Does your food serving team feel they belong in your organization?

“I know many people, women in particular, will stay home with a salad in front of them rather than eat in a restaurant alone. I am not one of those people. I love it because I hear the best stories by listening in on what is being said around me.”  A writer friend told me this recently.

She is a strongly independent woman who also travels alone, apparently for the same reason. She goes to talk with strangers who teach her about their surroundings. This is the base for several of her stories. Many of those are about travel. She does this because she is a writer. When she wants to relax and just be herself, she gathers friends around her table and begins by pouring the wine.

As my writer friend knows, most people are not comfortable eating alone. The pleasure for them is sharing a meal and socializing with long-time friends and finding new ones. This is especially true in retirement and assisted care dining. Making the decision to move into a Senior Care community is a major change in a person’s life. Often the decision comes at an emotional time, after losing a life partner or an oncoming physical disability.

It is a time to be welcomed into a new, friendly social group. It is not a time to be lonely. The food serving team can help in a great way by doing small things. Start with a big smile and sincere greeting. Offer to introduce them to a table or group you know will invite them in. Senior and LTC communities are great places to spend time with people who share the same discussion subjects as you enjoy. It can be a carefree lifestyle designed for people of a certain age. I repeatedly hear “It’s the best decision I ever made!”

All throughout history it is reported that gathering around the warmth of a dining table is a way of getting to know another, build a relationship, even a job interview is often performed over the lunch table. Therefore, Kind Dining® believes it is essentially significant to build a powerful food serving team.

Our curriculum encourages adopting a culture of belonging, a training benefit to staff as incentive to belong to their community because their organization places value in who they are and the work they do. The same organization is investing skill development that works to reduce the epidemic of loneliness, isolation and instills a sense of belonging.  A team who trains together creates unity and builds that same sense of belonging.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Encourage your residents to share the joy of the dining table with new residents.

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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