The catering environment in hospitals has changed much over the years and there is now a lot of variation between different health trusts. There is generally more patient choice when it comes to hospital meals, and hospital caterers have introduced a higher standard and more variation overall.
The priorities are of course health and nutritional value of food, an efficient kitchen that can meet a range of dietary requirements without slowing production, and the ability to deliver hospital food to wards and maintain temperature and quality along the way, as well as equip and staff one or more self service or table service canteens.
Generally hospitals operate with a large central kitchen, possibly supported by some satellite kitchens or separate canteen kitchens. The main kitchen often handles the bulk of food preparation, requiring efficient reliable, heavy duty prep appliances like food mixers, food processors, slicers and vegetable prep machines.
Menu choice is not usually as broad as mainstream restaurants, and cooking appliances are geared towards batch cooking of a few menu choices changing each day. Opt for the largest commercial ovens, possibly even stackable banks of electric ovens or rapid cooking convection ovens, gastronorm compatible atmospheric steamers, and plenty of boiling tops and hobs. Adding rice cookers and pasta boilers to your cookline will allow you to produce carbohydrate staples very quickly and simply. Getting food to wards requires mobile hot holding, and Catering Appliance Superstore can provide mobile hot cupboards and other insulated delivery options for extra flexibility.
Usually space is not a concern in large hospital kitchens, and maximising freezer and fridge space with cold rooms, freezer rooms, double door units and chest freezers will allow you to prep well in advance for the week's menu. Handle the high volume of washing up throughout the day with a pass through system or a rack conveyor.
Hygeine standards in hospitals must be maintained at the highest level, and choosing appliances with easy clean features will facilitate a rigorous cleaning regime. Look for stainless steel construction, flush fittings or pressed steel forms to avoid build up of grease in hard to reach places, and removable fittings such as fryer heating elements or oven floors, liners and shelf brackets. Good /filtration-units will also be required for removal of cooking fumes and a pleasant working environment.
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