Why are Food Trucks & Food Trailers becoming popular in the Healthcare Industry?
Most of the time when you hear about a new food truck or food trailer, you’re typically hearing about an entrepreneur who said, “goodbye” to his or her day job and starting to work for themselves serving up new and great food or beverages to the community. Or you hear about the latest franchise or local restaurant that have added a food truck to their brick and mortar. But did you know that there are other industries buying and building out food trucks? Hospitals, medical universities and clinics are all jumping onto the food truck trend. But not necessarily for reason that you think.
Purposes for Food Trucks and Food Trailers in Medical Industry
Beyond the for-profit food truck business, hospitals and others in the medical industry recognize the value that mobility brings them and see food trucks as the answer to solve needs.
Uses for Food Trucks:
- Promote healthy and nutrient-rich menus to the community
- Enhance night shift staff dining options
- Disaster Relief Outreach
- Event catering for marketing and public relations
- Extension of the existing cafes to provide healthy food options to local businesses, clinics and other venues
- Education to good, healthy eating habits
Healthcare Food Trucks Already in Action
Morrison Healthcare is a food service company that serves hospitals around the United States. They are working to bring the improve the hospital food experience all around. They’ve improved the menus to mean higher quality and more choices. They are, also, improving the second and third shift staff food options.
Bryan Penland, Morrison’s senior director food and nutrition at Northside, “it’s getting away from expectations of ‘red Jell-O, blue Jell-O.’”
They have installed food trucks in two hospitals: Northside Hospital on Pill Hill and University of Miami Hospital.
Northside Hospital on Pill Hill
The menu includes a locally sourced beef for their handcrafted burgers on focaccia bread with a spicy Korean may and served with sweet fries. They have options to exchange the beef for free-range chicken or portobello mushrooms.
Pre-planning for mass casualty disasters, they know that they will be able to boil water and prepare food. Additionally, Morrison is known for planning special events for patients.
“Our food and nutrition service is an integral part of the care that Northside provides,” said Lee Echols, Northside’s vice president of marketing and communications. “We are proud of the exceptional quality of the cuisine, food selections and service that our staff provide.”
University of Miami Hospital
Touted as the ‘Innovator of the Year” Morrison has changed the food lifestyle at the University of Miami Hospital for the better. They not only improved the on-campus café, but they brought in a food truck named “Miami Eats”.
“We put in what to our knowledge is the first-of-its-kind-in-healthcare food truck,” Kevin Sweizer, Morrison’s regional vice president who oversees operations at UMH says proudly. “We went out to Gulfstream and contracted to make us a food truck that could fit out there.”
The food truck serves a smaller version of the café’s menu that is an upscale deli concept.
Arkansas Heart Hospital
In 2018, Arkansas Heart Hospital debuted their food truck serving a healthier version of the authentic Japanese ramen dish. They use the truck to cater events for marketing and public relations. They focus on their “Keep the Beat” program for cardiac screening, the educational program focused on hearth health.
This full-time food truck can be seen around town or at local area businesses.
“Our culinary department is nationally recognized. Providing the option of a food truck to businesses, clinics and other venues with healthy, delicious food was the next step,” said Casey Atwood, director of culinary services and a registered dietitian at Arkansas Heart Hospital.
Food trucks and food trailers are extending the reach of entrepreneurs and now more than ever, in the healthcare industry. Think beyond the concrete walls and see the benefits that a food truck can bring to your hospital, medical-food service operations or clinic.
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