NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Steven's Food Stores here, known locally for its prepared food operation, is getting new exposure born of a deal with a local hospital.
The hospital asked Steven's to provide meals for new parents to take home with them when they leave the hospital with a newborn baby.
"It's well worth our while to do it. We'll gross a few more thousand annually, and think of the publicity it gives us," said Daisy King, home economist at five-unit Steven's.
King is a key figure in the agreement. Many of the items sold in Steven's delis are made from King's original recipes, developed during the many years that she owned and operated a local restaurant called Miss Daisy's.
Many of the items in the Steven's prepared food lineup, all sold chilled, bear a "Miss Daisy's" identification. So each of the meal components delivered to the hospital is labeled: for example, "Miss Daisy's chicken divan, Steven's Kitchen."
For the meal packages and the service of providing menus, the hospital is paying Steven's more than the meal components would bring in at the cash register. The meal packages are designed to feed three to four people, and the mother and father can choose from a selection of menu items. Items to be reheated are packed in microwavable containers with clear tops. Salads and other cold items are put in hinged, see-through containers.
The hospital provides table napkins and cutlery. The hospital's director of community relations approached Steven's because "he knew of our commitment to quality," King said, adding that the director was particularly interested in projecting a quality image for the hospital.
"It's a good partnership. It's good for them and it's lucrative for us," King said. She declined, however, to say what the hospital is paying per meal.
King and hospital administrators estimate they'll send home an average of 720 such meals with new parents annually.