Marek Hospitality finds alternative and safe ways to keep visitors and staff well fed during COVID-19

For 10 years, Guelph General Hospital has partnered with Marek Hospitality to provide food services for staff and visitors. Marek operates two Tim Horton’s locations and The Bistro hot meal service featuring primarily local food from the region.

The pandemic has resulted in fewer hospital staff onsite as many surgeries and appointments were cancelled. That also significantly reduced the number of patients and visitors. As a result, Marek had no choice but to temporarily lay off twelve staff. Most volunteered as they had vulnerable people living in their households. Never, not even for a second, did Marek contemplate closing. It is committed to making sure all essential workers are fed.

The Bistro hot food counter and the smaller Tim’s kiosk were both shuttered. Marek pivoted to preparing “Fresh & Fast” ready meals in microwavable containers for the care and feeding of the #frontline. The supply of ready meals is constantly monitored to make sure they never run out and hospital staff can rely on this service. The most popular offerings are stir-frys, butter chicken and mac n’ cheese. All meals are made from scratch in house!

Marek has the ‘Eat Fresh Rewards’ app to help ensure that health care workers can access food on their breaks. Using the app, food is pre-ordered and paid for in advance. The order is available for fast pick-up at a chosen time. For staff, there’s no time wasted in a line-up.

Marek also launched a grocery pick-up service for staff. Food is sold at the price Marek receives with no mark-ups charged. Bread, meat, eggs, dairy and fresh produce are available. Staff can also order ready-made meals to take home. How convenient!

Marek staff have a motto, ‘Food is a hug.’ They have been virtually ‘hugging’ Hospital staff hard during this pandemic. Thanks Marek, for keeping us all fed!