ft huachuca dining room

Dining Room

ft huachuca soup and salad bar

Soup & Salad Counter

ft huachuca serving counter

Serving Counter

ft huachuca short order counter

Hot Food Counter

ft huachuca counter front and signage

Custom Counters

ft huachuca salad bar signage

Custom Signage

ft huachuca signage

Custom Signage

ft huachuca checkout


ft huachuca hot food wells

Hot Food Wells

Fort Huachuca

Sierra Vista, AZ

Fort Huachuca, a U.S. Army base located in southern Arizona, is home to 5,600 active duty service members. Those hungry soldiers can choose from several on-base locations to eat, including commercial chain restaurants, military dining halls and cafes.

Kendall Brown wants them to eat at the Thunderbird.

The project

The Thunderbird dining facility (commonly called a DFAC) has been part of the base since the 1960s or ‘70s, said Brown, the base’s food program manager. But he wanted it to feel more like a modern restaurant, one where soldiers would feel drawn to a relaxing, inviting environment.

A multi-phase renovation gave the Thunderbird a complete makeover, including updating décor and signage and replacing and modernizing equipment.

“It doesn’t look like an Army dining facility anymore. It looks like a restaurant, which is exactly what we wanted,” Brown said.

The process

LTI worked closely with dining program leaders along with Hampton Oliver, president of Dietary Equipment Co., to provide customized options for a large U-shaped salad bar and an L-shaped serving line.

QuickSwitch wells in the salad bar offer flexibility to feature cold and hot foods — like salads and soups — side by side and to switch between temperatures in an hour or less.

Sloped TempestAir pans and hot ThermalWell wells improve the appearance of and access to the food while supporting operational efficiency and reliability.

The new equipment also improved flow within the facility, eliminating the stagnant lines that previously existed and making serving more efficient for the workers.

LTI worked with the base to meet a tight timetable for installation. A six-person team from LTI arrived in a tractor trailer one morning and completed the entire installation, including painting and signage, over a three-day weekend in order to minimize disruption. Soldiers and staff returning to the Thunderbird after the renovation discovered their previously boring, institutional cafeteria had become a vibrant, engaging atmosphere.

Dealer: Dietary Equipment Co. Columbia, SC