Your Dining Room and Resident Satisfaction

When a friend of mine was widowed all her friends gathered around her to give her comfort. They also agreed among themselves that she would be included in all their functions in the future so she would not feel left out, even though they were couples and she was not anymore. After 6 months of being stuck on the end of the table in a restaurant or being the third person squeezed into the back seat of the car, she began to decline the invitations of her dear friends. She just did not fit anymore. It was better to stay home.

She eventually did find other friends who shared her single status, going out in mixed groups and enjoying her life as a single person. When she decided to move into a retirement community she remembered her earlier experiences and particularly looked at the dining room seating arrangement during her tour. When she saw round tables and long tables for family dining, that resident community went to the top of the list. She stayed for lunch purposely to watch the servers, noting their attitude, courtesy and overall competence. Serving staff greeted residents by name, pulled chairs out for them, exchanging words of welcome.

That particular retirement residence was the one she happily chose. She thanked the friend who gave her some extra tips on what to look for in a retirement campus. You just know she is going to pass forward this important information to other friends of hers looking for their retirement home.

The dining room is so much more than a place to eat, even if the food is excellent. It’s a place to socialize, to continue the bonds of family visits, a place to foster new relationships, and a place the serving staff need specialized Kind Dining© training to give the resident satisfaction. These personal touches are appreciated much more than the fancy coffee machine or a stunning reception area in the main office. It will make your community stand out among the others.


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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