Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust has backed its in-house catering team to deliver both customer satisfaction and a financial contribution to the cost of patient care.
Whilst the trend in many NHS establishments in England and Wales has been to invite national brands to install ‘coffee-shops’ on the premises, the people with the hands-on responsible for delivering catering at Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust saw a different opportunity.
‘On the face of it, it’s a simple solution to bring in a third-party to take over a hospital’s coffee shop’, Angela Wakefield, Catering Manager at Ormskirk Hospital, part of Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust, said. ‘There’s minimal outlay, as the third party picks up the cost of acquiring the machines and they provide all your coffee and consumables. The hospital then gets a cut of the income. There’s no work involved for the hospital, other than keeping the machines topped up with milk.’
Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust thought it could deliver a better service to customers
Angela, together with the Catering Manager Southport Hospital, part of Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust. Tracy Potter, thought they could deliver a better service to customers – and a better deal to the Trust – by making the most of the advantages incumbent in the roster of experienced, well-trained and highly motivated catering staff they had at their disposal. ‘Our people are extremely capable and they’re excited at the prospect of using modern coffee machines and providing a high quality cup of coffee’, Tracy said.
‘The ‘Big Boys’ are interested in coming into hospitals for one simple reason and that’s because they can make a lot of money’, Angela added. ‘The thing is, our in-house people know exactly what it takes to create a consumer experience that’s the equal of any in the High Street. All we needed to add in order to be a viable alternative to third-party involvement was the ability to source quality ingredients and, if possible, elicit the support of a quality brand.’
‘It was the perfect fit’: Coffee 1652 MD Mike Cowley
Angela and Tracy called in coffee experts Coffee 1652 and with the help of the St.Helen’s based company, a deal was done to bring in Kimbo, the famous Neapolitan brand favoured by Jamie Oliver in his ‘Jamie’s Italian’ outlets, which is also found in many of the UK’s leading hotels and restaurants.
‘It was the perfect fit’, Coffee 1652 MD Mike Cowley said. ‘Kimbo is a premium coffee brand from Southern Italy of the highest quality and when you partner Kimbo with the right coffee machines, the results are as good as it gets. By using this approach, the Trust can provide the convenience and comfort of an on-site coffee shop without surrendering a proportion of the income to a third party. Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust can give staff, patients and visitors a facility they want and appreciate and they can keep any well-earned profits in house.’
Another important benefit of keeping the shop in-house is that all the food and snacks on offer to accompany the coffee can be hand-picked by hospital staff. ’70-80% of what we offer for sale complies with the requirements of the NHS’s CQuin (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation) policy in terms of ingredients, nutrients, sugar content and so on’, Tracy said. ‘We’re doing out bit to offer a quality service, whilst at the same time keeping both staff and visitors healthy.’
The first Kimbo outlet opened in Ormskirk in 2013 and in subsequent months the concept was proved. Consequently, a decision was taken to expand the offer to Southport. As you’d expect, many of the regular customers are NHS staff. ‘I thought I might get some stick from regulars because the cost of a cup of coffee went up when we introduced Kimbo’, Tracy said. ‘But I didn’t get a single complaint. At £1.50, people see it as a bargain in comparison to the prices charged by the High Street chains.’
‘There’s hardly a day goes by without the NHS being on the receiving end of a bad news story but there are NHS staff ‘local heroes’ out there who are making the very best use if the resources at their disposal and making a great success of it’, Mike said. ‘It’s because of the commitment of the Angelas and Tracys of this world that our NHS is regarded as the best there is.’
Much more on vending in the NHS, here.