How Hospital Cafeterias Are Increasing Retail Revenue

Hospitals retail areas find themselves under increasing pressure to meet revenue goals

Faced with rising costs and financially challenging times, healthcare organizations are increasingly looking to their retail areas as an additional source of revenue generation. Although hospital foodservices operations are well known for providing patient meals, most if not all are also responsible for the retail side of foodservice operations at their onsite cafeteria, snack bar and or coffee bar. Tasked with growing their revenue contribution to the hospital, many Directors of Foodservices and Cafeteria Managers are taking creative steps to increase patronage. Increasing employee participation, enticing members of the local community, and tailoring their food and beverage offerings to the needs and culinary preferences of patrons are all goals of aggressive foodservices operators.

Grab and Go

In a busy healthcare environment, speed is key! That’s why over the past few years, many hospital cafeterias have redesigned their space to accommodate new coolers stocked with appetizing pre-packaged food choices; ranging from yogurt and fruit parfaits, to sandwiches and salads. These portable food options offer a highly convenient and fast way for busy healthcare workers to quickly grab something to eat or drink while on the run. The pre-packaging also enables staff to bring these items back to their desk or another area for consumption at a place other than the cafeteria. When used with a POS system and bar coded labels, check out of these grab and go items at the point of sale takes only a few fast seconds.

Dining Experience

Many healthcare facilities have renovated their cafeterias to offer a more appealing restaurant-like dining experience to attract employees, visitors and guests. Their goal is to entice hospital workers to remain onsite for lunch instead of seeking off site alternatives, appeal to visitors, and in some cases attract the local community. To accomplish this, Foodservices Directors are not only creating a visually appealing dining area, but also are hiring highly talented and experienced restaurant chefs with a flair for engineering new and delicious menus. Using a POS system with menu item performance tracking gives the chefs a clear picture of which menu items are performing well, and which should be removed from the menu rotation.

Employee payroll deductions

Managed through a Point of Sale System as an employee payroll deduction to be deducted from a future pay check, the ability to make a retail purchase by scanning the employee badge already carried by the healthcare worker is seen to be a valuable benefit and convenience. When employees can present the badge they already carry as a form of payment, they no longer have the need to carry cash or credit cards as they move about the facility. Frequently, this convenience means the difference between having the time to enjoy a delicious meal versus a skipped lunch or breakfast. Cashless payment also translates into an increase in add on food and beverage purchases, when the employee doesn’t have enough cash on their person to cover all the choices they’d like to make.

Credit card processing

It’s not unusual for visitors to find themselves without cash on hand when visiting a patient in the hospital. We are all consumers accustom to paying for most everything with our debit or credit cards, and are therefore quite surprised to find out the hospital cafeteria does not accept credit or debit cards. Although most hospitals offer an onsite ATM, the inability to accept credit or debit card payments translates into a lost sale; and quite possibly a full tray of food left at the checkout counter because the visitor didn’t have a convenience payment option. The checkout process is a big part of the customer experience, so it is important that credit and debit card processing is fast and fully integrated with the cash register operations of the POS system.