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Incorporating Refreshment Stations in Your Waiting Area
Medical practices, dental practices, and veterinary practices all have unique needs that must be addressed during the design and fitout stage. But regardless of which kind of practice you own, one thing remains the same: your waiting area plays a pivotal role in setting the tone for your patients’ experience. So, it pays to get it right!
One fairly straightforward way to set a good first impression for your clients is to incorporate a refreshment station in your waiting area.
This blog explores a few ideas for doing just that.
Self-Service or Staff Service
You may choose to set up a self-service refreshment station where patients can help themselves to drinks and perhaps light snacks. Or, you can choose to have a refreshment station that is “run” by your staff.
The key benefit of a self-service station is that it’s easy. Patients help themselves, and staff time isn’t taken up serving refreshments. However, staff service does offer the benefit of providing a positive personal interaction with patients – and control over dispensing your refreshment inventory. The “right” solution will be different for each practice, so choose the one that works for you.
The most obvious drinks to serve in a refreshment station are water, coffee, and tea. You may also want to provide other hot beverage options such as hot chocolate, Milo, or herbal tea, and cool drink options such as juice.
If you run a veterinary practice, you could also consider providing water bowls for pets. For dental practices, you may choose to stick with just water, as patients may not feel comfortable consuming anything else prior to a check-up or procedure. Medical practices may choose to steer clear of sugared and caffeinated beverages that may affect readings such as heart rate, and run counter to promoting “wellness” among your patients.
When providing snacks for your refreshment station, there are a few rules worth playing by. To begin with, select snacks that are inexpensive, so your beverage station doesn’t cut into your profit margins. You’ll also want snacks that are perceived as being healthy (think crackers and pretzels rather than M&Ms) and that pose a low allergy risk (no peanuts!).
For dental practices, you may want to switch out the snacks for complimentary toothbrushes and toothpaste – or at least provide these in tandem with your food. It’s also a good idea to select snacks that promote oral health and hygiene. Veterinary practices may have snacks for pets. Regardless of which type of practice you run, it doesn’t hurt to offer breath mints, too!
We recommend ensuring that your refreshment station is located at a height that keeps it out of reach of children. This is important for safety (you don’t want kids spilling boiling water on themselves) and to ensure that parents are able to regulate what their children indulge in.
For serving coffee, you may want to consider a coffee machine rather than instant coffee. Waterwise, you could opt for bottled water in a glass-door refrigerator, a water cooler with recyclable cups, or plumbed, filtered water with cups. Always have bins and recycling bins nearby for rubbish and unfinished snacks.
At Elite Fitout Solutions, we specialise in helping doctors, dentists, and veterinarians like you create practices that are both practical and leave a great first impression on your patients.
Take a look at our gallery to see examples of our recent projects, or contact us today to discuss your fitout or refurbishment.