Morrison Healthcare Food Services has opened Kay Kafe, an inviting, “child-centric” dining experience for patients, families and staff at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. The eatery incorporates design elements created especially for children, combined with a diverse choice of healthy food designed to appeal to young palates.
Made possible by a $16 million gift from Sterling Jewelers Inc., the 21,400-sq.ft. café serves nearly 2,000 people a day, with half that coming during a typical lunch hour.
Like all of the St. Jude patient areas, Kay Kafe was designed to allow face-to-face interactions between patients and staff. The open, modern layout lets the space be the heart of the hospital, with colorful photographs and artwork lining the walls, brightly colored wall tiles surrounding the serving stations, and low, kid-friendly counters to allow easy conversation between patients and staff.
“It was important to create a place where children would feel at home and experience a sense of awe,” says Morrison President Michael Svagdis. “For instance, we used items that go to the heart of what fun means to a child. The pastry plates in the bakery are on top of large glass containers full of colorful jelly beans. Patients can also decorate their own cupcakes or make their own pizzas. Our goal was to help them take their minds off of being patients and just be kids.”
The café's dining area has seating for up to 500, with benches, tables and an outdoor patio. The menu, overseen by Executive Chef Miles McMath, is served from nearly a dozen different food stations, many of them brands from parent company Compass Group North America such as Au Bon Pain, Barbecue America, Coyote Jack's Grill and Mamma Leone's.
In addition, children who receive inpatient care at St. Jude have their own cooks and separate food preparation area in the kitchen as a method of infection control, ensuring a specific area where these patients can have specialty foods prepared.