Sodexo and Chef Jesse Cool Elevate Nutrition Standards, Waste Reduction Volumes, and Patient Satisfaction Score for Food at Stanford Health Care

Collaborative efforts deliver a 15 percent increase in year-over-year sales while also significantly reducing organic and non-organic waste, achieving a 40 percent landfill diversion rate
Jul 5, 2016 3:45 PM ET
Press Release

GAITHERSBURG, Md., July 5, 2016 /3BL Media/ — Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Life Services, today announced the release of the Stanford Health Care Food Transformation Journey. The recently published case study outlines how Sodexo and local Chef Jesse Cool set out to better align food concepts with the outstanding level of health care for which the renowned institution is known. The results exceeded expectations, achieving a Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Score for food that increased by 140 percent. The new approach also diverted 199 tons of compostable material and 172 tons of food from landfill – all while delivering higher quality, nutrient rich food offers that yielded a year-over-year sales increase of 15 percent from 2014 to 2015.

The food transformation journey began in 2013 with the formation of a committee that consisted of culinary, clinical nutrition, patient advocacy, employee wellness, and business operations experts. To execute on the vision, Sodexo partnered with local chef, Jesse Cool, who has 40 years of experience in the restaurant industry. She introduced a new concept for Stanford Health Care called Farm Fresh. These menus feature organic, sustainable ingredients that are primarily sourced from Northern California.

“It’s not a traditional wellness program regulated by specific nutrient profiles,” said Helen Wirth, RDN, Administrative Director, Hospitality Services, Stanford Health Care, who has been leading the Stanford Health Care food transformation for the past three years. “Instead, we infused concepts reflective of our vision: fresh, ingredient-driven, unprocessed, sustainably produced and sensible food.”

Sodexo played a key role in working through the supply chain issues that brought the transformation to life. This included sourcing antibiotic-free and non-GMO meats from local vendors. Stanford Health Care is the first hospital in the country to serve Certified Non-Genetically Modified beef to patients, staff and visitors. The product comes from local pasture-raised certified organic beef that is free of hormones and antibiotics.

New staff pushed beyond the typical approach to institutional food service, by cooking from scratch, altering recipes and training staff. It required time, education and re-tooling of established foodservice techniques used in high-volume, cost-controlled environments. It was no easy feat, considering that Stanford Health Care:

  • Serves 1.8 million meals annually
  • Manages 75 million annual food purchases
  • Purchases 5 million compostable products

A Farmers’ Market was also established in the Stanford Health Care cafeteria. Every Wednesday (year-round), staff and visitors can purchase seasonal produce. Customers are encouraged to sample the freshly-prepared salads in the café that Sodexo chefs create using the same locally-grown, organic foods available in the Farmers’ Market. They can purchase individual foods by the pound or a “recipe bag,” which includes all of the ingredients needed to prepare the salad along with a recipe card.

Everything from major renovations to space design, customer flow and cashier lines and improving the overall customer experience was considered. To further engage customers, the team implemented a “Storyteller” feature where a hospital nutrition student trained in the Farm Fresh concepts engages customers in a discussion about the local fare that is offered. The Storyteller is present a few times a week, offers samples and discusses features of the food (e.g., what region it is grown in and from what farm it is sourced). Sampling allows customers to try items like a cilantro- or garlic-infused olive oil “drizzle” for their vegetables, which are prepared without salt or seasonings.

The sales results show that, rather than driving customers away by offering healthier options, they can actually increase sales. Following the new approach 2016 sales are on track for a 22% increase. The Food Transformation at Stanford Health Care will continue with the transformation of additional café stations to the Farm Fresh concept, which will also be incorporated into the café renovation and the new Stanford Hospital, consisting of 824,000 square feet of space, which will open for patient care in 2018.

Sodexo delivers more than 100 services across North America that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life. The Fortune Global 500 company is a leader in delivering sustainable, integrated facilities management and foodservice operations.

Learn more about Sodexo at its corporate blog, Sodexo Insights.


Samuel Wells
+1 (301) 987-4893