Ask Before Clearing

serverHave you ever had someone try to remove your plate from the table before you were ready? How did that feel? Like you were being rushed to leave? As if you didn’t have any say over your own dinner plate? Embarrassing when you protested? Residents also have some or all of these feelings when their plates are whisked away unexpectedly.

Most people like to control what happens with their place setting. Some people even feel extremely irritated if their plate is removed before they are ready to let it go. It is jarring to have your plate disappear without notice.

Even if a plate is empty or the diner seems uninterested in it for the moment, he or she may not be finished with it. As a matter of respect and courtesy, ask before clearing. A simple, “Do you mind if I remove this plate?” or “Are you ready for me to remove your plate?” is all it takes. Don’t touch the plate until the resident has agreed you may.

The point when everyone at the table seems to be finished eating is the right time to ask. Then, clear all the plates at once.

For more tips on delivering kind service, subscribe to our e-newsletter, Kind Dining® Connection, or like us on Facebook.

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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