Dining Trends

We have gathered a variety of articles, links, and resource materials here for you to explore.  Below you can learn more about the following topics: Dining Experience, Food Safety, Leadership & Workforce, and Menus.

Dining Experience

Leave No ‘Odd Man Out’ at the Dining Table This Holiday Season
After recently teaching my dining class in a senior care community, I had an illuminating conversation with a resident. [more]

How the Dining Experience Affects Your Quality Indicator Survey
I had the opportunity at the end of September to speak at the American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in San Diego. A key element of the presentation—and my message overall—was to change the negative mindset of providers and staff about being surveyed to a positive one. [more]

DMArticle-1Residents Have an Appetite for Customer Service
What if I told you that you could improve the quality of meals you provide without changing a single item on your menus? And what if I could tell your administrator that you would accomplish this with the staff you already have on hand? Better yet, what if I told you that by investing in some basic training for serving staff you could make a significant difference in the lives and happiness of your residents? Interested?

The Experience of Eating
Eating is an emotional experience. Think about some of your most pleasurable recent dining experiences. Perhaps it was breakfast with family around the cozy kitchen table, or a social gathering with neighbors over the backyard barbecue?? Was is the stop at a local coffee shop where the barrista (I’m from the Pacific Northwest) or hostess greeted you by name and asked if you wanted your “usual”? [more]

4 Dining Trends You Need to Know Now
It’s an era of change and resident-centered care initiatives are on everyone’s mind. As AHCA/NCAL points out in The Quality Initiative, “Just like any other business, skilled nursing care centers and assisted living communities must ensure that the customer is king.” Studies show high resident satisfaction pays off organizationally and financially. [more]

3 Ways to Bring Warmth to the Table in Your Senior Living Community this Holiday Season
The dining room in a senior living community can be a hectic place, especially during mealtimes. As serving staff races back and forth delivering meals, trying to remember several things at once, it is all too easy to forget the most important task at hand: giving kind service. [more]

5 Ways to Change Your Dining Environment by Friday
The dining environment in senior living communities is a major factor in resident satisfaction. So important, in fact, that residents and families who are satisfied with their mealtime experience are more satisfied with your organization overall, and therefore more likely to recommend your community to others. [more]

How Much Time Do Residents Spend on Meals?
Have you ever noticed how often residents in
your senior living community comment about the food and dining room? How many times do they check the menu or ask a staff member, “What’s for dinner?” Does it sometimes feel like mealtimes are the only thing on everyone’s mind? Consider the amount of time residents spend preoccupied with dining and you’ll begin to see how important the dining experience is to overall resident satisfaction and community building. [more]

Serving Meals is a Team Effort
Legendary coach Vince Lombardi understood the value of selfless contribution to the team effort as well as anyone. His ability to motivate and inspire athletes to sacrifice ego, become masters of basic fundamentals, and work in harmony made him an American icon. Forty years later, the lessons have not changed. [more]

4 Ways Training Dining Staff Pays
One of the most common questions I receive from administrators of senior living communities is, “Does it pay to train the dining staff?” That’s understandable, given current market conditions, high rates of staff turnover, and tight budgets. The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Study after study, and my personal experience working with communities across the country, shows high-quality training pays off in major ways. [more]


Food Safety Resources

  • Fact Sheet on Food Safety
  • 10 Facts on Food Safety

Five keys to growing safer fruits and vegetables Five Keys to Safer Food Manual


Leadership & Workforce

How to Motivate Staff to Optimize the LTC Dining Experience
According to a recent editorial at www.pickthebrain.com (an online forum focusing on self-improvement), “What separates the highly successful is the ability to keep moving forward.” The obstacle is the all-too-human quagmire of negative thoughts, doubts and anxiety. Pervasive low staff retention rates in the senior care marketplace belie the epidemic of low motivation in this field. [more]

What is Your Mission?
What motivates your employees? What would you imagine generates sustainable high performance in the workplace? If your first guess is money, your guess is wrong. [more]

Create a ‘Thriving Workforce’ Through Empowerment
Beyond tangible, teachable skills, like how to set a table properly, training for thriving employees includes helping them break out of the status quo. When employees are able to take small risks in the service of making the community work better, they feel empowered and engaged. [more]

‘New Eyes’ for Nursing Homes Through QIS
It’s the small, everyday details that send messages to residents and their guests. These details may truly be invisible to providers and staff who have developed habits in a familiar work environment. [more]

Hospitality and Leadership in the Dining Room
Frontline servers are emerging leaders within senior care communities. Forward-thinking administrators recognize the value of arming their staffs with targeted hospitality training. [more]

Leaders Build Community in the Dining Room
The kitchen is the heart of the home. But the warmth people bring is the hearth. Make the dining experience a natural place to build community. Transform neighbors into friends. [more]

Culture Change in Nursing Home Dining Begins with a Vision
Improved quality of food and service is the measurement of success in making a difference with a retirement center’s bottom line. [more]

Person-Centered Care Begins with a New Attitude Toward employees
Cindy Heilman – CEO of Higher Standards – explores the Catch-22 at management level of senior living communities. Administrators set the bar low and expect less from underpaid employees. Opportunities abound to improve productivity and morale for all staff  who serve meals. [more]

Begin Culture Change Now-Seek Talents within Your Staff
Nursing homes and assisted living communities need a culture change in hospitality service, writes Cindy Heilman MS, DTR. Formal training sessions can uncover the hidden skills of staff. Shine a light for service personnel in need of more options to share. [more]

Brand Mission Motivates Employees in Senior Living
In the Harvard Business Review’s recent article, “What Great Companies Know About Culture,” a core message is conveyed: “Those companies who are committed to a strong workplace culture tend to perform well.” A strong workplace culture is proven to improve the balance sheet for its company by 20-30%. [more]

Person-Centered Care: The bottom Line
In many LTC communities, the basic need for excellent service has been overshadowed by a single-minded adherence to numerous state and federal regulations, medical regimens and cost pressures, even though service and an environment conducive to healthy living were stated objectives of the organizations. Somehow, companies have not been paying attention to their own core values. [more]