How to implement a successful catering concept: the “Auszeit” organic bistro at the St. Josef Hospital in Moers

Der Beitrag “An oasis of catering” shows how catering establishments are changing from food distributors to service providers. This trend is also apparent in hospital cafeterias. Instead of – as was usual for many years – simply providing patients and their relatives with the essentials, today’s establishments have well-thought out catering concepts with a pleasant atmosphere and a wide choice of food.

An example of this is the “Auszeit” organic bistro at the St. Josef hospital in Moers, which has been very successful since it opened in 2018.

The specifications before conversion

- The sales area should be mainly operated by 2 to 2.5 employees.
- All guest groups including staff, visitors, patients and external guests should be catered for.
- With 120 m², only a relatively small space was available.

Implementation

A balanced mix of self-service and service counters, as well as space-saving niches, makes optimum use of the sales area of the new “Auszeit” organic bistro, reducing the length of the counters by around 30 metres. There is no central tray and plate collection station. The guests pick up their trays directly at the food stations. This and the short paths with invitingly wide aisles are user friendly and prevent long queues. A large-screen monitor welcomes the guests with details of the day’s menu and can also be used for other information. The extensive salad buffet is in full view, enticing guests to come inside. The counter catches the eye in a striking shade of red. Takeaway snacks and confectionery are available at the checkout. The food on offer in the bistro is also oriented to the growing demands of the guests. The breakfast buffet and ice creams are of hotel-level quality. At lunchtime, front cooking with a wok, griddle plate and fryer provides a visual highlight for the guests. During this time, there are more employees working in the sales area. In the evening, guests can choose between various hot and cold snacks.

“Instead of bain-maries, Therma Dry is now used in the food serving area," says Norbert Bauer, the Senior Account Manager at Rüther responsible for the concept, interior design and food service. “The latest version of Therma Dry doesn’t use water, but infrared radiation to keep the food hot. This means no water connections are needed. It’s also much easier for the kitchen staff to use: there’s no aggravating steam, the containers can be easily put into the hinged compartments and there’s much less limescale to clean off.”

Guests at the bistro can either enjoy their meals indoors or – if the weather’s nice – on the new outdoor patio, which also has space for gatherings and events.

The “Auszeit” organic bistro exceeds expectations

The stringent requirements that the new bistro concept had to fulfil have been successfully implemented through close cooperation between the client, the tenant and operator Rebional and the planners at Hupfer and Rüther.

The result is impressive:

- Significantly more sales: an increase of around 70 %
- Justification for the long overdue price level adjustment

Mr Bauer is clearly satisfied: “The new catering concept has not only allowed us to create a bistro with a modern, versatile menu at the St. Josef hospital in Moers, but also to significantly improve its profitability – without any advertising and despite a slight increase in prices and a longer walk.”

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