Does a bully ruin your community dining room?

Kind DiningA friend told me about her friend Anne starting a new job as a food server in a senior living community. She ran smack into a bully that pulled gloom down over everyone in the dining room. It was a sad place to be. She boldly criticized every other food server trying to get the residents to laugh at them.

They didn’t. They did look uncomfortable but hesitated to say anything, lest the woman turned on them. The bully also made derogatory comments about the food that came out of the kitchen. Residents looked down at their plates with an expression of ‘do I want to eat this or not?’ When she started on her friend, Anne put up her hand, palm out and quietly said, “Stop. You don’t know me. I will not tolerate any comments from you to me or about me.” She made it a point to make pleasantries to each of the residents she served. The other wait staff practically glowed when she extended a helping hand without being asked. She smiled at them with friendliness. Anne did not shun the bully but she did not cater to her either. The next day she extended the same pleasantries to her as she did to the others.

The bully’s reaction was silence. It was obvious that she watched Anne and the effect she had on the dining room. The other food servers picked up the cue and began smiling….at everyone! The residents and their fellow food servers loved it! When the bully shot a rude comment to a server, the server shook her head side to side, meaning, NO! She went on serving cheerfully as the bully just closed her mouth and left it closed. 

Kind Dining® trains food servers on how to change their attitude and learn to work together. We coach personal and professional habits of hospitality to give the food serving team tools to use in bringing value to their work. These are skills that can be learned to improve your residents’ and your food serving teams’ dining experience.

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Mealtimes offer an extraordinary opportunity to excel at customer care.

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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