Truth #4 The Individual Resident of this Generation is Different
The younger Boomers are filling our communities today. A new ‘help-yourself cart’ on the side of the dining room will not satisfy their desires. Their refined palates want the variety of culture found in quality ethnic restaurants that their two-income households afforded them before retirement. They want espressos, lattes, and caramel macchiatos. Remember that they are the largest increase in population ever in our country and they are now moving into your dining room. Are you ready? Can you accommodate? Service must be as good as the food and the food needs to be the best. Today’s residents expect it and are willing to pay for it.
Kind Dining © training and sensitivity is more important than ever and will overflow into all the other areas of your community. Courtesy, graciousness, and well-timed meals, served from friendly staff, are key factors. These residents are active, social, adventurous, sharp of mind, and world educated. The community needs to step up to offer them the respect due and to fulfill their demands in everyday living. They know what healthy eating is and recognize fresh foods direct from the farm that grew it.
Residents in today’s communities are very different than the residents of ten years ago. Times have changed drastically and the government is forcing the change to be accommodated. When you understand the change, the government’s guidelines will easily become clear to you. As a people, we are aware of the different cultures that now gather in our communities and seek higher standards of service to savor it. Culture change is here. The Greatest Generation resident is nearly gone from the community today. It’s time for your best effort to shine.
Truth # 3 The Gap Between Expectation and Service.
What makes my husband and I drive 1½ hours to dine at a particular restaurant when there are six good dining establishments within a mile of our home? Answer: the owners and staff will welcome us with sincere delight. Their service and food will be everything we anticipate. This created ambiance will wrap around us like Grandma’s fuzzy blanket. We will receive full value, plus, for our dollar. Everyone wins!
Your community dining room needs to have that same magnetic draw that makes your residents look forward to mealtimes. It’s time to look at your dining room with the eyes of a first-time guest. The plates leaving the kitchen need to be enticing, the aroma floating up to capture the attention of even the pickiest eater. Pay attention to the time allotted for a relaxing experience at the table. Social interaction is a goal here. This is not the place for your diners to hurry.
While you’re creating this calm atmosphere for your diners, remember to keep the lighting up to a bright level. That is an important item for seniors. The lighting also instills cheerfulness in your servers which will trickle down to those they are serving. Let your serving staff know how important they are and how they directly influence the lives of those in the dining room. Give them the Everyone Wins! idea to carry with them daily.
Often what seems to be a small item to employees is huge to residents. They are elderly, yet they are individuals who have names. It’s important that they are allowed to retain their dignity without condescending references from the staff, at any time. These details are brought out when your staff is trained by Kind Dining®. Plus, staff will wear their Kind Dining® pins with pride as they carry your Senior Residence to success.
Remember that as federal regulations are now tightening, the spotlight shines on the dining room.
The week of February 6 – 10, 2017 is almost here and that marks Pride in Foodservice Week. This recognition week applauds nutrition and foodservice professionals and other members of the nutrition services team for their hard work and dedication on the job. We’d love to hear success stories of what great things are happening in your community. Share a comment on our Facebook page and let us know what makes you proud of your work and your staff.
Visit the ANFP website for ideas to incorporate at your facility.