Patients with advanced cancer experience various problems with eating, and their meals should be tailored to meet their specific needs. Two methods of food service were compared in a shared acute oncology/palliative care unit; an electrical food cart allowing patients to select their food types and portions at the bedside, and a traditional food tray delivery service that relied on meals being prepared in a centralized kitchen and then delivered by tray. Over a 10-day period, lunch meals were delivered by food cart and supper meals via food trays. Twenty-seven out of 32 patients participated in the trial. Patients significantly preferred the food cart to the trays with respect to the timing and appeal of the meal, appropriateness of food types and food portions and the variety of the food choices. A food cart as used in this trial provides a more flexible and appropriate method of food delivery to in-patients in the oncology and palliative unit. Further studies should examine whether this translates to improved caloric intake and quality of life parameters.