The Great Merger: Retail Operations and Patient Service

A Q&A with Angelo Mojica

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Angelo MojicaAngelo MojicaAngelo Mojica is director of Nutrition and Food Services at UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill, N.C., and associate professor teaching food science, production and meal preparation, and foodservice systems management at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Gillings School of Global Public Health. Mojica is also a mentor for a self-directed clinical internship program that allows team members with dietetics degrees to maintain employment at UNC, participate in a clinical internship and advance immediately upon program completion. He is the 2013 winner of IFMA's Silver Plate Award for healthcare.

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A few facts about UNC Health Care:

  • UNC Health Care consists of 5 hospitals with 829 inpatient beds.
  • Inpatient meal volumes average 1,800 per day.
  • Retail transactions average 5,500 per day with average daily sales of $26,000 ($9.4 million per year).
  • Catering sales average $800,000 per year.
  • Inpatient and outpatient clinical programs
  • Two clinical internship programs
  • 300-plus hourly, clinical and management team members

FE&S: Congratulations on winning this year's IFMA Silver Plate Award. How has your operation evolved since you first came to UNC?

AM: In our 5 retail venues, we have 20 retail brands. These generate $9.4 million in sales for the healthcare system. When I arrived eight years ago, all retail venues were outsourced to local and national contractors. One prominent fast-food chain in the hospital promoted the fact that its store at UNC was its largest-grossing in the southeastern U.S. These contracted venues grossed nearly $4.2 million in sales with no employee discount in place. My team and I replaced each venue over the course of three years with our own in-house brands. The exception is a Starbucks that is designed as an oasis for patients and families in the cancer hospital. All UNC-operated venues offer a 20 percent discount to employees for all items served. The decision to offer this discount was made during the recent economic downturn in order to support UNC employees and enhance employee retention. With all venues now under Nutrition and Food Services' direction, annual sales have skyrocketed to $9.4 million, with 2013 sales projected to exceed $10 million.

FE&S: It is interesting to note that your restaurants are unique, with menus developed by culinary professionals and food enthusiasts. Can you describe some of the branded concepts you and your team have developed?

AM: Mezza Luna for freshly made salads; Angelo's Pizza for pies, flatbread, paninis and soup; Max Mangoes with ice cream, smoothies and yogurt; and Carolina Chicken Co. Terrace Café in the Children's Hospital offers "Fast Breaks" – grab-and-go sandwiches, soups, salads, healthy snacks and desserts. Continental Trader – barbecue chicken, fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese and more. Cosimo's – pizza, pasta, garlic knots and salads. Flatiron Grill – made-to-order eggs, biscuits and gravy, cheeseburgers, fries and onion rings. Red Ginger – Asian with wok-fired dishes and rice, dumplings and egg rolls – and Sujin Sushi. Corner Café features Caprese's Deli. Bandelero's – burritos and salsas – and Courtyard Café.

FE&S: After developing the retail brands, you created your Restaurant Delivery service. Is that correct?

AM: Yes. We had to get the retail services up and running. Then we turned our attention to patient
foodservice. We named the service Restaurant Delivery, which allows patients to order from among 20 retail foodservice concepts on the hospital's campus. Patients receive a binder with menus for all 20 concepts — it looks like a restaurant menu — and they place their orders to a call center. The menu is 20 pages long. We celebrated our one-year anniversary in April.

FE&S: When I first asked you about this, I used the words "room service." You said I owed you a dollar ...

AM: That's right, and if you say it while you're here visiting, I'll ask you to put this dollar in a jar where the other dollars have been placed by staff who forget and call Restaurant Delivery "room service." This is not a typical room service program. We have our own logo on menus and on T-shirts and soon to be on our delivery carts so the service is identifiable. Like I said earlier, the menu looks like a restaurant menu and offers a massive amount of variety. Normal room service menus would offer 18 to 21 entrees, and we have 91. The name reflects the service model and has received a favorable acceptance by patients and staff.

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