Do your food servers know about emotional nutrition?

Read, read, reading everything that comes into view that demands my attention, and that was how I discovered the term emotional nutrition in the New York Times column of David Brooks. Ah, I am overly delighted that someone else knows what I have been teaching and persuading others to refine in senior retirement, assisted living, and other long-term care communities. Perhaps it has been the coronavirus pandemic that brought it to the attention of this noted writer. Still, I want every one of those communities across the country to be aware of emotional nutrition and that they can digest it easier than imagined with some basic training. 

Agreed, emotional nutrition is about the loneliness many people have developed during this past year of quarantine. In particular, people in these communities have severely experienced staff absence, the loss of family visits, and mealtimes gathered around the dining table with longtime friends and newly met acquaintances.  Our  Kind Dining♥ training sessions had addressed this malady long before anyone heard of the coronavirus or the pandemic it caused. Turning around much of that loneliness through the everyday performance of the food serving team is my goal in teaching them a better way and how to do it easily. The food servers who want to improve their daily service through training and practice will find that the people in the community will benefit, but so will they.  Adding new skills, such as simply asking and using a resident’s name, improves the relationship between a resident and the food server. It becomes more personal. Add the art of truly listening when that person speaks, and it sends the food server to the head of the class.

Improving service by building a relationship shows that you care and wear away the loneliness a resident may be feeling. Keep in mind that you are serving them in their home, and a person certainly doesn’t want to feel lonely in their own home. When a food server helps a resident lose that lonely feeling, it gives the person a better appetite, decreases unwanted loss of weight and dehydration. Good service incorporates the simple act of hospitality to work for everyone’s satisfaction. The servers, defined as those who bring a meal or solely pours a beverage, perform a complex job.  The top servers carry a friendly mood, social graces, etiquette, a knack for creating a relaxed atmosphere for each person they serve. They do it naturally if they have practiced what they learned from Kind Dining♥ hands-on or online training instruction. It will feel as comfortable to them as it does to the person suffering from a lack of emotional nutrition.

B♥ Kind ®Tip: Food servers have the power to make a big difference in resident satisfaction!

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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