UW News

April 26, 2007

UWMC Food & Nutrition Services makes magazine cover

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

The results-oriented style of UW Medical Center’s Food & Nutrition Services caught the attention of Food Management, a magazine that presents new ideas for college, healthcare, school, and business dining. The April 2007 cover story featured UWMC’s creative approaches to meal and snack options for patients, staff, and visitors.

Serving an average of 1,000 patient meals and 5,000 cafeteria meals a day, the UWMC dining team has shown how a large, high volume food operation can innovate effectively. Among the successes highlighted in the article are:

  • Patient meal services in unusual locations like the Emergency Department and Outpatient Surgery,
  • Dishes by local chefs to augment the cafeteria menu,
  • Automated temperature monitoring of all cold and hot holding units, and  
  • A mobile food cart that circulates the medical center at night.

In its profile of Food & Nutrition Director Walter Thurnhofer, the magazine commended the financial management of UWMC’s food services, whose contribution margin has exceeded budget for the past four years. The department has annual retail sales of $5 million, which includes catering sales of $550,000.

The department runs lean. Compared to medical centers across the nation, it is in the lower quartile for expenses and in the top quartile for revenue and productivity.

Retail sales growth, Thurnhofer said, is mostly from more volume from improved merchandising and promotion. The hot deck and the cold area have many new choices, and sandwiches can be made-to-order.

Patient room service is the next step. The menu, translated into five languages, will offer selections from Regional Northwest Specialties, the International Market, and traditional American comfort foods, as well as salads and grilled items.

The article will be on the Web at: http://www.food-management.com.