Is your senior living community dining room ready for the new decade?

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The beginning of a new year and a new decade is the perfect time to take stock and decide what new training needs to be considered to make your senior living community dining room better. Take note of where your food preparers and your food servers need new instruction and guidance.  The Kind Dining® training series can introduce new ways to correct old habits that are detrimental to mealtimes though it may not be realized until you use close scrutiny. Even one person not working to their full capacity can disrupt a mealtime for every food server and senior diner. Remember when a food server becomes skilled it touches everyone; the food preparers, the other food servers and everyone in the dining room every mealtime. Every movement a food server makes is a skill that has been learned, not a talent they were born with.

Kind Dining® training methodology can improve your minimum wage, unskilled employees by teaching them how to interact with residents, improve their relationships with their supervisors, and create a better working environment because they will have a better self-image. I have designed my modules to educate food servers about doing meaningful work, skill development, setting goals, and making connections that will benefit them. The result will stimulate creativity and instill employee commitment. Employees don’t leave a job where they are appreciated and enjoy doing. Through better service, your community dining room will top the competitive advantage. Your food preparers and food servers will take pride in their part of creating a revered community dining room.  

Other major changes in the senior living community dining room is the regulation that the individual matters and must have choices. Focus is definitely on the resident as an individual. At one senior living community, the culinary staff is actually collaborating and respecting the opinions of its residents. New trends include the Food-to-Table movement for fresh, locally grown foods, and the hiring of chefs who have leanings toward restaurant service rather than industry dining rooms. Another senior living community is experimenting with keeping restaurant hours 24/7 where everyone can eat whenever they want, just by entering the dining room and ordering from a menu. This is intended to aid residents who need to eat food with medicines they take during the night. 

The old adage that says “employees tend to leave their managers, not their jobs” tells us that supervisors need to be in on the training sessions, too. When it comes to bringing your senior living community into the next decade, it’s the duty of everyone to attend training sessions to freshen up their position. Each person is necessary to build a good working team.

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Good service can save a bad meal. A good meal cannot save bad service.

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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