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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.
Welcome news is being spread around that culinary schools such as Johnson & Wales and the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) have redesigned the curriculum to focus on teaching cooking for the senior population. The baby boomers enjoy dining on sushi and drinking lattes. This is the generation that has traveled the world and enjoyed cruise ship vacations. They have been introduced to the cuisines of foreign countries and conditioned their taste buds. Benefits learned from spas in the mountains and spas in the valleys relieve stress and detox their bodies. Seniors have learned to appreciate drinking fresh fruit-flavored water. Now as many are moving into senior living communities, they are looking for these offerings in the dining rooms before making any decision on which one will be their home. Some of these higher-end communities have reported hiring 3-star chefs because the community dining room is a competitive advantage.
Senior living communities that are not luxury based have found their dining room meals improved tremendously by utilizing local farmers’ markets for fresh supplies at equal cost-effective ways. Chefs plan menus and introduce healthy foods to tempt the taste buds as well as rely on long-time favorite stand-bys. Herb gardens planted outside the kitchen stoop keep costs down while keeping quality and flavor up. The new, positive culinary frontier can be adapted into the present budget.
Kind Dining® coaching encourages the food serving staff to work as a team with the kitchen food preparers generating a smooth, pleasant mealtime for residents and their guests. While the chef adopts seasonal options to create nutritionally balanced meals their teammate-food servers greet seniors with a cheerful welcome and guide them to table-friendly diners if they enter the dining room alone. While the culinary team is thoughtfully ordering regional foods and creating specialty menus, paying attention to gluten-free, heart-healthy, and pureed and textured foods, again their food serving team will recite menus and options with knowledge and familiarity, answering any questions the diners may have.
The New Year is the perfect time to make the improvements needed in your kitchen and dining room food preparing and serving staff. Upgrade their skills and allow your food serving team to become the team revered by others for their community dining room finesse. Kind Dining® helps to heal broken relationships and supports harmony, communication, and team-building! When your food preparers and food servers perform their duties easily and work with their teammates, they will come to love their job, the people they serve and the company that employs them. It’s a great plan to begin a new year!
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: You are important to your company’s reputation; how meals are prepared and served MATTERS!
January is a great time to think about looking forward. Starting a new year gives many seniors the idea of starting over . . . by changing their lifestyle. They will be casting aside the dread of aging by embracing it as a time to bring the dreams of their youth to life that they once set aside for family obligations. These seniors will put worry about house repairs, maintenance and upgrades behind them by moving into a retirement home. They will quickly learn that the center of any retirement community is the dining room. The mealtime table in this new chosen lifestyle is where new friendships are formed and older friendships are maintained. The food serving team carries a trusted position in providing the residents with a dining room where they feel welcome and comfortable with the food serving staff and with other residents.
Kind Dining ® training alerts food servers to the power they hold by simple interactions such as listening to an elder, asking if a coffee cup refill is desired, the courtesy of a ‘good-bye,’ a chair pulled out for a diner, a pleasant smile of greeting, or a mobility impairment of an elder. Food servers need to know their residents well enough to recognize a problem by their expression or shyness. It is necessary to know the respect and honor that passes between food servers and the residents. Excellent service is so much more than carrying food to a table.
Caring food servers also embrace those same considerations to her fellow food serving team. They will have restocked the pantry for the next shift, lent a hand to a teammate who needed it, and smiled as fondly at her teammates as she had to the residents she serves. The changes required to improve the dining room service can be a goal for New Year’s resolutions. Creating positive changes may appear to be difficult but with practice, improvements will come. Consistency eventually creates confidence. To be comfortable in a food server’s position is a power in itself and a goal to be proudly attained.
It is time for your retirement community to move forward in achieving new regulations. The old way is no longer acceptable. Communication is the key to the success of working as a team in the new plan. Determination and persistence may pay off with a giant celebration that all may participate knowing their share of effort helped in the success in the new year.
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: As so many seniors are doing, it’s time to start over, completely change your lifestyle into areas where you resist change at your job.
Starting a new year brings starting over to mind. There are a zillion stories out there about starting over. Surprisingly many are stories from people in their 40s leaving higher paying positions in what they consider toxic environments to find employment in a healthier area or taking a giant leap to start their own business. Once, those over 60 reluctantly faced retirement. Today they are looking forward to that age when they can set new goals. Diana Nyad at 69 years old is the only person to swim from Florida to Cuba without a shark cage. Frank McCourt wrote his first book, a best seller, after he retired from 30 years of teaching. Well-known actor Estelle Getty was in her 60s when she won her first Emmy.
Seniors are known to be among the happiest groups of people. They now have the time to do what they want without the usual duties and obligations to interfere. Seniors have accumulated wisdom, confidence, social skills, and generally have a guaranteed minimum income through Social Security. This sense of freedom allows them to happily start over.
Often they sell the homestead, sometimes moving to an entirely different part of the country and choose a senior living community for that life style change. Their challenge is finding the community that fits into their plans perfectly. If there is one area of any retirement community that needs to outshine the rest it is the dining room.
Kind Dining® can help them choose your senior community by helping you to have a dining room that everyone wants to claim as their own. Through our training, your food serving team will love the work they do because, with practice, it will become second nature to them. When food servers perform their job with pleasure, they take pride in what they do and take extra care with those they serve. Your community dining room can be a magnet that draws your residents to mealtimes that they want to introduce to their friends and families.
Our training series can teach your food servers to approach their work with improved serving skills and a different mindset toward the residents and their coworkers. Food servers include the part of the team, who are usually unseen, those in the kitchen. They will learn how to use fresh ideas to improve their performance by making their work easier. You want all your food servers to work as a team reaching out for the same goal and making your lifestyle community the one seniors are seeking.
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Does your food serving team help each other provide better service?