Do you remember Deborah Kerr singing Getting to Know You in the film The King & I with Yul Brynner? It’s a lovely, happy scene where she meets the King’s children, all of them. As the new teacher, she is in the same situation as the food servers in your community dining room. She sings “Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you, Getting to like you, Getting to hope you like me.” It’s her responsibility to learn the children’s names knowing she will do a better job when they know each other’s names.
Well, your food servers don’t need to sing to your residents but using residents’ names, greeting them as they enter the dining room, guiding them to a table, and pulling out a chair for them establishes respect and caring. When food servers wear name tags it makes pleasant exchanges in conversation easier for residents and helps to build community. Being able to ask a diner a sociable question shows that your food servers care. Taking a moment to introduce tablemates to others to engage new friends also shows caring. This creates a positive statement about your staff. It shows they care. Smiling and making eye contact throughout the meal times demonstrates awareness, adding to the enjoyment of your residents.
Ms. Kerr went on to sing about being bright and breezy because she is learning about her students day by day. Your serving team will have the same results. It’s reciprocal. When they extend pleasant comments with a smiling face it comes back to them. Social protocol guides serving staff to use skills that improve both the company’s value and increases their own value to the company and your residents. Kind Dining® is here to help your food service team to freshen up their community dining room skills and to lead you into the secrets of success.
Building service elements that are critical to exceeding service expectations for senior dining, improving communication skills, reading the table, guiding the flow of meal times, and accommodating choices are standards I believe in. Incorporate the standards you want your company to maintain based on input from your serving staff and your residents.
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: A positive attitude makes a big difference at mealtime.
We all know that the dining room in the community is not the same as a restaurant vying for its place in popularity with the public. But we also know that a community dining room run like that popular restaurant is a place we are aiming for. To satisfy our residents, their guests and our food servers is a good goal and a result of good teamwork. Steve Wynn of Wynn Resort & Casino fame knows about service in teamwork and how it works for everyone it touches.
He tells the story of being in Paris with his family. For the first morning while staying at the elite Four Seasons they ordered breakfast in their rooms. His daughter ate only half of her croissant thinking that she would finish it as a snack when they returned from sightseeing. Alas, when they returned the croissant was gone. No doubt housekeeping had cleaned the room.
There was a note beside the telephone stating that the croissant had been removed with the assumption that a fresh one would be preferable. All that was needed was a call to the desk and the kitchen would send the fresh pastry up.
Being in the service business himself, Mr. Wynn immediately recognized communication and teamwork formed from different departments in the hotel to perform the best service for customer satisfaction. Housekeeping had informed the desk and the desk had informed the kitchen. Each employee had accepted his responsibility and participation to fulfill a small desire that added to the larger picture of a perfect, memorable visit.
If your dining room doesn’t have that ease of good teamwork Kind Dining® is available to correct your problems and train your food servers to be aware of individual resident satisfaction and to happily accept that responsibility. Training and practice create an easy flow of changing a glitch into a resident being delightfully satisfied and impressed, all because a food server was quick to spot a problem and know how to fix it.
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Let your residents see the communication and teamwork of your food servers.
Mealtimes meeting the American Geriatrics Society recommendations and the latest CMS regulations are goals. Communities have been challenged with the problem of seniors changing their habits from relying on appetite stimulants or high calorie supplements to keep their weight up to a healthy number. The community can easily provide the setting in the dining room to reverse old, unhealthy habits by understanding their seniors and what they respond to in order to optimize social supports.
This is about supplying nutrition and foodservice but, in a positive and hospitable way that benefits the resident and shows the pride of the food server. It is about kindness on a daily basis that overflows and spreads over residents and coworkers. The result in these minor adjustments that can be learned by your food servers will encourage the diner to eat at an enjoyable, leisurely pace, eat more than just picking at their food, and probably not need prescriptions to enhance their appetite or additives to gain weight. It will come naturally.
The seniors entering your dining room have those same feelings as when they were twenty-four going out to dinner. When they step into the community dining room they deserve respect, consideration, enjoyment, leisure, and the harvest of their lives. Their appetites will respond to any setting such as this one.
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Your community dining room can improve resident weight-loss management!
When Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple he didn’t sit back and watch others succeed. He bought Pixar and moved the company to a location planned with three separate buildings that would hold separate departments. He scrapped that whole idea quickly and decided that what his company needed was one, open space building with a central location such as an atrium that all his employees could “bump” into each other socially throughout the day while doing their work. He believed creativity and success came from people talking to each other. So, he moved the mailboxes to the atrium followed by the coffee bar, cafeteria, gift shop, and meeting rooms. This most important area was the heart of the building. Employees talking to each other would connect, share, and collaborate easily and effectively. The Pixar Crest was: Alone no longer.
Basically Jobs believed in teamwork though he approached it in a roundabout way. Jobs atrium in your community would be the dining room. That is the central location for all who serve food to ‘bump’ into each other, share ideas on making the service better, and working out a smooth routine that creates the appearance of ease for them and forges contented senior diners. There is a deep feeling of satisfaction when food servers are appreciated for the difference they make at mealtime. No one appreciates that more than the residents being served. This central location idea works for them, too. It’s the sharing mealtimes with new and long term friends that build friendships and creates satisfaction and contentedness. It’s the warmth around the table they can enjoy knowing they are in a safe environment of food servers.
Teaching people to become life-long learners is an element of Kind Dining® that you can call on for answers if you are having less-than-ideal-dining room mealtimes. We formed to help others grow into delivering resident happiness and hospitality one meal at a time. The goal of “alone no longer” works for food servers and residents, too. The answer to dining room problems can be learned, practiced, and be a source of pride for everyone involved.