Q&A: Motivating Servers

Ask Cindy, brought to you by Kind Dining: Bringing Warmth to the Table.


Q. Cindy, how do you motivate servers who say they don’t want to be “waitresses”?

A. I find the biggest reason for this reaction is staff members who do not understand the value of their role as a server. Once they do, they begin to take pride in the difference they make for your organization and in the lives of residents. Senior living communities train staff to understand their role in creating opportunities for residents to have enriching connections with each other. It’s not unusual for residents to interact with servers more often than their own families. When servers make a genuine effort to spark conversation and show caring interest, that energy promotes a more fulfilling experience for everyone.

For more about inspiring a service mentality, read Hospitality for Boomers: How to attract residents, retain staff, and maximize profitability. Although it was written about the Baby Boomers we serve, the core information is applicable to any age group. For hands-on help implementing higher service standards, bring Kind Dining® Training to your senior living community. To get started, call 503-913-1978.


Cindy Heilman, MS, DTR has over 30 years of experience enhancing hospitality and food service quality. She is CEO of Higher Standards, LLC, author of Hospitality for Boomers: How to attract residents, retain staff, and maximize profitability, and creator of Kind Dining® curriculum, her unique program that improves serving staff in senior living communities. She’s active inOregon’s culture change coalition, has been recognized as Oregon’s Dietetic Technician of the Year, and received the American Dietetic Association (ADA) National Award for Excellence in Dietetic Technology. She speaks, trains, and consults nationally on raising service standards in senior living communities.

About Cindy Heilman

Cindy Heilman MS, DTR: Cindy Heilman has over 25 years of experience in enhancing hospitality, and food service standards. She is the CEO of her own company, Higher Standards LLC, and creator of Kind Dining® Training. Her unique background in restaurant ownership, in hospitality and healthcare food service, in working as a Dietetic Technician Registered and Healthcare Specialist at SYSCO Foodservices, led her to the development of her exclusive program that improves relationships and lives of aging residents through the dining experience.

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