Does your food serving staff know your diners?

Do you remember Deborah Kerr singing Getting to Know You in the film The King & I with Yul Brynner? It’s a lovely, happy scene where she meets the King’s children, all of them. As the new teacher, she is in the same situation as the food servers in your community dining room. She sings “Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you, Getting to like you, Getting to hope you like me.” It’s her responsibility to learn the children’s names knowing she will do a better job when they know each other’s names.

Well, your food servers don’t need to sing to your residents but using residents’ names, greeting them as they enter the dining room, guiding them to a table, and pulling out a chair for them establishes respect and caring.  When food servers wear name tags it makes pleasant exchanges in conversation easier for residents and helps to build community. Being able to ask a diner a sociable question shows that your food servers care. Taking a moment to introduce tablemates to others to engage new friends also shows caring. This creates a positive statement about your staff. It shows they care. Smiling and making eye contact throughout the meal times demonstrates awareness, adding to the enjoyment of your residents.

Ms. Kerr went on to sing about being bright and breezy because she is learning about her students day by day. Your serving team will have the same results. It’s reciprocal. When they extend pleasant comments with a smiling face it comes back to them. Social protocol guides serving staff to use skills that improve both the company’s value and increases their own value to the company and your residents. Kind Dining® is here to help your food service team to freshen up their community dining room skills and to lead you into the secrets of success.

Building service elements that are critical to exceeding service expectations for senior dining, improving communication skills, reading the table, guiding the flow of meal times, and accommodating choices are standards I believe in. Incorporate the standards you want your company to maintain based on input from your serving staff and your residents.

Our B Kind® Tip: A positive attitude makes a big difference at mealtime.

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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