Ready to improve the dining experience in your senior living community?

Kind Dining, Cindy Heilman

Residents in your community come to the dining room every day seeking a bonding experience. When they find it, they feel at home. Your community becomes their community, and their sense of belonging leads to greater satisfaction and happiness.

When you improve mealtimes, you will find many other things improve: resident satisfaction, staff engagement, and organizational results. Studies show happy diners are happy residents, which equals a more successful community.

Your staff’s behavior will determine the kind of community you have, and the training you choose determines your kind of staff. Teaching servers to foster an ambiance of our unique hospitality brand in your dining room can quickly and fundamentally impact the collective psyche of the entire community in ways that positively impact your results.

Kind Dining® online and on-demand curriculum is evidence-based, values-driven, and promotes equity in your community. It is a turn-key system for teaching dining servers from all departments to improve mealtimes by creating a welcoming environment and supporting socialization at every meal.

Get started by contacting Cindy today. Call (503) 913-1978



Q:  What services does Kind Dining/Higher Standards company provide to improve long-term care and assisted living quality?

We deliver our unique 9-module online and on-demand dining service training for all staff who serve meals, your food servers, direct-care workers, ancillary staff, and managers.  We are working on our licensed Train the Corporate Instructor (TCI) program, allowing companies to implement ongoing service improvement by developing Kind Dining® in-house Coaches.  In addition, we provide virtual consultations and workshops by phone and Zoom.

Q:  Quality of nursing home care: How do I know my servers get the right training to prepare for QIS surveys?

Kind Dining® online training presents ways to develop relational skills and demonstrates technical skills for proper meal service.  On-going training and coaching in these skills help servers confidently pass state and federal person-centered care surveys. It enhances the community culture and dining experience for everyone involved.  We teach valuable personal, interpersonal, and professional communication and team-building skills (and many others) that will have lifelong applications and improve long-term care and residential living quality.

Q:  How are the skills you teach different from other person-centered online training and support different culture change models?

Kind Dining® is not a program but teaches a kinder way of life and working together. It offers consistent training for all staff and was developed as the result of Cindy’s graduate research.  This was designed to investigate the influence of staff on the resident’s dining experience. She concluded educating and training servers would benefit residents, servers, and providers significantly.  Kind Dining was designed exclusively for the aging services marketplace. The foundation of Kind Dining® training is rooted in teaching relational principles and service standards around her unique definition of hospitality and creating a more civil work environment. These principles apply to any culture change model and size of an organization that serves meals.

Q:  Can I order the Modules separately? 

The Modules cannot be ordered separately.  Kind Dining® is an experiential service training, and each module builds on the other. The online training Audio and PowerPoint content are enhanced and reinforced by the content in the handbook. We teach knowledge, skills, and attitudes based on a philosophy grounded in research that supports nursing home and residential care quality improvement and will help you change the service culture of your community or organization.  Our curriculum is designed to be integrated into your dining training as you work on continuous improvement.

Q:  What is experiential training?

Experiential training itself is defined by the experts as an approach to individual, group, and organizational learning that engages people using action, reflection, application, and performance support. With our approach, participants recognize the challenges of aging, and servers build the empathy needed to respect the aging process and to engage the resident on a person-to-person level. They also learn to respect the company that hired them. We see real behavior change with ongoing training, coaching, and practice.

Q:  Our dining room managers believe we pay our servers minimum wage and shouldn’t expect more from them.  Can you make better employees from your lowest paid, least trained employees?

Absolutely. Improving the training of minimum wage employees not only improves their interaction with your residents but also increases their work satisfaction and relationship with their supervisors, which creates a better work environment.  Kind Dining training educates people on making genuine connections and working for common goals and purposes. Research* validates that feeling connected and doing meaningful work is oftentimes more valued than a wage per hour. Kind Dining training provides new skill development, stimulates creative ideas, and instills employee commitment to be a better server/worker for you and your residents.

*Grant, L,” Organizational Predictors of Family Satisfaction in Nursing Homes.” Seniors Housing & Care Journal, 2004.

Q:  My staff is very diverse.  I employ teenagers, middle-aged servers, and people from varied cultural backgrounds, many of who speak as a second language.  Can Kind Dining help my company improve its dining service?

Yes. Kind Dining® training is designed to appeal to a diverse group of servers and workers.   Concepts are easy to grasp, with lots of visuals, limited text, engaging exercises, and universal ideas and principles of learning how to get along.

Q:  Why do you call anyone who serves food in a community a “server”?

To create a common bond for the work itself.  Whether a person works in nursing, food service, housekeeping, or the recreation department, the principles of service and proper serving techniques apply.  Ms. Heilman reinforces the principles in every aspect of the training and materials and believes the continuity of these principles applies no matter the level of care.

Q:  How long does it take to finish all 9 Modules? 

Approximately 8 hours. The Modules are grouped into three sections. Foundations of Great Service – Modules 1-3, Nuts and Bolts of Great Service – Modules 4-6 Maintaining Great Service – Modules 7-9 We recommend not watching more than three at a setting, allowing time to digest the lessons and being mindful of answers and application of the material.

Q:  Where do I find the Handbook?  Do I need to print it out?  Can I use it digitally and print it out after? 

Each module has a specific handbook. The downloadable PDF handbook for each participant is located in the Resource Tab in the upper right-hand corner of the Title page of each Module. It needs to be printed off and in hand, before you watch each module because there are questions to answer that will be shared in group activity throughout the modules. It also can be used digitally.