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 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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