To the west of the homestyle station, a prep area supports Café Express, which offers grab-and-go and online ordering of that day's menu with items such as salads and sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and small bites of hummus and crackers. Customers can place an order for a specified pick-up or delivery time. "This is a service we offer at no extra charge and is popular to customers who can't get away
for lunch."

For the dishroom, designers positioned the drop-off next to the exit at the end of the dining room. Customers drop off trays and place recycled items in one of three portals identified with digital signage before placing trays on a conveyor. The conveyor comes into the back of the kitchen, where staff take items off the accumulator, place them into the dishwasher and take them when they're clean. "Everything flows from soiled to clean," Egnor says. "Our long-term goal is to partner with the University of Rochester to compost preconsumer waste and then postconsumer waste," Caldiero says.

"We don't have a waste management company that is able to handle our volume, and we're looking for a partner. We do use as many local vendors as possible, which contributes to our sustainable efforts."
As Caldiero and the staff grow into Café 601, they continue to evaluate its efficiency and and make slight improvements. The response from customers is so positive that staff feel encouraged to show off their skills and promote healthful dining.

Facts of Note

  • Ownership: University of Rochester Medical Center/Strong Memorial Hospital
  • Opened: Originally in 1975; renovated November 2012
  • University Medical Center Beds: 760
  • Size: 5,000 sq. ft., including a 3,800 sq. ft. servery, 500 sq. ft. support kitchen, 500 sq. ft. dishroom and 200 sq. ft. storage areas
  • Seats: 500
  • Transactions: 3,000 customers per day; 1 million meals per year (estimated)
  • Average Check: $4.75
  • Total Annual Sales: $4 million
  • Hours: 6:30 a.m. to  8 p.m.; 1:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.
  • Menu Specialties at Stations: Creation Station with international flavors and a new item featured daily; the deli station with traditional hot and cold sandwiches; the grill station featuring grilled sandwiches, paninis and traditional burgers and fries; the pizza station with homestyle and whole-grain crust featuring cheese, pepperoni and a daily special; the pasta station with choices of sauces and toppings prepared to order; and the homestyle station featuring a traditional comfort food selection daily as well as whole or half rotisserie chickens.
  • Staff: 36.5 full-time equivalents
  • Total Cost: $6 million
  • Equipment Investment: $1.7 million
  • Website:

Key Players

  • Director of Food and Nutrition: Al Caldiero
  • Operations Manager: Darlene Bateman
  • Architect and Interior Designer: SWBR Architects, Rochester, NY; David Beinetti, AIA
  • Foodservice Consultants: JEM Associates, Pleasantville, N.J.; John Egnor, president
  • Operational and Feasibility Study Consultant: Ruck-Shockey Associates Inc., The Woodlands, Texas.; Georgie Shockey, principal
  • Construction: DiMarco Constructors LLC; Jason Van Zeilen, project executive and Don Mantey, project manager
  • Foodservice Equipment Dealer: Main Ford General Supply Co. Inc., Rochester

Meet the Project Team on the next page.