Rethinking Food Service in COVID-19 Era

By By Dan Hounsell
February 23, 2021

Food service programs in healthcare facilities nationwide have been turned upside down and inside during the COVID-19 pandemic out as managers rethink traditional operations to meet the evolving needs of customers. Consider one California health system, where the changes have affected a range of facilities differently.

The University of California San Francisco Health dining services program is staying busy in the new year, according to Food Management. It has rebooted the destination delivery service it piloted late last year at its main Parnassus Heights campus. It also launched a limited delivery program at its Mission Bay campus, and it plans to debut mobile ordering and delivery through the GrubHub Campus app at the Mount Zion campus soon. It also has introduced a program called Budget Bites, which packages leftovers, blast chills them and sells them as re-heatable grab-and-go options in its cafes and in Garten branded smart fridge vending units.

Dan Henroid, the system;s food and nutrition services director, says the traditional role of hospital cafes as places to take an emotional break might be a reason for the delivery option’s lack of orders.

“The café dining rooms help serve as a relief valve to the lack of space on the patient care units,” he says. “In addition, I think people are under a little more stress and need the mental and physical break off their unit or work area. We are still tinkering with it.”

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