The Nutrition and Foodservice Education Foundation (NFEF), the philanthropic arm of the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (ANFP), has announced the recipient of the 2018 Foodservice Department of the Year Award.

The purpose of this award is to recognize and honor an entire team for innovative practices or excellence in foodservice management. Nominees are evaluated in the following 4 areas:

Teamwork – How well department staff members communicate, cooperate and work together to make the department collectively greater than the sum of its multiple functions.

Innovation – How the department approaches day-to-day operations for internal customers that highlights and reinforces its importance to the organization.
Customer service – How the department’s operational activities directly and indirectly influence high-quality service. How the department contributes to the well-being of their clients, residents, or patients.

Operational Contribution – How specifically the department has contributed to the overall operation of the organization. (This could include financial operations, enhanced marketing efforts, staffing, surveys, etc.) This foodservice department chosen to receive this prestigious award due to their contributions in the established areas of foodservice management is Cook Medical Center located in Adel, Georgia.

As a team, the center's staff has grown together by applying their knowledge of company standards and the food safety of their patients and residents. The Cook Medical Center team received 100% food scores from the county health inspectors and passed state inspections with no F-tag infractions. Additionally, more than half of the team successfully passed the ServSafe® Manager certification course, and three individuals were recognized by the hospital as Employee of the Month. The department came in under budget for the year, increased retail sales in their cafeteria compared to 2016 sales, and received the highest tier in the interdepartmental survey.

All of this was accomplished during a time when the department experienced a shortage of staff due to family medical leave, illness, and natural disasters. In January 2017, the community was affected by a tornado outbreak, followed by the devastation of Hurricane Irma in mid-September. Staff rallied together to serve volunteers, emergency response teams, hospital residents, and staff. Despite these hurdles, staff was able to overcome these challenges and achieve their financial pillar goal and succeed specifically in the areas of survey and inspections.

Cook Medical Center's mission is to serve the health needs of their patients, residents, staff and those in their community. The Center continues to work on the development of growth and service through community spirit projects and staff is dedicated to bringing the best of themselves to the department and Cook Medical Center.