Do You Involve Your Serving Teams?

My friend said that when she was growing up she was exposed to other ethnicities, especially at the dining room table and especially during the Christmas holiday season. I appreciate her sharing her experience and carry that image when I conduct my Kind Dining® training. It’s that hospitality I would love to see in every community and again, especially during the holiday season. I have mentioned that sharing stories of their youthful holidays is a good conversation opener between servers and elders and for making friends at the table. It is even more important for the staff to listen and carry those ideas to the kitchen and to the administration, allowing them to incorporate other traditions into the daily dining experience. Elders will be pleased when they recognize the influence of the stories they told.

Involving your staff in this way will allow your chef to utilize ideas and suggestions coming from within the community with new ideas to excite your residents. Your serving teams are in direct contact with elders who will love to be involved by sharing their memories and suggestions. It will convey to your residents that they are helping to create a family-comfortable ambiance, especially for those who have no family to come visit them. It will also convey that they are an important part of the community. The manager in charge of decorating the dining room, social, and common areas can include residents in the same fashion, extending the invitation to include them by asking for ideas. Who doesn’t have a story about decorating a Christmas tree, Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah table? Communication is the key factor in planning an exceptional holiday for your elders and their guests. To see and taste holiday customs that are familiar to them and some that are not, making them feel more at home than ever.

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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