Following the expiry of the existing contract in November 2021, CHS took the opportunity to provide staff and visitors with refreshed restaurant facilities in the sub-basement of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Several well populated hubs within the hospital surround this area (including the hospital’s Information Technology training suite, hub offices for breakout working and a new, purpose-built training and development centre) and, with an established and loyal customer base, CHS were keen to ensure seamless continuity of service was maintained.
CHS conducted a large consultation exercise of its customers, to make sure we took their views into consideration. It quickly became clear staff wanted access to healthy homemade food in a clean and accessible environment. Out-of-hours provision was also an important aspect of our design brief.
The design of the servery was altered to improve footfall and customer flow and reduce waiting times. Clever positioning of the drinks and snacks area allows staff to dispense drinks independently, sidestep the hot food counter and help themselves to products from the chiller. State-of-the-art vending facilities were also installed, to provide hot meals when the restaurant counter is closed
Seating is provided in range of configurations, including:
- Bar seating, with high-backed chairs, USB sockets and plug sockets for breakout working;
- Traditional, lower-level tables and chairs;
- Sofa-style window seats, for more comfort.
The variety in seating allows people to find a comfortable place to eat, drink, sit and rest, depending on their needs and preference.
Natural daylight floods the area and is further enhanced by improved roof lighting. Air conditioning and improved LED lighting also makes the area more comfortable throughout the year.
Completed as part of a larger refurbishment programme, incorporating HRI’s Cafe 1831, Stop & Shop and Southside Dining facilities, which was delivered on time and within the £150k budget.
With the restaurant being located within a main thoroughfare inside the hospital, between the busy estates and staff training areas, one of the main challenges we encountered was working in a live environment.
With fire egress and a secure construction site having to be maintained at all times, works were phased and hoarded off to create a safe passage through the area, which enabled the service of food and beverages to continue throughout the day. The scheme was further affected by the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had the following impacts:
- Reduced numbers of people in the immediate vicinity, thus greatly reducing the risk of a health and safety incident occurring.
- A reduction in the available construction workforce: Socially distanced working also meant the delivery of the programme was prolonged for safety reasons.
- Delays to the procurement of materials was mitigated by the extended programme
"A marked improvement and a flexible space to dine, I like the variety of seating options."
- Anoymous member of staff -
The team learned several important lessons on this project from a design perspective, including:
- The value of close stakeholder collaboration
- Remaining adaptable throughout the pandemic
- The value of engaging a realiable contractor team
This project has resulted in a much more dynamic, up-to-date and enjoyable dining experience being made available to customers. The adoption of LED light fittings will reduce energy consumption, with the extensive usage of natural roof lighting enabling further energy savings.
The space allows people to rest and eat in comfort, either as part of a group or individually.
The refurbished restaurant is as popular as ever and enjoyed by staff, patients and visitors.
Following the expiration of the existing restaurant lease, a new tenure was required to meet the needs of the hospital. However, use of the existing kitchen enabled us to create a simplified design, in terms of workflows, customer service and delivery management.
The Estates team undertook several design reviews, to ensure key stakeholders were kept informed throughout. The reviews also allowed for refined design developments, to ensure we met the needs of customers.
The self service hot food vending machine has been particularly popular with staff working late shifts and members of the public visiting patients at difficult times.