09/17/04 — Hospital revamps cafeteria to offer space and choice

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Hospital revamps cafeteria to offer space and choice

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on September 17, 2004 2:00 PM

One of Wayne County's restaurants has just gotten bigger, but you've got to know your way around the hospital to get to the food.

The newly renovated cafeteria at Wayne Memorial Hospital is now open, offering a plethora of choices from pizza to penne pasta.

And there's even a Starbucks Coffee station.

Originally built in 1970, the old cafeteria eventually needed more space. The old configuration created long lines for food, making a bottleneck in the hospital hallway and taking up valuable time for hospital employees.

"There was no space when you came in," explained Amy Cain, public relations director for Wayne Memorial. "It was basically one long service line."

The new cafeteria has several separate food stations. "You can wander throughout the area to decide what you want," Mrs. Cain said.

After passing the traditional menu, a patron might want to stop at the deli counter for an offering of fresh meats and cheeses.

Or an individual pizza at the next station might be what you're craving.

Then there's the salad bar and the grill, where hot dogs, veggie burgers, onion rings and other foods are served.

In the middle of the room is a stand alone serving station where tempting dishes like pasta with shrimp and scallops are cooked while you wait.

The $2 million project renovated 4,100 square feet of the old cafeteria and added 4,500 square feet.

"Before, the whole area accommodated 96 people, and now 264 people can be seated" said Garry O'Neill, director of food and nutrition for the hospital. "The hospital had grown, and the trends in food service have changed over the past 30 years."

O'Neill works for Sadexho USA, which has a contract with Wayne Memorial to manage food service.

He said that the menus are based on geographical preferences.

"We have contracts for food services all over the states, but we wouldn't put grits on the menu up north," he said.

Hours of operation are from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., seven days a week. "Plus we're open from 1:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m., seven days a week to provide cafeteria services for the night shift," said Mrs. Cain.

Wayne County night owls are also welcome to come in to eat during those two hours.

Mrs. Cain said that sheriff's deputies and state troopers sometimes eat in the cafeteria during those early morning hours.

The cafeteria also offers a catering service, for the hospital and for customers outside the hospital.

Still under construction are four new meeting rooms next to the new dining room.

"Meeting space is desperately needed," said Mrs. Cain. "There will be three movable walls, so you can have one big room or smaller ones."

She said the response from hospital employees to the new cafeteria has been positive.

"This is more efficient for those pressed for time, but it's a much nicer dining environment," she said.