Do your food servers feel like a supporting team at work?

Coleen and Kelly were out for their monthly lunch date. They decided to go to a small, family-owned Mexican restaurant near Kelly’s neighborhood, instead of the bistro where they normally met. “Variety is the spice of life,” Kelly said as they were seated by the wife of the chef. They took a few minutes to read the menu while they nibbled on freshly made corn chips and sipped their Margaritas. Coleen has been mentoring Kelly for a while. They enjoyed off-premises discussions to help Kelly learn but also to keep in touch with how others approach food service.

“I’ve only been to a Mexican restaurant a few times, so any recommendations from you would be welcome,” Colleen said.

“Okay. I’ll order for you.” Kelly replied as she rattled off, in Spanish, her choices to the waitperson.

”Wow! I’m impressed! I didn’t know you spoke Spanish. Did you learn in high school?”

“It’s confession time.” Kelly smiled. “My mother is Mexican and my father is 3rd generation, Irish. That’s why my first and last names have an Irish ring. My middle name is Carmelita. How is that for being American?” She chuckled at Colleen’s obvious amazement. “My mother came to the States as a teenager to work. My grandparents and extended family still live in Mexico. I am ready to offer my other language for service in our Community. I wanted to be sure our Community welcomed diversity first. It was a deciding factor in my choice, of where I wanted to stay and work long term before I revealed my knowledge of languages. Please excuse me for not telling you sooner.” 

“Of course. I guess I understand that. You are young and investing time and training in building a life career in the field. I’m so glad because now I feel you are going to stay with us. You are an asset to us in the foodservice department. I thought you were a natural.”

“Well I did grow up serving food but I also realize that the restaurant business is a wee different from the bigger picture of retirement living and long-term care communities.  I am content with the diversity in residents, but also in our food serving team. I felt included and welcome from day one. I see that each person on the food team is valued. It’s important to me to be comfortable in a multicultural situation so I can devote my efforts to learning my duties and responsibilities. 

Our Kind Dining♥ training series offer proven solutions to help communities redefine their dining experience post-Covid, and repair the damage done by reducing the gaps of loneliness, isolation, and feelings of not belonging that were exacerbated. Our interactive exercises promote active learning and teach kindness as a way of life that creates communities of belonging. The training is rich in media and designed to appeal to servers of all ages, cultures, and levels of education. Kind Dining♥ is now online and on-demand and delivers immediate skill building for your employees, bringing more kindness, civility, dignity, and empathy into every interaction. Staff learns to value their service work, strengthen their interpersonal skills to get along better, and focus time and energy on what matters most. Food serving teams from all departments will perform with confidence, hospitality, and appreciation for their healthcare environment serving older adults. The best practices taught were designed from evidence-based research, firsthand experience, and knowledge with your senior living community in mind.

 

B♥ Kind Tip: Get to really know how your food servers feel about each other.

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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