The Kids’ Café became the “Regal Bambino Cruise Lines” on August 8 and Akron campus employees were served up delicious food by the hospital’s senior leadership team during breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If the hospital’s annual “employee meal” is a way to say thanks to employees for their service, the employees returned the appreciation throughout the day.
The “captain’s table” menu included baked stuffed chicken breasts, carved-to-order glazed ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted vegetables, favorites from the grill, a variety of salads, watermelon and cookies and cupcakes – all decorated with a nautical theme.
As usual, long lines formed outside the cafeteria with employees able to take in more of the cruise theme décor in the hallways with an ocean horizon mural, a captain’s wheel and fishing net studded with shells.
Greeting every employee upon entrance with a handshake was “Captain” Bill Considine, in a gold-accented navy blue cap and uniform.
So how does the Food Services and Nutrition Department plan for such a large-scale endeavor?
According to Donna Fleck, director of Support Services, planning begins a year out with discussions among staff about what went well and what should change.
“It’s like the ‘plus and minus’ in Lean Planning but we did that even before the [hospital’s] Lean Six Sigma journey,” she said. They plan food for 2,800 on the Akron campus.
The employee meal was originally held in December with holiday season-associated entrees. When the Kids’ Café opened in 2005, a kick-off picnic was held in May to celebrate the remodeling project.
“We received such an overwhelming response to the May picnic that it was decided to hold the annual employee appreciation meal in the summer,” said Fleck.
Fleck received several emails following the meal with employees expressing their gratitude for such a nice free meal – a highlight of the work year for many.
“Everything turned out so nice today and was delicious… plus such a fun theme,” wrote Shana Earle, ACHP director of finance and business systems. “Kudos to you and your staff for a wonderful job, as always, in pulling this off for everyone.”