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Innovation Award: Compass Group One Retail Team

9th Apr 2024 - 11:25

After constructing a new main entrance, the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford was keen to fit the space with future-proofed facilities that would appeal to customers, patients and staff. To realise this vision, the Trust partnered with the One Retail division of Healthcare at Compass Group to develop a first-to-market fully frictionless convenience store.

A ‘world-first’ in a healthcare setting, the store leverages the latest retail technology – including AI, sensors, smart cameras and deep learning techniques - to accurately determine who took what from the store’s shelves and to charge their chosen payment method accordingly.

Once a guest completes their shopping experience, they can leave the store without waiting in line to pay. They’re charged automatically for any items taken and receipts can be requested as required.

Andrew Jones, One Retail managing director, commented: “This technology is a first in a healthcare setting and perfectly responds to the mandate for food and drinks being readily available for staff. This technology installation can be used by staff, visitors and patients. This is a major step forward for the Princess Royal Hospital and brings together the best in innovation, convenience and quality offerings.”

Market Express responds to a range of challenges, chief among them the directive to provide ‘suitable food and drink solutions appropriate for their staff demographic over a 24/7 service period’ as per the NHS England National Standards for Healthcare Food and Drink.

This directive recognises the importance of adequate nutrition and hydration so staff can perform their crucial roles and addresses staff frustration around all-day access to healthy food, a lack of menu variety and poor food quality.

With no time-consuming checkouts, this fully frictionless store dramatically reduces queues and wait times. The typical transaction time from entering the store to exiting with a purchase is between one to two minutes.

Fresh, nutritious and heat-to-eat meals as well as snacks are available whenever staff (and patients and visitors) need them. As more data comes in from the store, the product range is continuously optimised and refined to make sure that the products people want to see are available on shelves 24/7.

For many NHS staff, burnout is a real issue, exacerbated by long shifts, anti-social hours and an inability to access nourishing food and drink outside of the ‘typical’ working day. Market Express fills the need for round-the-clock access to nourishing meals and snacks, helping staff to take better care of their own health and wellbeing.

One of the key performance metrics was to help NHS staff to maximise their limited breaks and to ensure access to healthy, nutritious food during these times. Sales figures from Market Express are also promising, with rates of NHS staff uptake indicating the store’s growing popularity.

An NHS staff member said: “I like how there are no queues, and you can nip in and out really quickly.” Another added: “All the basics are here which is great for when I finish shifts at odd times.”

PSC Alliance