Grand River Hospital’s cafeteria has long stood as an exception to the rule that hospital food gets a bad rap.

But by the end of the year, the cafeteria will close up shop – with a new Subway restaurant and a bigger Tim Hortons taking its place.

Hospital spokesperson Mark Karjaluoto says the change comes as a result of a survey process the hospital undertook two years ago.

“We discovered that people wanted to have something that was fresh, available quickly, would have longer hours … and would have multiple options to pay,” he tells CTV News.

Run by foodservice provider Aramark, the cafeteria currently closes at 6 p.m. and only accepts cash payments – two issues which arose in the survey and will be solved by Subway’s arrival, Karjaluoto says.

After replacing the cafeteria with Subway and expanding the popular Tim Hortons – which is run by the hospital’s volunteer association – there may still be room to bring in one or two additional food vendors, but Karjaluoto says it’s too soon to tell who those might be.

The hospital’s Freeport site is also seeing changes to its food service, with a Subway Café location moving in to offer baked goods alongside standard Subway fare.

“We want to make sure that families, visitors and staff have some choices, have some outlets that they can go to that will provide them healthy food or at least a reasonably wide choice of food,” Karjaluoto says.

Temporary kiosks will be set up in both hospitals in December as construction begins.

About 10 people work for Aramark between the two sites.

Karjaluoto says any discussions about retaining those employees are between Aramark and Subway, without hospital involvement.