When AdventHealth Apopka, Apopka, Fla., planned to upgrade its services, it didn’t just redecorate; it rebuilt the facility from the ground up. Started in early 2015, the brand-new, state-of-the-art acute care facility, previously named Florida Hospital Apopka, was ready to open by December ’17. And while much of the focus was on medical equipment, hospital administrators had put enough thought into their foodservice plans to mention in press releases that they were ready to keep patients, family members, and visitors well-nourished.
The project faced challenges of both time and space. Raymond Moe, Senior Project Manager with AdventHealth, was responsible for overseeing the entire project. He recalls, “The time requirement for rebuilding was strenuous, as the team was working with an extremely aggressive schedule to meet the demand and needs of providing healthcare to the community.” Moe explains that reducing the project transition period helped them make the schedule. To do this, they allowed the foodservice team to come in before the facility was ready to open, to fire up the new equipment and get acclimated to it and the work area.
William Inman, President of Inman Foodservices Group, Nashville, Tenn., which led the foodservice design portion of the project, relates that he and his design team “have the horsepower to take on any size project and schedule. We attended more meetings than usual, to get quicker approvals and decisions. It was a well-orchestrated project with the owners’ full commitment to expedite decisions.”
Asked about the vision for the overall design, Moe notes that he drew inspiration from the fact that Apopka is known as the foliage capital of the world, and he worked to pull the calmness of a greenhouse into the building. Establishing that sense of calmness in the foodservice areas fell to Inman and his team. Inman explains that the hospital wanted to meet the needs of staff on lunch breaks, but also requested a restaurant-style dining area with wait staff, where visitors could relax. Of course, they also had to offer room service for all the patients, but without using any of the circulation space specified by the architect.
Inman recalls, “It was tricky, designing a facility that provided everything requested in an efficient way without increasing the square footage and equipment cost.” Inman accomplished this by creating an area that included a 2,760-sq.-ft. Food Court that could operate as a self-serve, retail café, to meet the needs of those on short breaks or just looking for a quick meal, but that also could prepare food for the adjacent 2,900-sq.-ft. sit-down restaurant. This Food Court includes multiple grab-n-go displays, coffee station, short-order cook station/grill, pizza and pasta area, entrée station, self-serve beverages, and a soup, salad, and dessert island bar. An order station in the restaurant area allows wait staff to place orders with the short-order area in the Food Court. Finally, the team created the 4,940-sq.-ft. main kitchen to both support the Food Court as needed and to supply room service for patients.