Homer Laughlin and Hall China Add Color and Warmth to Health Care Dining


Brighten up mealtime while getting higher Press Ganey scores, 
better heat retention, and lower cost of ownership


Newell, WV—Hospitals can suffer from an overabundance of white—the paint on the walls, the color of the floors, bedding and towels. Even white dinner plates. Sadly, a color that is supposed to signify cleanliness and health also conjures up sterility and an institutional feel that can leave patients and visitors feeling cold.


More health care facilities are realizing they can dump plain white for the rainbow of colors offered by Homer Laughlin and Hall China, known together as HLC Inc. At the same time, they’re learning about the other valuable benefits of the companies’ quality and craftsmanship, which can more than stand up to a medical facility’s daily meal service.


Karen Freeman is one such convert. She is a registered dietician and the foodservice director of St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California, a 320-bed facility that has served Southern California for nearly 60 years. Freeman wanted to break up the monotony of white by introducing color to the plates used for in-room dining. 


Freeman’s foodservice representative put her in touch with a Homer Laughlin rep, and she was immediately drawn to Fiesta®. “Our old white plates were not only boring, they chipped easily and the glaze would start to wear off, making it appear the plates were always dirty,” said Freeman. All HLC products, meanwhile, deliver elegance and beauty plus the strength to resist chipping, crazing, scratching, and breaking.


She decided to replace the failing ware with a mix of Homer Laughlin and Hall China items. First, she chose Fiesta plates in Lemongrass (a yellow shade), poppy, and paprika (both shades of red). As complements, Freeman also added the Hall China 8-oz. bowl in Sunflower for macaroni and cheese, pastas, and stir-fries; 5-oz. ivory serveware for poached eggs; and 9-oz. ivory serveware for miscellaneous other dishes.


In addition to brightening up the dining experience, Freeman noticed two other big benefits—an overall cost savings and higher Press Ganey scores for food satisfaction. 


“The overall cost of ownership is so much lower, even though the cost per unit was slightly higher,” said Freeman. “That’s because our replacement costs have dropped significantly since we’ve switched to Homer and Hall. This ware just doesn’t need to be replaced as often. It’s stronger, sturdier, and has a high-quality glaze that doesn’t wear off with repeated washing.”


The higher food satisfaction scores are partly due to the ware’s incredible heat-retention properties. “We’ve had plates returned to the kitchen 90 minutes later and they’re still warm to the touch,” said Freeman. “They fit our standard pellet system and retain that heat beyond anything we’ve ever experienced before, well after the cover is removed.” She added that the colors have also given kitchen staff some options when it comes to plating. “Some like putting a burger on Lemongrass, where others swear by salmon on Poppy. It gets the staff excited about their work.”


Patients and their families have taken notice, too, commenting on how much homier mealtime feels. “When you open the dome and it’s not just a white plate, you don’t feel like you’re in a hospital,” said Freeman. “It seems like a little thing, but it can make a big difference. We love it.”


“We’re so pleased that Karen and St. Jude have improved their foodservice operation with our dinnerware,” said Katie Bricker, foodservice and general marketing manager for HLC. “We make a wide variety of ware suitable for health care applications, and I always encourage foodservice managers to think of colors when they are selecting their tabletop mix. Hopefully, other health care facilities will embrace painting with all the colors, like Karen did, and achieve similar results.”


About The Homer Laughlin China Company

The Homer Laughlin China Company (HLC Inc.), founded in 1871, is the largest domestic tableware manufacturer in the United States, employing over 800 skilled craftsmen in a 37-acre facility. Homer Laughlin China and Hall China comprise the HLC Inc. family of companies. HLC’s diverse range of lead-free commercial dinnerware meets every conceivable need for today’s discerning chefs and restaurateurs. Setting the tone — not just the table — is at the heart of the HLC commitment to its customers. For more information, please contact HLC Inc., 672 Fiesta Drive, Newell, WV 26050. Phone: (800) 452-4462. Fax: (800) 533-8918. Web: www.hlcdinnerware.com. Email: hlc@hlchina.com.