DINING BY THE FALLS. Staffers and visitors to St. Mary's Medical Center in Hobart, IN, enjoy a meal in the hospital's new Waterfall Cafe, named for the waterwall in the background of the photo.
As hospitals jockey for position in a bid to gain market share, the ante is continually raised not just in terms of providing better clinical services, but better amenities. This is true not only in large cities but in smaller communities as well.
Take Hobart, IN, just south of Gary in the state's northwest corner.There, St. Mary's Medical Center recently unveiled its latest salvo in attracting in-patient business: a new patient tower featuring all private rooms with hardwood floors, desks with internet access, recliners for extended-stay visitors, a wireless call system for summoning nurses and monitoring patient vital signs and—not incidentaly— an enhanced patient foodservice that includes an expanded selection incorporating the menu from the hospital's new Waterfall Cafe.
"The nurses have a copy of the cafe menu and patients can order anything off it, as long as it doesn't conflict with their dietary rstrictions," says Food Service Director Len Ayers. "This includes our new seelction of grilled items and choices from our new international station."
The nursing stations also have snack stocks for patients wishing to get a quick bite between meal periods or after the kitchen has closed. The snacks include sandwiches, fruit, milk and cookies. Access to the snacks is controlled by an entry code punched in by a nursing supervisor.
The grill and international selections, along with an exhibition station featuring new chef Ryan Smith, highlight the hospital's new retail operation, the Waterfall Cafe (named for the wall-length waterfall that is its centerpiece). The international selections rotate daily and feature such cuisines as Japanese, French, Latin American and Indian. Ayers says the station draws as many as 200 customers a day.
Other selections include a salad bar, make-you-own deli stationand 10-well hot food line. The hospital has a staff of about 900 and the Waterfall Cafe now averages between 600 and 700 meals a day.
Quite a leap from the old cafeteria and its staid line of four hot wells, no grill and seating for a bare 75.The new space has indoor seating for 150, and for another 56 on nice days when an adjacent outdoor patio is usable.