Jul 21 2011

What’s to Eat?

New Children’s and Women’s hospital cafeteria designed for families, faculty and staff

A brand new, state-of-the-art children’s and women’s hospital calls for more than your average cafeteria. That’s why it’s taken more than two years, a dozen people and thirteen requirements to plan and open the Getaway n Play Café in the C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.

A graphic rendering of the new cafeteria.

Slated to open Dec. 4, the retail food vendor Aramark will bring together the vision created by a team of Health System employees, Health System patients and families. Getaway n Play Café will take a unique approach to feeding Health System employees and guests, young and old. The café will be open from 6 a.m. – 12 a.m. every day (with a limited menu after 9 p.m.) and includes:

  • Noodles and stuff, featuring customizable noodle entrees, sandwiches and grilled favorites
  • Snatch it Up grab and go items
  • Yummy dessert bar
  • Full-service Subway restaurant

Catering and bulk meals are available so families and kids can have family-style meals together. Breakfast is available all day. And, some food choices will come in regular or mini portions with healthy baked options.

Construction continues on the Getaway n Play Cafe, scheduled to open Dec. 4.

“People often think that one person made the decision and the decision was made for profit,” says Contract Administrator Craig Luck, one member of the C&W retail food service team. “This whole process wasn’t handled that way. We engaged our staff and our families. We engaged other hospitals to see their offerings.”

The food service team, consisting of 10 Health System employees, a former C&W patient and a family member, identified more than a dozen areas of interest to define requirements for the new dining facility. The team created a survey for staff, patients and families. Patient Food and Nutrition Services put reminder slips on patient trays encouraging them to take it.

“We met for a full year to look at different attributes of the retail food choice,” says Jackie Lapinski, C&W project manager. “We talked about nutrition, greenness, food choices and family needs.”

Most important factors to C&W diners:

  • Quality of food/menu items
  • Type of food
  • Convenience
  • Menu pricing
  • Healthy options
  • Hours of operation
  • Proximity to their location
  • Dining environment

The team’s work resulted in several areas of interest that were considered during the planning process. They investigated and benchmarked against 10 other children’s hospitals, looking at things like hours of operation, whether food services were contracted and whether big-name restaurant brands (like Subway) were part of the dining experience. Also considered were menu pricing, ambiance, accessibility and finding a retail food vendor to provide entertainment and activities geared toward patients and families.

“Aramark’s proposal blew everyone out of the water,” Lapinski says of the vendor review process. “They really heard the ‘kid friendly.’ They came back with creative names, portion sizes and the ability to scale up and down. They will engage and involve kids with monthly events.”

The C&W food service team:

  • Contract Administrator: Craig Luck
  • C&W Project: Jackie Lapinski
  • Procurement: Sandy Barkman
  • Community Relations: Kim Barker
  • Registered Dietician: Uryna Gerber
  • Social Work: Lorrie Carbone
  • House Officer: Karen Wiseman
  • Nursing: Lucresha Mason
  • Clinical Support/Radiology: Elizabeth Noble
  • Patient Relations: Kelly Roth
  • Patient / Family Member: Robyn Bishop, Jonathon Wilbur

31 Responses to “What’s to Eat?”

  1. Darrin says:

    Real sorry to hear that Armark is going to be the Vendor for C&W. Have not been impressed with thier food selections or thier prices. I will continue to pack my lunch and not buy the Armark product as long as I can.

    • Craig Luck says:

      Darrin,thank you for your feedback. I am sorry to hear that you are not fond of the food options and variety that the cafe has to offer. I would be more then happy to meet with you in person to dicuss your concerns in more detail, if you wish. We always welcome new ideas and options that our guests would like to see available. If you have anything more specific that you would like to see offered, please let us know. Again, thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback.

  2. Marlene Ayers says:

    I am wondering if the menu items in the new cafeteria will list ingredients, nutrition info, and calorie content.

    The consumer public (including children) can be aided in choosing healthy menu items items when this information is readily available.

    • Craig Luck says:

      Thank you for your feedback. We are happy to report that we will have all of the above available both on-line and and in our new cafe at the point of sale. We are working diligently on recipes that will be tasty and healthy and most of all, that children will enjoy and not miss any of the fat. All of our recipes will be reviewed and approved by a MHealthy dietitian. Again, thank you for your feedback.

  3. CC says:

    I sure hope they LOWER the prices!!! Yes they have the 99c area but its all junk food (hotdogs, hamburgers, tatertots, etc)…THINK ABOUT the poor folks (patients and their families) that do NOT have 6 bucks or more to eat here! Staff has a choice to bring their lunch or go out…most of them do not cause they travel so far!!! I really hope AMARMARK gets on the mark with this!

  4. Craig Luck says:

    Thank you for your feedback. We do have many options available with our cost conscience guest in mind, many of which are healthy and favorites. Some of those items include salads, petite sandwiches, baked potato, fruit and veggie cups and peanut butter and jelly. If you have been to our retail venue lately and have not been able to purchase a healhty side for $.99, please feel free to share your idea and we will look into your option. I am sure that you are aware as the rest of our informed consumers of the rising cost of commodities. I am proud that in our cafes, that our first repsonse to rising prices is not to pass along to our guests, but rather to investigate other options and menu concepts that we could introduce. Again, thank you for your feedback, and we look forward to hearing your ideas.

    • John says:

      Craig, thank you for your feedback and sharing your thoughts and ideas. Yes, you have a few $.99 side selections (by the way the $.99 hot dog you offer has over 1100 calories and you market that to kids! That’s borderline criminal, in a hospital no less) however the prices on your food items are absurd. I saw a pastrami sandwich being offered for over $6 for the sandwich alone! I saw a small pre-made sub for over $8! One piece of pizza from Cottage Inn for over $3! A pre-made specialty salad for over $6? Really? Can you honestly say your prices are not inflated? Can you in all seriousness tell us that because you have a captive population of patients and staff we are not paying a premium for the convenience the Café provides?

  5. cheyanne ward says:

    At the new Subway, are we going to be able to call ahead for a carry out order when we are working in UH or one of the other hospitals? Everyone is excited about the new Subway, but we are afraid that it will take our entire lunch break to walk over there, stand in line and walk back to our work area. If we could order online or call ahead that would be great:)

    • Nikki says:

      Good Question Cheyanne! I was wondering the same thing? Does anyone have the answer? Or will they deliver?

    • Craig Luck says:

      Cheyanne, thank you for your feedback. We are certainly happy to hear the number of guests who are excited about our new cafe. Aramark is currently looking into a “desk top” ordering system that would allow our guest to order and pay for their food online, and pick up from a designated area at a pre-specified time. This is an option that we hope will fit the needs of our guests. Aramark is as anxious as you are to roll out such a system. Their first priority is to get the cafe up and running to ensure the utmost efficiencies. They hope to be able to speak to this within the next few months. Thank you, and stay tuned.

  6. mary getz says:

    I’m wondering if patients from the regular U-M hospital will be able to use their meal passes here once it opens. Thanks!

    • Craig Luck says:

      Yes, customers will be able to use meal passes.

      • John says:

        Craig, thank you for your response, I know you are very busy and must have overlooked my comments/questions can you please address them now? Thanks!

        Craig, thank you for your feedback and sharing your thoughts and ideas. Yes, you have a few $.99 side selections (by the way the $.99 hot dog you offer has over 1100 calories and you market that to kids! That’s borderline criminal, in a hospital no less) however the prices on your food items are absurd. I saw a pastrami sandwich being offered for over $6 for the sandwich alone! I saw a small pre-made sub for over $8! One piece of pizza from Cottage Inn for over $3! A pre-made specialty salad for over $6? Really? Can you honestly say your prices are not inflated? Can you in all seriousness tell us that because you have a captive population of patients and staff we are not paying a premium for the convenience the Café provides?

  7. Paula says:

    I would have to agree w/others about high prices @ UH Cafe. Hopefully, this won’t be an issue. I’ve seen it go from staff preparing the orders to weighing them on a scale down to cutting the chicken tenders in half to stretch it. The portions are smaller but the price didn’t decrease! The reason MANY UM employees and visitors continue to say they miss Wendy’s is because the prices were good, but the service was even better! They could have long lines, but they were fast. We would like to have good healthy options without breaking the bank or having the service compromised when we dine here!!!

    • Craig Luck says:

      Paula, thank you for your feedback. We certainly appreciate that you took the time to send us your thoughts. To answer your question directly, Lynn Noder-Love of Aramark responds as follows: “We strive to ensure that all of our guests receive an equal and nutritionally accurate portion everyday, and all day long. It is not to stretch a portion, but rather to ensure that any nutritional information that is posted on the our website is reflective in the dishes that we serve to our guests. This is not always an easy task as most of our stations are made to order, and portioning out in the open is imperative to ensure that we maintain accuracy. I would like to hear more about your statements regarding our service so that I can address it correctly. Please feel free to ask for me the next time you are in the cafe, so we may have a thorough duscussion. Thanks again for your feedback.”

  8. Nancy Rombach says:

    Excited about Subway becoming one of our meal choices. Will an online order and pay system be set up as with Jimmy Johns?

  9. Diane says:

    Very disappointed to hear another Aramark is coming. Aramark is serving the same high calorie, high fat content food week in and week out. Nacho’s, Potato Bar now Enchilada where is the imagination in that? Why couldn’t we bring Wendy’s back along with Subway? There were several MHealthy items on Wendy’s menu as well as reasonable prices.

    • Craig Luck says:

      Diane, thank you for your feedback. I appreciate that you took the time to send us your comments. While it is true you see many of the items back often on our “Home” station, we offer that simply due to the requests of our patrons. Mexican options continue to be a trend leader for the industry as a whole. Recently, this has even surpassed the sandwiches and burgers in the retail world. Our guests love these items as they provide a value and quality meal. There are several other stations within our cafe that do not change their menu offerings on a daily basis. Many of these items are MHealthy approved. You can choose these healhty options by checking for them online or looking for the sticker on the signage. In most of our venues there are several items that are value options that are also a healthy choice. You can choose a baked potato, a petite sandwich, a small Caesar or garden salad, or a veggie cup, all for under $1.29. If you would like more value options, you can find them highlighted at the top of our online menu. Again, thank you for your feedback.

  10. Tracie says:

    Wondering about the new cafe hours 6a-12a. Will those eventually be extended? The walk to UH is quite lengthy for those staff who only get a 30 minute lunch working the midnight shift.

    • Craig Luck says:

      Tracie, thank you for your feedback. I certainly do appreciate your concern and cannot give you a definitive answer at this time. Once we are open we will continue to monitor the utilization of the cafe during non-peak hours, and
      if the demand is high, we will certainly address the extending of the hours. Thank you for your thoughts.

  11. kim says:

    Please bring Byblos in the cafeteria other than Tues. evening, their food is good and healthy. Also Wendy’s food is healthy too and children would love to have a frosty.

    • Craig Luck says:

      Kim, thank you for your feedback. We are happy to hear that you enjoy our guest restaurant. We are not currently looking to extend the days this is offered, though we will certainly continue to assess the patronage at that zone. I am sure all of the children who will visit the new cafe will be delighted to know that there will be milkshakes available and they can even choose from 8 different flavors. Thanks for your comments.

  12. Tonya says:

    Super excited about the new Subway restaurant!!!!!

  13. IR says:

    I’m in COMPLETE agreement w/Paula. Wendy’s was the ONLY reason I headed in that direction (for the reasons Paula gave).

  14. Rachel says:

    Will there be more Kosher options? Some of us do not have the leisure of walking up to the counter and just eating whatever we want!

  15. Vicki says:

    I am very excited about Subway! I have stopped eating in the cafe ever since Wendy’s moved out. I could not justify paying those prices even on special days!

  16. Ron Bude says:

    Green schmeen. Not all of us march under the “green” revolution banner and I do not care if the new place is green conscious or not. Give us good food and good service and take your green fixation elsewhere.

    • Beth Johnson, editor and senior writer, PRMC says:

      The entire building was designed and built in accordance with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. The Health System is committed to being a strong environmental steward.

      But, whether you’re a fan of going green or not, the new cafe is dedicated to providing good food and good service. I hope you’ll find that’s the case when it opens in December.

  17. Laurie says:

    I found the cafeteria to be a big disappointment. There is not much of a selection and the hours are horrible.

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