in refrig.
Metro/Emerson shelving, warming cabinets
RDT refrig. rack system
New Age Industrial racks
Cambro catering carts
Florida Stainless custom-fab counters with sinks, tables
Victory/Ali Group reach-in refrig. and freezers, roll-in refrig., air screen refrig., undercounter freezer
Manitowoc ice maker, bin
Hobart/ITW FEG food processor, slicer, mixer, dishmachine
Traulsen blast chiller
Blodgett/Middleby convection oven
Cleveland/Manitowoc kettles, steamers
Jade/Middleby range w/convection oven, range, grill, charbroiler
Randell/Unified Brands undercounter freezer, refrig. prep tables
TurboChef/Middleby accelerated oven
Piper stand, plate and tray dispensers
APW Wyott/Standex well
Dinex/Carlisle base heater, carts
Amana/ACP Solutions microwave
Hatco toaster, heat lamp
Burlodge/Ali Group tray dispenser, hot/cold delivery cart
Ecolab hose station, cart wash
Power Soak/Unified Brands pot and pan sink
T&S hose reel
ThermalRite walk-in refrig. complex Metro/Emerson shelving