Are Your Food Servers Alert and Considerate?

A friend’s mother-in-law, Minnie, decided on retirement living a year after her husband passed away.  On her first visit to the dining room she spotted one of those don’t even think about sitting here looks from a snooty looking woman where one chair was vacant at her table. Minnie was not upset or perplexed at all. She had been employed at a particular university for years and recognized the gesture of hierarchy that she had often seen there. She moved on to a completely empty table and allowed others to join her, the new woman in the dining room.

One of the food servers had noticed the interaction while she was servicing a table. She came directly to Minnie to apologize for the poor behavior shown to her on her first time in the dining room. A second server joined them. “Thanks,” she said to her coworker. “I saw that, too but couldn’t get here sooner, either. I also apologize. Please don’t judge all our residents by the rude one. And welcome. We are happy to see you in our community.”

While Minnie was a self-confident woman she appreciated the alertness of the food servers, their thoughtfulness in extending a welcome to her, and the hospitality she received from them. To her, it showed the community was committed to a person-oriented policy. She was reassured that she had chosen the right community for her as she began to rebuild a new life for herself.

She later stopped in to the office and spoke to the Vice-President complimenting him on the reaction of his food servers. He thanked her and promised that he would pass the compliment on to those who earned it, letting all the servers know how much their consideration is appreciated. He rather glowed knowing how good training paid for itself.

Kind Dining® training for your staff will reaffirm employees of the company values and how it shapes their behavior. The strong, complex working relationship between food servers will reflect their expertise in social skills and etiquette. It is the food servers who create the ambiance of the dining room, extending a welcome to make a resident feel as comfortable as being at home. That is exactly what the community dining room is to its residents . . . home.

Our B♥ Kind® Tip:  Stop. Look. Listen. Know the complexity of good food service.

About Cindy Heilman

Cindy is the founder and owner of Kind Dining®, which she began in 2006. She’s traveled across the country and Canada working with and training senior living communities that want to create an exceptional dining experience for their residents and staff. In addition, she certifies select professionals in her Kind Dining® philosophy and provides tools, now in an eLearning format, that make learning stick and help people put insights into action. As a result of her work, clients often share their staff has a new sense of purpose, get along better and keep their focus and energy on what matters most. In fact, she wrote a book, Hospitality for Boomers on how to attract residents and keep good team members. In her free time, she enjoys walking Oregon trails and cheering on her favorite soccer teams, the Portland Thorns and Timbers.

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