Hospital cafeteria goes five-star - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hospital cafeteria goes five-star

June 1, 2004

Tifton- Tuesday's lunch menu at Tift Regional Medical Center is no where near bland.

"We have glazed ham, macaroni and cheese, baby carrots, spiced apple rings on lettuce, dinner. banana pudding, and tea," reads Food Services Director, Lawrence Keen.

With a list like that, it's no wonder the staff begins preparing a 6 AM. "The nurses used to deliver the trays to the patients, but now our hostesses will."

They call it Five-Star service. Dressed in black and white and bow ties, Five-Star hostesses take great care in living up to their titles.

"The funniest thing to me is that when you talk to the patients and you let them know well sweetie you don't have to have this we can get you something else, and it's just so funny to me that they don't know this, that they don't realize that they can get something else," says Food Services Supervisor, Lillie Johnson.

And if it's not already prepared, no problem.

"We will try to please if we can, and if I can find a recipe, and I'll go on the internet and find a recipe, we'll make it," Keen says.

But patients aren't the only ones singing praises about the cafeteria. Tift Regional employee Connie May eats there every day, and even brings her family in to eat there as well.

"It's great and for the price you can't go anywhere in town for this price because you get a full meal, you get a dessert, and you get drinks also," she says.

"We have people from home and outside the community coming in to the dining room to eat," Keen explains.

Janet Retterbush-Gurke stops in regularly to get turkey sandwiches on her lunch break. "They are always well prepared and nutritious, and I'm very health conscious so it's important to me to eat at a place where I can have a good selection of food."

The cafeteria is bustling every day at lunchtime, but staff members there's certain menu items nearly no one can resist.

"Fried chicken. That's it. They love fried chicken," laughs Keen.

"Fried chicken and roast beef. That's it. That's what everybody likes. That's what a lot of people from surrounding counties come here to get," laughs Johnson.

But for those who have to eat at the hospital, the Five-Star service is just one way to make their stay a little more positive.

In addition to waiting on patients, Five-star hostesses sing Happy Birthday to patients who have to spend their special day in the hospital.

Posted at 5:40 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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