Renovation Realities

Expect the Unexpected

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November, 2013

This month we are completing ourlast two Hospitality Centers for OSWMC's new room service program, Dining on Demand. The centers will give us decentralized meal and tray finishing capabilities in different parts of the medical center and help optimize logistics, quality and transport time.
 
We opened four other hospitality centers over the last six months, so you can call us "experienced" in the process.  
 
However, looking back, I don't think I expected the level of work that was required to start up each new one.
 
My advice to others: never underestimate the time it may take to roll out these kinds of satellite operations, even if they are supposed to be very similar to the ones that went before.
 
Since our spaces are remote and have different configurations based on expected production demands a
nd space availability, each one requires that we take time to figure out the best production flow and floor layout for product, staging, 
technology and finally delivery.
 
As I've watched our start up teams brainstorm and troubleshoot each site before and after it has been completed, I¹ve learned how even small differences can have impacts that require adjustment and adaptation from earlier solutions. 
 
When my kids were little, they read LemonySnickett¹s A Series of Unfortunate Events books. At times, I feel like we¹ve experienced a series of unfortunate events with this project!  
 
Last week, after hours, a construction team working above the ceiling inour Season's Café inadvertently set off our Ansul system—that immediately covered our entire cook line with fire retardant, 24 gallons of a messy green goo!
 
Thankfully, we are good at handling the unexpected. We had the kitchen functional again within 12 hours, just in time for lunch. Still, after most of the area had been cleaned up, our fire protection company needed to flush the system 
before it could be certified again. That threatened to dump another load of suppressant all over the space one more time! 
 
I have to admit, I admired the contractor¹s "MacGyver" solution: the creative use of 
garden hoses to instead drain each of the 27 ansul heads into trash cans.
  
In healthcare food service, it seems there are very few typical, "run-of-the-mill" days. But I think we and our teams thrive when the day throws us a curve and we successfully come out of the day's curves and bends without losing our momentum.
 
Still, there are times when I know I¹m more than ready for a "typical" day, week or month! And in the middle of a renovation project of this size and scope, you need to keep your eyes focused on the final desination and the long term goal because, most likely, tomorrow will bring yet another curve in the road.    
 

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What's Renovation Realities?

Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center has embarked on a two-year project to completely rebuild its production and dining facilities.

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Julie Jones

  Julie Jones has more than 25 years of experience as a leader in hospital based food and nutrition services.  Julie is currently Director of Food and Nutrition Services for the Ohio...
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