A writer friend, who enjoys traveling solo, says she prefers staying at B & B style inns rather than hotels when she goes to Great Britain. There is such a huge difference even though hotels also extend courtesy and consideration.
She said, “It is usually like having your Aunt Millie inviting you to stay with her. This would be the aunt who never had children of her own, so she could never do enough to make you feel at home.”
One time she stayed in the popular, small, ancient town, Hay-on-Wye, that sits on a river separating England and Wales. “That night the host sat on the chintz covered sofa in the living room. The carpet that covered the floor in this 800 year old house was a plush, deep, cobalt blue. I sank into when I stepped in.” she continued.
The host brought out his guitar inviting the three guests from the States, all strangers to each other, to sing along. His teenage son drifted in and joined them. The next morning there were two more strangers at the large dining table. They were brothers-in-law who arrived late the night before after being out for a day long, 20 mile walk.
Hospitality flowed easily during her short stay and was capped by a breakfast experience around that dining table that made my friend want to exchange addresses. She felt wanted, protected, and comfortable, as if this was her home. She did not feel like a paying guest. It seemed this hospitality came naturally from her hosts. But I know it is a talent that can be learned. Kind Dining® was built to teach your food servers how to extend this hospitality naturally to your community’s residents. They will do this by being hospitable because they want to be, not by acting with a false hospitality.
This talent of hospitality can be the same in your community dining room where newcomers are strangers who are seeking a welcome feeling at the table in their new home. Your servers can learn the skill of my friend’s host who created warmth around the table atmosphere. She was 3,000 miles away and felt that homey feeling!
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Do Your Servers Exude Hospitality?
Teenagers looking for jobs during the summer and school vacation times often apply at retirement communities. One in particular was a boy working in the kitchen. When he started, he had no other thoughts than earning money toward future education. His entire attitude changed when residents became interested in him. They took the time to ask his opinions about events.
When asked about his work, he said, “It didn’t take long for me to realize that showing up for work, being there, and being kind made a big difference to them and it did to me, too. Many don’t have family and considered me as part of their family. My interaction with them was a way I could give back.”
Being noticed and respected changed his attitude and focus. He put extra effort into his work often doing more than his task demanded. At the end of the week he looked back to see if he could have done anything in a better way. His focus was no longer only on his paycheck but as a learning experience outside school. He knew these lessons would stay with him throughout life. He remained with the company returning each summer and holiday vacation periods.
He communicated with full time food servers, asking for ways to improve his responsibilities. They shared how residents became people with individual personalities rather than just faces sitting at a table waiting to eat. When the servers asked questions and came to know who they were serving, what their likes and dislikes about many subjects were, their work became meaningful. If they didn’t show up for work one day, they knew certain residents would be concerned or would simply miss them. They mattered. Kindness took precedence. It made a huge difference when employees found their work meaningful.
Kind Dining® training stresses that this concept needs to be nurtured and reminds us that it can be a learned skill. Communities that are committed to a strong workplace culture improve the balance sheet for its company. Food servers, including those in the kitchen who aren’t seen as often, with a sense of identity and purpose is a vital asset to the community.
Responsibility for leaders is to create a workplace culture that helps employees find meaning in what they do. This investment in community creates meaning and value for all stakeholders. Kind Dining® is an affordable training series and direct route to transform staff behavior during mealtimes. They will become your most valuable company asset and will show you how to surpass your competition.
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: A committed employee is an asset to the community.
There are days when any commercial kitchen can run into problems. Electrical systems shut down for some unknown reason, the fresh vegetable supply didn’t come in, the chef took ill, the sous chef has poison ivy, and so on. Can those problems be fixed? A back-up system works, the day’s menu is adjusted, the second or third in command steps into the chef’s shoes. The day may not be perfect but all goes well after all. It’s the same in the community dining room. If there are problems; bonds can be formed between residents and food servers, new servers can learn techniques, attitudes can be adjusted, and new ways can be taught to long-time food servers to make their job easier and more pleasant. (Really-you can come to love this work! It’s very gratifying when you do it right.)
Kind Dining® can show you ways to work out your problems and show you how to overcome daily disturbances in your dining room routines. First recognize problems by talking with residents and asking their honest opinions and suggestions. What choices would they like to make?
Create a culture of including newcomers and others unfamiliar to your ‘regulars’ to join them at the table. Directors of the company can show leadership qualities by stopping at different tables to say “hello, I’m happy to see you here today.” It is always delightful to see the chef come out of the kitchen to accept applause from those he designs menus and creates meals for. This builds community and ties that are appreciated. Having a friendly greeter at the door is the first step in the resident looking forward to mealtimes. Happy mealtimes are the first step in staying healthy, eating with gusto, and wanting to meet new friends and neighbors.
Introducing one ethnic group to another, with the intention of encouraged intermingling, helps each culture to understand the customs of the other. Understanding opens doors and brings in respect and knowledge that widens one’s world without leaving the community. Celebrate diversity with joy. A climate of inclusion builds relationships that otherwise would not have been made. When staff becomes a part of these plans, they will themselves be enlightened and become important to the community and to the company.
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Building a better community one day at a time.