Do your residents’ mealtimes reduce unintentional weight loss and dehydration?

Personal stories about food service, whether they are restaurant-based, institutions, or more often today, come from residential communities. One story that came to me recently was from a gal who probably was a natural leader in the senior community she worked in because she had a restaurant background.

“My parents owned a small neighborhood restaurant,” she said. “None of us children followed in their footsteps in owning a restaurant but I learned about the psychology that surrounds food, food service, and how hospitality fits in. Customers came to see us as well as to eat. They came to know all about us, including celebrating a new baby in the family or any important life moment. In turn, we learned about them as I served their dinners or they lingered at the register to share their news. I treated them as if I was welcoming them into my personal home, with the same courtesies, the same consideration, and the same warm feelings. Mom and Dad taught us about hospitality and my siblings and I never forgot it. What I learned then guides me in my food serving position in today’s senior community.”

This is a story heard often because it carries so much wisdom about food service. Hospitality is key to good service which can save a disappointing meal yet the opposite is not true. A good meal can never save bad service. Bad service is remembered even longer than the memory of an excellent meal. In a senior community, good food service is even more vital as it aids in digestion, promotes nutrition through appetite, reduces unintentional weight loss for the same reason, and also reduces dehydration. The connection made between food server and resident creates a foundation of goodwill that aids both parties and travels both ways.

Kind Dining® believes another factor for good food servers to keep on their ‘keyring’ is that mealtimes are the time of day residents look forward to the most. Even with social distancing and quarantine, mealtimes are when they connect with a live person, even if the food server is wearing a mask. Residents who are happy at mealtimes are happy in their community and happy people don’t leave. They invite their friends and family to choose the same senior community that offers them hospitality and serves them contentment.

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Reflect on what hospitality means to you and how you can serve it today?

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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