Hospital Catering Success: Restaurants Aim for Growth at Wirral University Teaching Hospitals

Foodservice counters from British manufacturer Moffat ‘have made a huge difference’ Leverhulme judges describe award-winning restaurant’s refurbishment as ‘highly successful’

Recently Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Trust upgraded two of its restaurants – Bowman’s at Arrowe Park Hospital and Firtrees at Clatterbridge Hospital. Following the opening of the new facilities, catering turnover has increased substantially. Key parts of the dramatic success are the foodservice counters from British manufacturer E&R Moffat.

Sally-Ann Connolly, Head of Facilities Management at the Trust, was leading the design process. Her vision was to create a bright, modern, stylish, attractive restaurant area that would be user friendly – thus, for example, the new layouts and counter designs make it very easy to identify what the foods are and where they are.

Neal Cooper is Arrowe Park Hospital’s General and Commercial Catering Manager. “Some hospitals struggle to attract customers to their catering facilities,” he says. “I hear catering managers worried about their location, the time it takes for people to get to their facility and so on. I think people will come if the offering is right. It’s about serving fresh, wholesome food that’s well priced, in attractive surroundings.”

Along with aesthetics, customer flow was a key consideration for Bowman’s restaurant. Neal explains: “We have 400 or more customers a day. Yet there are no long queues, because the counter layout offers various points to access the food, depending on what you want – a hot meal, a salad, a sandwich or a large variety of fresh fruit. Not having to wait is another reason for customers coming back, time after time.”

A focal point of the restaurant is the salad bar, where customers can select from 30 different choices of fresh, healthy food, from grated carrot to smoked salmon, and including artichoke hearts, fresh seasonal products and fruit. “The salad bar looks great, which helps us promote healthy eating, and is very popular – it’s constantly busy.”

The counters include a variety of units such as bains marie, chilled displays, sandwich multidecks, and wok stations. There are also soup stations, beverage units, tray pick-ups and plate lowerators.

All the Moffat counters in the restaurants feature stainless steel construction and granite worktops. They also make use of Moffat’s ‘green thinking’ technologies, such as energy-saving multi-fan heating systems. “Sustainability is a key issue for us, whether it’s locally sourced foods or energy-saving catering equipment made using recyclable materials,” says Neal.

The counters were designed in conjunction with C&C Catering Equipment Ltd of Chester, who also installed the units. “The W.U.T.H Capital & Design department planned the building and overall project management for both sites. Moffat were highly recommended,” says Peter Evans, Clatterbridge Hospital’s General and Commercial Catering Manager. “Their quality and attention to detail is excellent. Moffat and C&C were outstanding when it came to installation. They worked hard to get the project completed quickly, and were very helpful and thorough. They also give excellent after sales support.”

Firtrees restaurant recently received the prestigious Leverhulme Merit Award with the acknowledgement: “A friendly, well-managed team who have taken pride in a highly successful refurbishment and in providing quality food, in addition, done so in a well planned, controlled and highly professional way.”

Both Firtrees and Bowman’s restaurants attracts lots of regulars from the hospital staff as well as visitors. “We pride ourselves on fresh, healthy products, marketed well and well priced,” says Neal. “Since the refurbishment we’re packed out. The counters have made a huge difference. They present the food favourably, making it eye-catching and giving it great customer appeal.”