Do you build relationships with hospitality one meal at a time?

Many positions covering a wide range of skills are open in nursing homes and assisted living communities now. These include a new position created as ‘room service attendant’ in response to in-room dining resulted from necessary physical distancing. The positions may sound like a temporary solution while this pandemic lasts but if the community has the Kind Dining® coaching program to train newly hired food servers, their employment is more likely to be permanent. Studies show that employees who know their jobs well know they are valued by the company and know the residents appreciate their work, they tend to stay with that community. It is a win-win situation for everyone when professional training has been given. Turnovers of employees are costly and cause discomposure to senior residents. They are more content with familiar faces than a constant stream of newbies passing through.

Food servers’ responsibility is still complex even when entering one room at a time rather than a communal dining room. Residents who know their food servers by sight and by name are reassured of their safety. Social graces and etiquette are still expected. A bit of conversation while the food server brings a tray to a resident in lockdown is comforting and fills a small social span that is missed with communal dining at a standstill. It is a universal hospitality-language that breaks through all barriers, all ages, both genders, and all cultures. Remember that even now, as a food server, when you enter residents’ rooms, you are entering their home. That deserves respect and the quality of service they paid for when they chose your community to be home.

COVID-19 has changed dining practices in the nursing homes and assisted living communities but the performance expected from food servers remains the same. The skills learned in Kind Dining® training go with each food server regardless of the routines of mealtime. Residents deserve pleasant, competent, praiseworthy food service that doesn’t reveal the stress that is happening outside their realm. The company that has invested in professional, hands-on training will see their returns over and over again during these unsettling times.


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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