Does your food serving team carry positive attitudes full of holiday cheer?

“Well, have you worn your thinking cap this past month?” Colleen asked. “I’m anxious to hear what suggestions you’ve come up with for the holiday preparation meeting.”

Colleen and Kelly were having their monthly lunch together enjoying waitpersons attending to them as they waited on residents at the senior living community where they worked. They were always alert to good service, or bad, to note comparison to the service they gave. This day was a bit different at this friendly bistro where they felt welcomed every time they came.

“Yes, I have some great, easy ideas for us all to do!” Kelly looked up to her mentor. “We’re always encouraging the food serving staff to talk with the residents. The perfect opener that is super easy, even for our ‘quieter’ servers, is to ask the residents what were their fondest holiday traditions? Also, did they ever have holidays when everything seemed to go wrong? Usually, those stories are remembered in detail! ”

“Good thinking, Kelly!” Colleen replied. ”Since I’m serving food, every year I love to ask them what their favorite foods were to cook or to eat. Sometimes they even had a table set in a particular way. They really enjoy talking about those memories they’ve piled up over the years. If the conversation lags, I add the question of holiday music and movies. Everybody has a special one to tell you about. That question gets the most reluctant person to talk. When they reply, I see the joy in their eyes. It’s wonderful for them and for me!”

“We also talk about changes from other holidays. There are many comments with this coronavirus we’ve tolerated these last two years.” Colleen has several years of serving food in this community. She enjoys sharing her experiences with Kelly since it is her first holiday working here. “Some older adults struggle with the blues at holiday time, so I cheer them in any way I can. At our employee meeting this week I’m going to suggest we each pin an artificial poinsettia on our uniform or maybe a Santa or snowman pin. Something jolly. It helps. We usually place a candy cane at the place setting on Christmas Day too, for all those who are not diabetic. They get sugarless ones.”

For anyone listening in, as often happens in a bistro or restaurant, it was simple to know that these two women, different in ages, really loved their jobs. Kind Dining♥ wants everyone to feel that way about the work they do. That is only one of the reasons why Kind Dining♥ sessions are so important to your community. It’s easier to love your job when you know the best way to do it, feel confident in your work, share great relationships with those you serve, and also with your coworkers. It is a win-win situation coming from knowledge and practice.

B♥ Kind Tip: Food servers have the power to bring holiday joy to every community elder!

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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