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March 19, 2024

How Felecia Crawford Is Making Good Hospital Food a Reality

Felecia Crawford 2023What if removing the stigma of hospital food was easier than you thought? For Felecia Crawford, it starts with a simple shift in perspective:

Don’t make good hospital food. Just make good food. And have a lot of fun while you’re at it.

Felecia Crawford is the director of nutrition services at St. Rita’s Medical Center in the Bon Secours Mercy Health system. She’s transformed the food service at St. Rita’s into something well beyond “pretty good for hospital food.”

From a chicken salad to-go series during the pandemic to their ‘Simple Dimple’ cookies program (which attracts customers from outside of the hospital), Felecia and her team are having a lot of fun making good food.

The Recipe for Good Food in the Hospital

Ingredient #1: Customer Feedback and Input

Felecia and her team lean on their customers to inspire them. Finding great-tasting recipes starts with simply discovering what people like. They track which dishes do well and engage with the staff, patients, and guests to create a feedback loop that keeps the kitchen fresh and customers happy.

Ingredient #2: Quality Local Ingredients

Local ingredients are a key part of HHS’ kitchens and our Source Local Initiative. Locally sourced ingredients aren’t just better quality; they also can decrease costs and support local farms and businesses in your community.

Ingredient #3: Chef Creativity and Freedom

The food industry is built upon creative minds. That’s why we believe the best way to make good food in a hospital is to unleash chef creativity rather than stifle it. Felecia encourages her team to be creative by holding regular brainstorming sessions to generate ideas for menus with one important rule: no idea is a bad idea.

What happens when you combine customer preferences, quality local ingredients, and chef creativity? Good food that creatives healthy, happy customers, patients, and staff.

Discover HHS' culinary services

Good Food Doesn’t Have To Mean Increased Costs

On the surface, it may seem like implementing creative solutions for culinary services could potentially drain already tight budgets. Especially with the widespread staffing challenges across the industry.

One cost-effective solution for hospitals is outsourcing. Working with an outsourced food services provider can help address staffing while also giving you access to greater purchasing power to drive down costs, such as the partnership between HHS and Advantus Health Partners. The right partner can allow you to focus on what you do best while they take care of the other support services necessary to run your facility.

Most important, however, is the vendor's ability to focus on improving quality and increasing revenue. HHS’ food services provide hospitals with experience, training, and innovative technology to both control costs and improve the overall dining experience.

Why Good Food Matters for Every Patient, Staff Member, and Visitor

Chefs like Felecia bring passion and joy to the kitchen. For her, it began in her childhood — every family event revolved around good food. While it’s common sense that people prefer good food, Felecia believes it’s about so much more than just a great meal.

For patients in a senior living facility, food may be the last thing they have control over. Giving those patients options they would like to choose can provide a sense of dignity and control that is otherwise missing in their lives.

Healthcare staff work long hours, spending most of them on their feet. A healthy, delicious meal can be the difference in finding the energy to keep up with the demanding workload and maintain their own health.

Food can also bring comfort to patient guests and visitors. Seeing loved ones in a hospital is often a difficult experience. A good meal can provide a moment of relief and even help strengthen trust in the hospital’s quality of care.

Achieving that Perfect Balance

Felecia and her team take pride in providing moments of joy to the hospital’s other departments.

When the pandemic hit, the team used its creativity to keep serving patients and staff. And today, their passion for good food continues to help remove the stigma of hospital food. Because they’re not making hospital food. They’re making good food. And it’s making all the difference.

Discover HHS' culinary services

Tag(s): Healthcare , Food

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