A Letter of Intent has been signed with Au Bon Pain (pronounced “oh bon pan”) to open in the lobby of Norton Children’s Hospital in 2017 as its retail food vendor. It will be located in a portion of the space currently occupied by McDonald’s, which will close at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9. An opening date for Au Bon Pain has not been determined.
Au Bon Pain was chosen after months of searching and careful evaluation. Hospital leadership reviewed numerous retail options based on several criteria, including a restaurant size of 1,500 to 2,500 square feet, which is smaller than McDonald’s and will enable us to use some of that space to accommodate much-needed clinical services. Other requirements included a varied menu with healthy options, flexible hours to include breakfast and later evening hours and the ability to handle large volume of customers during lunch times.
Au Bon Pain met or exceeded all of those organizational needs. The chain offers high quality hot and cold sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads, baked goods and coffee and other beverages.
More than 300 Au Bon Pain bakery cafés operate throughout the world. With locations at more than 70 hospitals and medical centers, the chain has extensive experience in serving employees and families in health care settings. Au Bon Pain has been ranked one of the healthiest menus by Grellin, a website that determines the healthiest restaurant menus and ranks them based on healthy options.
McDonald’s has been part of the children’s hospital since the current building opened in 1988. Their partnership and support over the years is valued by the entire Norton Children’s team. Several years ago as part of long-range hospital planning, the hospital’s changing needs for space were identified as a chief focus. What resulted was the need to add medical surgical beds as well as construct the Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Those two projects will require the shifting of other services and spaces in the hospital, including what is currently on the first floor.
Hospital staff will work with families to inform them of other dining options nearby, including those that deliver to the hospital, and as always, our in-house food service vendor (Morrison’s) will work with families to provide additional meals as needed.