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Facility Design Project of the Month: Northwest Community Hospital Arlington Heights, Ill.

Charbroilers, a deck oven, steamers, fryers and other production and serving equipment now occupy a space once furnished with operating tables and stretchers. This hospital's former surgical suite has been transformed into a foodservice that includes Oasis, a marketplace-style servery, and a full kitchen with patient tray assembly and storage areas.

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Customers visiting the new foodservice at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, are treated to a light, airy respite from the facility's patient floors. Contributing to the open, fresh ambiance for customers, who have a choice of relaxing, social and private dining environments, are multi-level ceiling planes that were designed to shift viewers' gaze upwards, water walls and glass panels juxtaposed to present concave and convex shapes, natural woods, organic textures, plants, a variety of indoor lighting and a 168 foot by 28 foot skylight that brings the outdoors inside. A bright, well-equipped servery with 10 food stations offers myriad menu selections, many of which are prepared a la minute in front of customers.

Supporting the servery is a back-of-the-house production kitchen that is also equipped to produce menu items for patient dining and catered events. Prior to its opening in June 2003, however, the space now occupied by this foodservice, designed by OWP/P architects of Chicago and foodservice consultants from Robert Rippe & Associates Inc. of Minnetonka, Minn., was the hospital's surgical suite. This central campus location has provided an ideal venue for both staff and visitor dining.

The result of a $9 million remodeling is a foodservice facility with more sophistication than had ever been developed at this community hospital. "Though much had been done to improve our physical plant and the services provided to patients, little had been done with our retail foodservice operations," explained Forbes Borthwick, director of Nutrition and Food Services. "Administrators, naturally, wanted to improve services for staff. In the cafeteria, we hadn't had a significant update since 1973. Many felt the old facility was like a high school cafeteria or, worse, a prison cafeteria. Also, we were out of code on many pieces of equipment, such as ventilation hoods."

Since the new 28,360-square-foot foodservice (double the size of the former operation) was opened, customer traffic has increased by 50% and sales have gone up by 80%. The average transaction has increased from $2.25 to $3.09. A $1.4 million investment in equipment now allows 85 FTEs to produce a daily average of 1,450 meals for the servery and 900 patient meals, as well as 1,500 meals weekly for catered functions. "We have huge production capabilities built into the kitchen to accommodate hospital expansion," added Borthwick.

Because the existing facility itself was old, several obstacles had to be overcome. "There were pre-existing restrictions, such as elevators, that limited where we could place the servery and dishroom," recalled the project's foodservice consultant, Robert Rippe, principal, Robert Rippe & Associates. "In addition, mechanical equipment located in an outside courtyard was situated in the middle of the foodservice, so we had to work around it. But all things considered, the department now works very efficiently."

As customers enter the marketplace-style Oasis, curved serving stations and the positioning of the service points themselves ease circulation through the 3,835-square-foot space. "In the old facility, there was a lot of cross-traffic," recalled Borthwick. "In the new operation, customers walk through the food court, out through the cash registers and drop off their trays at the other end."

The first area encountered when arriving at Oasis is a deli station, which is attached to the bakery/beverage station. The deli station, which offers assorted made-to-order sandwiches, as well as prepared sandwiches that are presented in a refrigerated display case, is equipped with work and serving counters, an undercounter refrigerator and a freezer, as well as a fryer and grill positioned under an exhaust hood.

The adjacent bakery/beverage station, which features fresh-baked goods, coffee, specialty teas and hot chocolate, also has undercounter refrigerators, a roll-in refrigerator, a mobile rack, a tea bag dispenser, a coffee brewer, and cup and lid dispensers. These stations and others are operated at hours to accommodate peak and slow traffic periods. For example, the deli and bakery stations are the only service points that are also open during the overnight shift hours. (See the Design Capsule for details.)

Nearby is a trapezoid-shaped self-serve bar-style station with hot and cold food wells and display shelving for grab 'n go sandwiches and salads; breakfast foods; prepared and make-your-own salad items; soup (served from wells); specialty items such as baked potatoes and tacos; and cold desserts. Just steps from the soups and specials area is a grill station, equipped with hot food serving and work counters, a display warmer, heat lamps, a heated display case, undercounter and reach-in refrigerators, a grill, a charbroiler, a two-section fryer with a dump station and an exhaust hood. During early morning hours, breakfast items are produced here. In mid-morning, the menu changes to lunch and dinner fare, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled sandwiches and french fries.

Key Equipment List — Kitchen

1. Slicer stand 2. Slicer 3. Work counter w/sink & overshelf 4. Sheet-pan dolly 5. Mobile ingredient bins 6. Utility cart 7. 30-qt. mixer 8. Counter w/sink/bain marie 9. Exhaust vapor hood 10. Hand sink 11. Combi oven (2-section) 12. Roasting oven (2-section) 13. Range w/oven & spreader 14. Tilting fry pan 15. Floor grate & frame complex system 16. 40-gal. kettle, wall-hung 17. Exhaust hood w/fire protection system 18. Blast chiller 19. Blast chiller rack 20. Reach-in freezer (1-section) 21. Steamer (2-section) 22. Range w/oven & spreader 23. Charbroiler grill w/refrigerated base 24. Fryer w/filter (2-section) 25. Worktop freezer (2-section) 26. Heated plate dispenser 27. Reach-in warming cabinet (1-section) 28. Hose station 29. Blender 30. Food processor 31. Cooks' work counter w/tray assembly 32. Microwave oven 33. Refrigerated prep table 34. Hot food counter 35. Checker's station 36. Starter counter w/overshelf 37. Printer 38. Base heater 39. Tray dispenser 40. Ice cream cabinet 41. Mobile rack 42. Mobile air-screen refrigerator 43. Milk cabinet 44. Toaster counter 45. Conveyor toaster 46. Condiment bins 47. Coffee urn 48. Coffee counter 49. Cup rack dispenser 50. Patient tray cart 51. Roll-through refrigerator (2-section) 52. Mobile dish dolly 53. Double plating work counter w/sinks & overshelf 54. Trash bin 55. Auto bagger cart 56. Auto bagger 57. Hose bibb 58. 12-qt. mixer & mobile equipment stand 59. Reach-in refrigerator (2-section) 60. Dome rack 61. Pan storage shelving 62. Roll-in refrigerator (1-section) 63. Disposer w/spray rinse 64. Work counter w/sinks 65. Hot water dispenser 66. Wall shelf 67. Mobile mixing bowl 68. Roll-in refrigerator (2-section) 69. Electrical room

Key Equipment List — Servery

70. Condiment counter 71. Trays 72. Flatware dispenser 73. Condiment rail 74. Napkin dispenser 75. Soufflé cup dispenser 76. Condiment dispenser 77. Chilled-water dispenser 78. Cup dispenser 79. Microwave oven 80. Bagel/bun toaster 81. Cashier counter 82. Cash register 83. Double-sided cashier stand 84. Mobile snack display 85. Mobile cashier stand 86. Espresso machine 87. Cup dispenser 88. Cream dispenser 89. Cup/lid dispenser 90. Coffee counter 91. Coffee urn 92. Tea bag dispenser 93. Trash bin 94. Work counter w/sink 95. Airpot brewer 96. Undercntr. refrig. (1-section) 97. Mobile rack 98. Roll-in refrigerator (1-section) 99. Hand sink 100. Refrigerated base 101. Exhaust hood w/fire protection system 102. Built-in fryer 103. Built-in grill 104. Fire protection system 105. Worktop freezer (1-section) 106. Deli counter 107. Deli display case 108. Hot food well 109. Hot food counter 110. Heat lamp 111. Display counter 112. Bakery display case 113. Novelty ice cream display 114. Beverage counter 115. Refrigerated display case 116. Counter 117. Soup salad/special counter 118. Ice maker/dispenser w/soda heads 119. Refrigerated bakery display case 120. Dessert counter 121. Bakery display case 122. Undercounter refrigerator (2-section) 123. Work counter w/refrig. base 124. Mobile warming cabinet 125. Soup well 126. Hot/cold pan 127. Snack display 128. Grill/fried food counter 129. Display warmer 130. Heated display case 131. Heated plate dispenser 132. Grill 133. Charbroiler w/stand 134. Exhaust hood w/fire protection system 135. Work counter 136. Reach-in refrigerator/freezer (1-section) 137. Fryer w/filter (2-section) 138. Counter w/dump station 139. Carving station 140. Pass-through warming cabinet (1-section) 141. Soda system 142. Central water filtration system 143. Hose bibb 144. Soft-serve machine 145. Toppings dispenser 146. Soft-serve counter 147. Pizza/sauté counter 148. Refrigerated prep table 149. Roll-in refrigerator (1-section) 150. Sauté range w/refrigerated base & rail 151. Deck oven (2-section) 152. Heated shelf 153. Icemakers/dispenser w/soda heads 154. Juice dispenser 155. Beverage dispenser

NOTE: Carving station (#139) has since been moved to the Sauté/Stir Fry area.

Adjacent to the grill station is the hot entrée station, equipped with hot food wells, a heated display case, a heated plate dispenser, a work counter and pass-through warming cabinets. Breakfasts are offered in the early mornings, while heartier fare is offered in the late morning, afternoons and evenings.

Next to the entrée station is a soft-serve station equipped with soft-serve and toppings dispensers. Adjacent to this area is a chef's special station that features several menu choices cooked at a sauté/stir-fry station, which offers meat and meatless entrées prepared to order. Included in the equipment lineup here are a heated plate dispenser, a roll-in refrigerator, an exhaust hood, a work counter and a sauté range with a refrigerated base and rail. A carving station is positioned next to the sauté station; the carving and sauté stations are open on alternate days.

Several steps further along the station lineup is a self-service pizza station, open during lunch and dinner. At least three varieties of pizza are prepared daily here and baked in a two-section, brick-lined deck oven, which features a two-inch-thick cooking surface, burners that run left to right and a special air chamber located below the cooking surface, all of which are designed to achieve even baking. Also at this station are a heated plate dispenser, an exhaust hood, heat lamps and a heated shelf. Another cold beverage station, along with refrigerated deli cases for sandwiches, salads and desserts positioned close to the cashier stations, provides a gateway to the 8,720-square-foot dining areas, called Terraces and Veranda, and a 1,185-square-foot area named Sunroom. The three areas seat 350 customers. In 2004, Northwest Community was given a design award for its use of carpeting in the hospitality section.

In the back of the house, a 10,630-square-foot space was allocated for storage and bulk food preparation, as well as trayline assembly.

Walk-in coolers and a freezer are positioned near the loading dock and receiving area of this kitchen. In the cold prep section are pan storage shelving, mobile racks, a one-section roll-in refrigerator, a hand sink, a utility cart, a disposer with spray rinse, a work counter with sinks, a hot water dispenser, a blender, a food processor, a wall shelf, a mobile mixing bowl, mobile racks and a two-section roll-in refrigerator. Across an aisle are a 12-quart mixer, a hose bibb with hot and cold water faucets that allow the use of a high-pressure floor cleaner throughout the kitchen, an auto bagger and cart, and a double plating work counter with sinks and an overshelf. Mobile dish dollies are positioned here, as well. Adjacent are utility carts, a two-section roll-through refrigerator and mobile air-screen refrigerators, all of which are used to support a cook-and-serve tray assembly program.

The preparation of 900 trays daily takes place on a 26-foot-long line. Three hundred plates are put together three times a day in 60 minutes and are then taken to patient floors. (Though the hospital is licensed for 562 beds and staffed for 412 beds, average daily census is 300.)

Across from the tray assembly is the kitchen's patient service batch-production hot food area. It is equipped with a blender, a food processor, a cooks' work counter, a microwave oven, a refrigerated prep table, hot food counters, a one-section reach-in freezer, an exhaust hood, a two-section steamer, a range with oven and spreader, a charbroiler, a fryer, heated plate dispensers and a reach-in warming cabinet. "This hot-line arrangement is efficient because staff don't have to walk far to get needed ingredients. This allows cooks to prepare grilled items and similar fare just in time for the trayline," explained Rippe.

"As a result, cooks are now part of the trayline assembly team. In the future, this setup would work perfectly if room service were to be implemented." A low wall separates this kitchen section from the other bulk hot-food preparation area, which is in use during the middle of day to prepare large-quantity menu items.

Now that Borthwick and his foodservice team have become situated in their new surroundings and are reaping the revenue and other rewards of enthusiastic customer acceptance, they are experimenting with new menu and service options that have become possible thanks to their new equipment and expanded space. Memories of the old operation are fading rapidly. What remains, though, is a commitment to equipment maintenance. "We were able to use a lot of our old equipment for more than 30 years," he recounted. "That is a credit to the staff for keeping it so clean and well maintained. We'll be applying that same standard in our new operation."

Design Capsule

A surgical unit at Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) in Arlington Heights, Ill., has been transformed into a foodservice featuring a marketplace-style servery and a production kitchen that includes tray assembly and storage areas.

Known as Oasis, the servery features 10 food stations and 350 seats. Revenues per month average $115,000 from 1,470 customers daily. A total of 3,000 employees work at the hospital, 85 FTEs in foodservice. The average transaction is $3.09. The entire foodservice space occupies 28,360-square-feet. Equipment costs for the project totaled $1.5 million; construction costs, $9 million. Operating hours: bakery/beverage station, 6 a.m. - 8 p.m., M-F, and 6:30 a.m. - 8 p.m., weekends; deli station, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. (These areas are the only sections that are also open for the overnight shift hours. 7 p.m. - 4 a.m., M-F, and 11 p.m. - 3:30 a.m., weekends.) Breakfast part of the bar, breakfast grill and breakfast hot entrée station, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m. M-F, 6:30 a.m. - 10 a.m., weekends; salad bar, 10:45 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.; sauté/carving station, hot entrée station and pizza station, 10:45 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.; and Grill Station, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Owner: Northwest Community Healthcare Project Supervisor: Robert Klasek, executive director, Facility Support, NCHProject Manager: Craig Petzelt, senior project manager, NCH Facility Support DepartmentArchitect: OWP/P, Chicago; Laura Gagliano, project architect; Jocelyn Stroupe, project manager; and Richard Bliss, project designer. Interior Design: OWP/P, Chicago.NCH Nutrition & Foodservice Management Team: Forbes Borthwick, director, Nutrition and Food Services; Tony Beltran, purchasing/production specialist; Linda Foster, systems coordinator; Jackie Fischer, café coordinator; Pat Kryger, patient trayline coordinator; and Kate Lescohier, chief clinical dietitian.Foodservice Consultant: Robert Rippe & Associates Inc., Minnetonka, Minn.; Robert Rippe, R.D., principal; Christine Guyott, R.D., project manager; and Richard Kukla, engineering and construction.General Contractor: Power Construction Co., Schaumburg, Ill.Equipment Supplier: U.S. Foodservice, Chicago

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