For employees in Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), the campus-wide return to the workplace means the return of many of its customers.
“The only thing we’re going back to is being busy,” says Juliet Moore, a cashier at the Compass Express (Elevator C, Level 1).
Although some of the department’s customers never left, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic did have many people opting to bring their lunches from home. It was a stressful time for everyone in the hospital, Moore says, and she was worried about contracting the virus herself.
However, the quick implementation of social-distancing and sanitization measures lessoned her concerns, which were further reinforced as customers also began following protocols to keep the environment safe and clean. Moore attributes the gradual return of the cafeterias to full capacity to those safety and cleanliness protocols, which make people feel safe from contamination.
“I think our department is very supportive of those measures, and we provide the best food,” Moore says. “Everyone, especially outside customers, say our food is just like a restaurant’s, which makes me happy to hear.”
Communicating with customers
A primary aspect of Moore’s job is having conversations with customers as they check out with their food.
“I have fun talking to people as a cashier,” says Moore, who has been on the job for six years. “I really enjoy it. I start in the morning, and when I take off and go home, my day is complete and I’m happy.”
The Compass Express—along with the rest of UI Health Care—made many changes to limit the transmission of COVID-19. Customers were instructed to increase hand washing and sanitization, swipe their debit and credit cards for payment to avoid contact with the cashier, and were no longer permitted to bring and fill their personal water bottles or coffee cups.
As safety measures were put in place, Moore often had to communicate changes at the Compass Express to customers.
“As long as you talk to people and explain it well, they usually understand,” she says.
Serving to satisfaction
As COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to rise and other areas of the community relax pandemic restrictions, Moore says she is thankful for the safety measures still in place in dining areas and the hospital overall.
“Outside the hospital, people aren’t wearing masks as much, but I’m glad we still are,” Moore says. “We are safe, our food is protected, and we follow safety guidelines. We try our best to serve everyone to their satisfaction.”
Elizabeth Fielder, retail services associate director, says the FNS team came ready to work during the pandemic and is still doing its best to provide good customer service and keep the hospital fed.
“Everyone in our department, Juliet included, is so flexible and adaptable to the changes,” Fielder says. “The teamwork in our department has been amazing.”