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Analysis of Hospital Cafeteria Revenue and Profit Generation

Let's think inside the boxx

Increasing Employee Participation to Raise Revenue

You operate a cafeteria and other retail locations in your hospital or hospital group. On the surface it would seem your options are limited on ways to increase your revenue, or event, to tweak out additional profits from the same revenue base.

Here are some suggestions. Some of these may already be on your radar, some perhaps just need a little polish. It is always good to be reminded of our goals. It helps us focus and sometimes, it provides that little nudge to take that next step.

1. Menu Improvement and Pricing Strategy:

- Verify that your menu items are priced properly before seeking to blindly increase volumes. As Honest Charlie said, I’m buying it for .10 cents, selling it for .05 cents, BUT I’ll make it up in volume. Volume is the enemy of an improperly balanced sales price, so focus the price/cost factor first, then the next steps are positioned to be a value.

- Some items can be priced at cost, perhaps even below cost, if those are strategic decisions and used to drive traffic. Instead of spending advertising money, invest those funds into subsidizing high-demand menu items; This will build a following for those items and very likely cost less than the advertising/promotion you would otherwise be spending. Additionally, the word-of-mouth buzz that this will generate will also pay dividends longer than the advertisements’ residual value.

- Visit the quality factor of your meals. This can be as simple standing by the exit and asking your patrons as they leave about their dining experience and their perception of the food, it’s quality, and presentation. Do this a few days and you should have a very good indicator of where your team is delivering, or not delivering, it’s value. You could follow on with a question about items they would like to see on the menu. Stand in the hallway of the facility as employees are departing for lunch and asking why they are choosing another location besides the cafeteria is another good way to get interesting results. “Hey, you guys/gals going to lunch? Why not the cafeteria here?” – ya, it’s ok to ask questions.

- Offering quality cafeteria food at reasonable prices can significantly increase revenue by attracting more employees to use the cafeteria. With more employees participating, the overall volume will increase, of course. HOWEVER, if your operations food service is not positioned properly, this could serve to decrease profits while increasing top-line sales.

2. Healthier and Chef-Inspired Options:

- Transitioning to a more chef-inspired environment with healthier, affordable options can drive people away from fast food restaurants and straight to the cafeteria, thereby increasing revenue.

3. Promoting Reputable Culinary Department:

- Improving the food served to patients and visitors by offering higher quality dishes can present the cafeteria as a more reputable culinary department, attracting more customers and increasing sales.

4. Employee Feedback and Involvement:

- Involving employees in the menu planning process and seeking their feedback on food preferences can increase their engagement and participation in the cafeteria, leading to higher revenue.

Additional Revenue Generation Strategies

Your department services the cafeteria and surrounding retail locations. But why not extend that reach a little? In business, that could be considered outbound sales. You have a somewhat limited audience several factors would allow you to increase your sales AND be perceived as a value to your patrons.

1. Catering Services:

- Offering catering services for hospital events, meetings, and conferences. How many meetings would love to have a pot of coffee and some hot cookies or other snack items. It doesn’t have to be a 30-person full-service catering event. HOTSHOT items, for example; coffee and cookies and we deliver it when you want it; We just need 15 minutes notice to ensure the coffee is hot!

- What about offering meals-to-go HOME. This could require a sign-up or pre-order and the employees’ meal box would be ready to travel home for a nice dinner with little to no fuss. You are already doing meal-pre for your tray line or perhaps large-container meal preps. Why not allow employees to pre-order that days MealBox; I’m sure you are already thinking of different packaging options. I encourage you to keep it simple to start. Start small, and grow.

2. Vending Machines and Grab-and-Go Options:

- Installing vending machines and offering grab-and-go options for employees who may not have time to sit down for a meal can generate additional revenue. Vending machines used to be an eye sore and many locations frowned on them. Today, the options are limitless, even hot pizza can be done. If you are not open 24/7, this may be something to explore

- Extend the vending experience with cashless power. Employees love the convenience of cashless payroll deduction and of course, rarely have their wallets and purses. Let that employee badge help bump those vending sales. It may surprise you how much these unattended servants can generate while quietly just serving.

3. Loyalty Programs and Discounts:

- Who doesn’t like a discount or a perk? Implementing loyalty programs and offering discounts for frequent cafeteria users can encourage repeat business and increase overall revenue. We are seeking ways to encourage our limited audience to dine with us and not leave the facility. Loyalty points are a great way.

- Use points as a “hook” for some super delicious items that are ONLY available with points. Bake a sheet of 12 hot, super yummy, cookies and package as a “Reward Snack”. Top it with a bow or ribbon! The price, 100 points. There’s only 12, so get them quick. Of course, you can choose whatever volumes you wish, BUT the value is in the scarcity and I would recommend always making less than the demand. This keeps the value of the offering high and only available to our Rewards Patrons. And of course, they only happen rarely, so when they do, they light a buzz.

4. Collaboration with Local Suppliers:

- Collaborating with local suppliers for fresh and seasonal produce can attract customers looking for healthier and locally sourced options, thereby increasing revenue. Sometimes suppliers have special items that don’t always come around. Leveraging these special items can add a touch of flair to that “Managers Find” venue or “Local Fare” type item.

- The local suppliers are often eager to showcase special items they have available. Have a conversation about your goals to showcase an item or two each month. Remember, these are special occasion items. We can promote around them, add signage in common areas, and other methods to get the word out. Build excitement around these special items.

Wrap up

I hope some of these items are helpful and have sparked some thoughts. If you use any of these or have other twists that you would like to share, drop us a note at – we would love to hear from you.

Happy computing,