Are your community meal times dining experiences?

Are your community meal times dining experiences?

Good Food Mood People Times Meal Concept

It is the Power of One theory. Twenty years ago, a photo of cellist Vedran Smailovic sitting in the bombed-out National Library in Sarajevo brought beauty in the middle of the devastation of siege.

That strong but reassuring picture illustrates how one person can make a difference and influence others to let go of their fears of war.

I’m thinking of your staff. 

Each staff member can bring a feeling of belonging, joy, contentment, security, and a shared life to each person they contact daily. Much happiness spreads around your community with little effort but intentional kindness.

In return for the kindness they share, they receive joy, a sense of belonging, confidence, work security, camaraderie, and a sense of who they are and the weight they carry. 

It is time for company executives to notice the basic tools they can utilize in their community. True leadership allows your serving staff to raise their potential and improve the dining experience for everyone. Success awaits in this detail. 

This all brings attention to mealtimes being your residents’ most important times of the day. We know how elders take time to prepare for it and look forward to this social time of the day. It is so much more than satisfying a hunger for food.

Meeting new people is a chance to chase away any loneliness that may linger. That is an opportunity for your food servers to orchestrate a social moment. They get to chat and get to know the residents. As a result, they can pair up with people who may be too shy to sit at a table without being invited. 

Person-centered care is about the staff, as they are the service providers who deliver the care.

Through the Kind Dining® training curriculum, serving staff can grow their skills by changing their mindset, skill set, and, ultimately, their everyday behavior.

Their lives will be improved while improving the lives of everyone around them: coworkers, residents, and whoever is at hand. It takes a desire to uplift one’s life, which one can do through training and practice.

Discussion afterward is highly recommended. It keeps the training close in mind, and the skills will follow.

Who doesn’t want a better life and a workday you love, full of the kindness of friends and coworkers?

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Mealtime: an opportunity for serving staff to orchestrate a social moment.

Does your staff leadership encourage setting organizational intentions?

Does your staff leadership encourage setting organizational intentions?

Charles was having an impromptu and informal lunch with two colleagues in a private dining room at the Senior Living Community. He was anxious to hear the first results of the new training they began for all employees, including their leadership staff.

“Well, what are the murmurings? Has there been any rumbling in the trenches?” Charles was anxious to hear if his guidelines were adopted by his most recently promoted leadership team now that some time passed. “Has the team used intentional, collective consciousness to guide our food servers? Have they passed intention-setting to the food-serving teams to accomplish our goals? I want to know if our teams are showing signs of having more confidence. Do they collaborate more at all levels? I expect less conflict among all our employees. Has that happened?”

Robert spoke up first. “After our training sessions, we shared your strategies, including everyone’s input to succeed. We stressed the importance of how their work intentions, positive attitudes, and the changes they create are the strengths of our community and our company.  We discussed goals and how the importance of their work is based on results. We have created colorful charts to show the progress of all of us working together with intention. They are displayed so all can see them and take pride in moving forward. We’ve opened a clear communication method in all work areas to emphasize that we are all moving toward our goal. Anyone who wishes to be heard is listened to on an ‘always-available’ basis.”

John added, “We have also let it be known that we expect this cooperation from everyone as it impacts the results. Our employees were interested in knowing how decisions are made and how those decisions come from their work experiences.  Consideration is obvious. Our teams show excitement in seeing our progress through the charts. They also enjoy the team gift cards we use as rewards.

Charles wrapped the conversation, “The reality of leadership is complex. It sounds like the potential expected of you both shows in your early results. You are managing new roles with vital collaboration and commitment and building a culture of organizational intention that requires encouragement and open communication. Now, let’s have dessert.”

Kind Dining® training helps in these areas of organizational skills! Inspiring staff to find a new sense of purpose and embracing a community’s common goal of rallying around the dining experience is basic.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Train your leadership staff on the complex role of valuable administration.

Do any of your employees carry that inner glow from doing their best?

Do any of your employees carry that inner glow from doing their best?

This conversation came to me from a woman who knows how I work to improve senior and assisted living through staff empathy and kindness.

“I stopped at a small local café type restaurant for lunch the other day. It was after the usual lunch hour which I chose because it is always a lot quieter and the waitstaff aren’t in a mad rush getting everyone’s meal out while it’s still hot. When eating solo, I often bring my journal to update. I always carry it with me. Sally spotted me coming through the door and immediately came to my chosen table before the other waiters even saw me.  I like when she waits on me. She always gives  her best, carrying cheerfulness and consideration with her. Today she was wearing a pale pink tee shirt with a saying across it.”

“Welcome. It’s good to see you today.” She said with a beaming smile as she handed a menu to me. “What would you like to drink while you read today’s specials?”

“Water with lemon and no ice for now.” I replied and commented. “Is pink your favorite color? You are positively glowing today.”

“Yes, it is. I wore it today because I think it makes other people happy, customers and other food servers alike. Besides that, we have a new junior cook in the kitchen. He is quite handsome and single, too.” She laughed at her own confession.

“I thought about Sally while she went off to get my water. She paused to answer a question from another table, smiling and leaving laughter behind as she continued to the kitchen. It was like she left a trail of sparkles behind her as she breezed across the room. I wondered if the owners knew how fortunate they were to have her. Without effort she added so much more to a simple lunch.”

It’s true that some people are applauded when they enter a room and some when they leave it. I happen to know that if you don’t carry a natural ability for pleasantry, you can learn how to do just that. It is a choice that can be made through learning how to add that particular skill to your set of skills.

The Kind Dining® training curriculum addresses how your employees can learn to be at their best every day. Everyone in your aging services community will benefit from it, your employees most of all. And they don’t have to wear pink to carry the inner glow that comes from the challenge and growth of doing their best.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Happiness is a choice, like doing your best is a choice.

What have you learned from your training session?

What have you learned from your training session?

Smiling young carer serving breakfast to happy senior woman at senior community after Kind Dning

Do you realize that Creating and Expanding Your Company’s Philosophy is a title for what Kind Dining® has been encouraging and teaching for numerous years?

Have you read about our belief in residents’ and staff’s sense of belonging, finding purpose, and knowing that the food serving team (from all departments) is the best asset the company can have?

Our curriculum teaches a better way of working, honing skills, and introducing social skills. It also discusses all aspects of the importance of the dining experience to residents.

If they are important to residents, they are doubly important to your food-serving staff. Introducing new culinary experiences and remembering to honor traditional ones come from kitchen staff who care about each person who enters your dining room.

Smart hiring practices and interactive educational training sessions keep top-rated staff wanting to benefit from lifelong learning and wanting to work in your community.

We teach them to connect and build relationships with the residents and coworkers. Building relationships inspires your staff to love their work; it is what we do because we love doing it, and we love the results. We want your food servers to share the same values, respect, team bonding, and visions that the company enjoys.

What have you learned from our training today? This is a question we love to ask after a training session. It not only reinforces our beliefs in what we taught, but we also learn what your employees didn’t know yet and need to know to be top-rated employees.

It is vital to your company and your community to have top-rated employees because they are responsible for sharing healthy attitudes that create a happy sense of belonging in your residents. Their attitude, every day, can affect a resident and make their day a happy one or a dejected one. It is also true that your food servers are ambassadors to family and friend guests in the dining room.

Don’t you want your employees, confident in their education, to show their loving, caring ways that shine through in their work?  We call it marrying hospitality and healthcare to daily work days. And we call it employees who love to come to work.

Kind Dining® delivers our unique 9-module comprehensive dining service training series for food servers, ancillary staff serving meals, full-time and part-time direct-care workers, and managers.

B♥ Kind Tip: Your employees are more confident as lifelong learners.

What makes your residents want to stay in your community?

What makes your residents want to stay in your community?

And thats where it all began...senior couples on a double date at a cafe

A friend told me recently that while having lunch at a local café, she overheard this conversation from the booth next to hers and could hardly wait to repeat it to me.

“I just found a larger senior living community with more amenities than where my mom is living. I researched it thoroughly, and when I told her about it, and all the extras offered that she doesn’t have, guess what she said? ‘No, thank you. I love where I am now. I’ve made new friends that I won’t leave them behind. Our group meets every day at noon for lunch, and we have the best time!  Mike always has a funny story to tell, and Maryann comes up with one interesting subject or another. She’s a writer, you know. We make plans and go to whatever special program is happening for the day. After dinner together, we get a card game going. That is the most fun! No, dear. Thank you, but I’m having more fun than in the old neighborhood, so I’m not going anywhere.’ I was surprised to hear her so enthused. It’s the happiest I’ve seen her in a long time.”

Her lunch companion replied. “So, you don’t have to feel guilty about encouraging her to sell up and move into the senior community?”

“Feel guilty? I’m collecting congratulations and applause. She went on to tell me how easy her life is now. Huge amounts of work and household responsibilities are gone. No more lonely nights. Replaced with fun time. She has even taken up genealogy to research the family line. I’ve never seen my mother so engaged in living! Really. The staff are all nice and friendly, even to family visitors. She has staff favorites that she now tells me about. She knows who is going to college and who will be a grandma for the first time. My mother has become amazing. All thanks go to her senior living community ‘family’ as she calls them.”

Our Kind Dining® training curriculum was designed to create that true home feeling for your residents that comes from how your staff interacts with them and each other. Once seniors move into your community, it is the warmth of caring that comes, especially from your food serving team, that makes them feel at home. Offer training to your employees to hone the skills that achieve the results you want for your company. Well-trained employees are a powerful asset. Invest in your staff and save the cost of hiring new employees. Keep in mind that happy residents don’t move out!

Cindy has a passion for food and hospitality and a unique approach to it. When you hire her to train your staff virtually, she will bring the energy and expertise that reinvigorates your entire organization to embrace customer service with a new mindset that produces positive results”.

Kind Dining – Hospitality makes the difference!

B♥ Kind Tip: Encourage your staff to show they care by interacting with your residents.

Is your food serving team anxious to change things they can control?

Is your food serving team anxious to change things they can control?

Professional nurse and smiling senior woman laughing while sitting in common room and drinking tea

“My daughter tells me it is hard to make new friends,” Coleen told Kelly. They were having lunch after a long stretch of being too busy to get away. “She’s at college, the first time away from home. I almost laughed at her because I know how hard it is when you get older like our residents coming into our senior community when they don’t know a soul here.

“I know what that is like since I moved halfway across the country just before I came to work here. From my experience, I instinctively knew how to show extra care and attention, especially when serving someone who comes into the dining room without a friend.”

“Thanks for telling me,” Kelly replied. I was born and raised in this county and have always lived here. I would never have thought of that. I guess the training courses that teach us about building relationships with the elders and being aware of any resident who seems to be lonely are definitely for me.

“I behave as the training suggests because I enjoy talking with our residents. Now, I am content to know the cause of the loneliness that overcomes some of our elders. Those are some of the reasons, anyway. I know there is more to it. So many residents have outlived many of their friends and family.”

Coleen continued. “We improve their lives by adding intentional acts of kindness and awareness of their problems. Last week, I took Mary B. to the big table and introduced her to the group that usually sits there.  They welcomed her with open arms. I knew they would. She’s been smiling ever since.”

Kind Dining® knows an educated staff that serves meals and cares about the residents in the community where they work, which is your company’s golden asset.

It’s vital that residents feel at home and know their neighbors, though many elders are too shy to meet new people on their own. The servers in the community are a major part of their contentment, helping them to feel secure and opening the way to happiness.

Kind Dining ® training modules teach your employees to understand the aging process, how your serving staff can make a difference, and how to protect the dignity of your senior population.

Encourage your serving team to notice opportunities to improve the dining experience around them. Call to arrange a schedule of training modules that fit into your employees’ working schedules.

B♥ Kind Tip: You know that your food serving team is your company’s best asset!



Does your company and employees make the best choices?

Does your company and employees make the best choices?

A great way to invest is to encourage them to do their very best on the job. Let them know that you see their potential, expect them to do their best, and that your company believes in them and depends on them.

Remember that complimenting good work will encourage one to continue doing one’s best, whereas criticizing an employee will create resentment, resulting in a declining desire to put extra effort into improving one’s work.

Allow your employees to learn how to make better choices that will enhance their working relationships from training and practice sessions. Choosing to do their best is a conscious decision. Making a better choice to do your best on the job also changes every aspect of your life. You don’t turn it off at the end of each workday. The results of better choices go with you wherever you go and whatever you do.

At the same time, it is important that the ambiance for your senior living community announces it is a choice to look forward to making your home with them. It is the next chapter in a progressing life that will be different but a residence for looking forward. To live in your community is a choice that eradicates worry about house maintenance and expensive repairs. It is a time to have complete enjoyment after a lifetime of responsibilities. The retirement referred to, is retirement from excessive burdens and obligations freeing up time and energy to enjoy interesting, appealing and leisurely mealtimes, meet new friends and invite longtime friends to join you in a different way of life. One suited to your changing lifestyle. One sought after.

To accommodate those pleasures for your new residents, it is necessary to have staff who made their choice to love the work they do. They are the major part of creating this senior living community ambiance. Menu offerings and dining decor can be adjusted and changed to suit taste, but the food serving team must offer their best service each time they serve any kind of repast. Their performance will be noted and work for your community or against it. Word of mouth is the best advertisement you can have, and your food servers are the ones that create that desired commentary.

Kind Dining® curriculum and training/refresher sessions, teach your employees how to create the desired effect you want by honing their skill set. Let your staff step up a notch by being at their best by incorporating kindness and generosity to residents and other staff into their daily habits.

Create a community where you would want to call home.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Let your staff step up a notch by being at their best.

DiningRD Acquires Kind Dining

DiningRD Acquires Kind Dining

DiningRD Acquires Kind Dining

I want to let you know that Kind Dining is transitioning to become part of a more significant movement to enhance relationships and the dining experience in senior living communities across the United States and Canada.

Please understand how critical you all are to positively affect the lives of people living and working in senior living environments.

It’s been my personal mission to fill the gaps, create the way for relationship bonds between staff and residents, and reduce the epidemic of loneliness through staff personal and professional growth through education, skill development, and consistent training.

Being acquired by DiningRD is an honor. It offers a fresh approach to breaking down barriers within and around the dining experience.

Helping people open their hearts and minds to find a new sense of purpose, love their work, and keep their focus and energy on what matters most.

This is key to building communities of belonging.

Thank you for being a part of the Kind Dining Community.

Your support, business, constructive feedback, stories, and love all contributed to the enthusiasm and resources that have contributed to our success.

I am grateful for you.

I will stay an active partner with DiningRD as a mentor and coach.

You can read more details in the press release below.

Kindness is a way of Life ~



Does your staff realize how alien your community is to a new resident?

Does your staff realize how alien your community is to a new resident?

senior alone looking far away


What makes your residents want to stay in your community?

Many older adults have the wrong impression of what a senior living community is like. Just because an individual moves into your community doesn’t mean he/she is happy there. It is often more difficult for an older person to make new friends. It takes time to adjust to a new environment, new daily routines, unfamiliar faces, and not all the home things surrounding them that make a person comfortable. It isn’t easy for some to step solo into a game or activity room, even if the sounds of enjoyment are carried in the air. Many, particularly women, have never entered a restaurant on their own, let alone sat and ate lunch or dinner by themselves.

Amenities in a community are useless if a resident is too shy to walk into the activity room. This is another area where the Kind Dining® training curriculum excels. Our training sessions include introducing soft skills to your staff and teaching how to use pleasant chitchat with residents.

How to greet a new resident and escort them into a dining room or to a table that will happily make room for them will come naturally after some practice. Small acts of consideration tell residents they are welcome and will soon feel like they are at home.

The goal is to make your community an excellent place for your residents to live and for your staff to work. Our training helps your employees reshape their way of thinking so they can transform their lives into positive ones, and it will let your residents know that they have chosen the right place to live.

With training and practice, all your employees will be able to recognize the body language of a resident, which will show them that caring attention is needed. They will also learn to make on-the-spot decisions that can turn a sad situation into a happy one.

All the staff must understand and be fully aware of the stress and emotions of some new residents trying to settle in.

Helping residents feel they belong and are part of a big family is the responsibility of every person who works in the community. Kind Dining® training also allows your employees to befriend each other.

Remember that the community your staff knows well is strange and unknown to a newcomer. It is a new chapter for them that can be the happiest time of their lives if they engage in it fully. Your staff can help with that and make life good for them.

B♥ Kind Tip: Staff can turn an unhappy new resident into an “I love it here” resident.

Does your staff include kindness in their every day work?

Does your staff include kindness in their every day work?

A group of cheerful seniors enjoying breakfast in nursing home care center. Kind Dining

Do your food servers know the crucial role they play as they interact with residents during mealtimes?

Do they know kindness is one of the skills needed to play that role successfully?

Many residents and even other staff suffer from an emotional disconnect in workplace relationships when kindness is ignored. We all know mealtimes are the best chance your organization has to impress your diners with an experience they will delight in repeating to other potential residents.

That experience should have kindness teamed with the serving skills each of your staff carries. They must always remember that their service enables you to have full capacity in a competitive marketplace.

Speaking of kindness, did you know Japan started a World Kindness Day, soon observed by the USA, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, and later Singapore, Italy, and India joined in?

Japan is commonly known as the world’s most polite country with its tradition of selfless hospitality. (Wouldn’t it be great to have your community known as the kindest?) They emphasize the necessity of a global kindness movement.

Think of the impact, that following their lead can have on your community when the staff accepts the challenge and agrees to support the interplay of kindness. It is also commonly known that intentional acts of kindness start a ripple reaction that will affect the thoughts and feelings of those on the receiving end. It affects the giver, too. Picture a cascade of kindness in your community.

With a career that began in the hospitality business before working in healthcare, I’m more excited than ever to work with communities that step out of the past and into the future. They transform their dining styles of service.

Skills and positive attitudes in staff behavior make a huge difference to a newcomer who is acclimating to the community.

A small kindness, even a smile extends a feeling of welcome to a new resident nervous about her choice of a home. Striking up a meaningful conversation is the beginning of building a solid relationship that will reinforce a sense of comfort and belonging. Actively listen to their reply so you can ask a follow-up question. Show that you are sincere in your interest.

Kindness is a skill that has a powerful influence yet is easily learned when introduced in training and refreshing sessions. It is a skill that can be incorporated with Kind Dining® curriculum that includes other skills going hand in hand. These are skills that can lead to making your community known as the kindest community available!

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Make every day in your community a reflection of World Kindness Day.

Instilling civility into your food serving team makes positive, lifetime changes.

Instilling civility into your food serving team makes positive, lifetime changes.

Multi-ethnic group of contemporary young people collaborating on work project while standing in circle in modern office and smiling cheerfully

A few on the second shift food serving team gathered at a table for their dinner break. They picked up the conversation where they left off earlier about their pre-shift training session that morning.

“With a little more practice, I think everyone on our team will have Module 6 down pat. We have all learned about being friendly and chatting with the residents, recognizing that our community is the place they chose to call home.

Now that the only bully on our team has been replaced, we can honestly say that we show courtesy and respect to each other as well as to our residents.

I’m sorry we couldn’t help her change her attitude to a positive one. It affected her work and created resentment among the residents. Once the residents got used to the care and consideration from the rest of our team, they rejected her outright! But we all tried in our different ways to reach out to her and refused to react to her bullying.”

“You know, our encouragement and guidance worked with Sally. She often says how our working together to show her the intentional, positive way of working has changed her life! She certainly has gone from glum and gloomy to a cheerful woman who now loves coming to work each day! We should all wear a little red heart sticker or pin on our uniform to show how much we do care.”

She laughed in case anyone may think that was a silly idea.

The newest person recently hired piped up. “I learned part of her lesson, the part that being civil was not the same thing as being neutral or reserved. I’ve learned it means lifting someone through kindness, courtesy, and caring. Like hospitality! Right? Don’t you always say hospitality and healthcare go together?”

He was proud of his learning and moving forward with the team.

Kind Dining® training sessions alleviate the problem of bullies without pointing a finger at one person but by bringing improved ways of working, introducing and stressing civility to all on the food serving team.

Create a team working toward the same goal and dissolving the problems of anyone who behaves like a bully.

Open discussions regularly with the entire food serving group and encouraging new ideas from the very people who do the serving instill leadership qualities and trust in their coworkers including administration.

Aging adults are particularly aware of the atmosphere that exists around the people who serve meals to them three or four times a day. It is easy to notice when someone strays from team goals for whatever reason.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Have your food servers learned what civility truly means?

Do you read the latest research on the Business of Aging Services?

Do you read the latest research on the Business of Aging Services?

Picture of an open book with a glasses on top of it


Do your community supervisors continue to read research on how to secure and keep healthy employees?

Do they know why it is necessary to have healthy employees and how it benefits your residents and your community?

Do they know the benefits of teamwork?

Research results reveal that employees who work together as a team show better communication skills with residents as well as with their teammates. When they share the same goals with staff members on their team, they are impacted with a sense of respect and are apt to perform their duties with a lighter step. This especially refers to employees in a minority, whether gender, race, or age.

A team member will feel accepted and know they will be treated as fairly as their teammates.  They also are reassured that they will not suffer any kind of harassment. This affects health and creates decisions to stay on the job.

A healthy employee seeks to improve their performance, will have the patience to be kinder, and gentler, and will create positive relationships with both their coworkers and the residents.

Kind Dining® encourages practicing teamwork relationships, ideas, and sharing opinions, to strengthen new, team-building habits.

Occupational friendships with teammates convey a sense of belonging that works on behalf of an employee’s health. It’s a small kindness, to extend a hand or smile, that creates a huge response.

Kind Dining®  training sessions teach that learning and practicing together promotes team culture.

The presentation and serving of meals are a complex choreography. Teammates learn to have each other’s back when someone falters. This builds trust and a winning team.

My research has proven that building meaningful relationships helps aging services communities attract residents, retain staff, and create a community where your employees and your residents feel like they belong in this very place. By mastering the fundamentals of attention, respect, and kindness, you too can improve the experience of everyone in your community.

Kind Dining® is approved for 11 Continuing Education Units for RDNs, & NDTRs.  CEUs are from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This includes 1 Ethics unit for the entire series.

For CDMs, CEUs are from the Certifying Board of Dietary Managers (CBDM). 9 General, 1 Sanitation, 1 Ethics.

Why does the brain like learning?

It’s freeing the cognitive capacity so it can seek out new information and learn. To keep our brain in tip-top shape, it needs exercise. And learning something new is the best workout we can provide. Habits and routines follow neural pathways that are well-developed and etched deep into our brains.   – Jan 21, 2022

Click here to learn more at the National Library of Medicine.

Be ♥ Kind: Build meaningful, occupational relationships to attract residents, retain staff, and create a winning community.

How do your employees become one of the good ones?

How do your employees become one of the good ones?




How do you become ‘one of the good ones’, as an employee is sometimes referred to? Many times several employees do the same work, get it done on time and never cause a problem. Yet they aren’t especially referred to as ‘one of the good ones’. 

There is more to responsibility than basic work. Attitude is important. A positive, uplifting attitude is major. It is the sincere smile, the pleasant comment, and adding some hot coffee to a half-filled cup that makes a difference.

Often it is the small things that someone may accept without fuss but notice when they don’t happen. It is noticed when an employee gives a lending hand to her teammate without even thinking about it.

Those little things make a person shine. Often, they don’t even realize it. Residents notice and smile because they know ‘that’s one of the good ones’.

Every employee can be one of those good ones.

  • First, it takes desire (who wouldn’t want to be noted like that)
  • Then it takes learning how to be aware and
  • Finally, it takes practice.

Kind Dining training sessions can step in to help with those requirements. Starting with a positive mindset uplifts the individual as well as those around them. Follow up with intentional acts of kindness to the work performance and your elders will notice.

They will also gain a sense of being wanted; feeling that they fill a special place. It is impressive to your employees when they realize it only takes 5 seconds to perform an intentional act of kindness, with great positive results.

How could anyone resist after learning such a powerful fact? The next step is practice, practice, practice until it comes naturally, without a second thought.

The Kind Dining curriculum was designed to teach your employees, among other skills, the soft skill of small talk, and find value and joy in the work they do.

Your employees are a powerful asset to the company when they are giving quality service.

When a member of your staff serves a meal or a beverage, they are extending hospitality.

When they freshen a cup of coffee or tea, start a conversation, or offer a sincere compliment, it is an act of intentional kindness while also extending healthcare.

When hospitality, healthcare, and kindness are given together from one of the team, they are ‘one of the good ones’.

Set your intention and connect with Kind Dining today.

Do your food servers set intentions?

Do your food servers set intentions?

People helping others Cindy Heilman

Think of when a toddler takes that first important step in learning to walk – setting an intention is the first vital step for your food server to be the best at their job they can be.

That intention brings focus to building on the skills they already know, to further their knowledge. This includes any part-time servers who know that any skills learned while working as a food server will stay with them throughout their lifetime.

Learning to control their behavior by a change of attitude to a positive one is the first step. Skills learned never leave them. Never. A positive attitude is life-changing for the individual and those surrounding the person.

Nurses and caregivers have added serving food to the care of their residents and can benefit from learning the setting of intentions. Nurses and caregivers who have attended our training sessions have later expressed that after taking Kind Dining® training they work better as a team, can empathize with residents, and have improved their communication with both coworkers and their residents.

They have an enlightened capacity for understanding food service tasks and the significance of mealtimes.

After practicing what they learned, participants think and act differently! One nurse, in particular, stated she understood “Dining as a community event and the role of food in healing.” A caregiver noted she was “Remembering to have empathy, remembering that the care center is a home, showing kindness to everyone.” Hospitality is healthcare.

Gathering together after a training session to discuss how they could improve their performances and which distinct items they learned is greatly encouraged. It deepens their interest and instills inspiration and determination to make changes.

Mastering the fundamentals of attention, respect and kindness can improve the experience of everyone in your community. Working as part of a team gives every person the confidence to help each other.

Kind Dining® training helps food servers understand their vital, caring role and the importance of teamwork to enhance the dining experience for residents in your assisted living community.

Our training encourages building friendly relationships with others on the food serving teams. Treating each other with respect, extending a helping hand if someone gets behind, or simply sharing uplifting news of the day helps to cement a working relationship.

It can lighten the load of a difficult day. It is also a factor in an employee’s looking forward to going to work.

Working with nice, kind people makes a big difference! Our Kind Dining® teaching sessions have successfully trained food-serving teams for over 17 years! Learn how Kind Dining Training can transform the dining experience in your community here.

Be Kind Tip: After practicing what they learned, participants think and act differently!

Do your food servers carry happy holiday spirit with them?

Do your food servers carry happy holiday spirit with them?


Do you know that holidays can bring severe, sometimes unexpected, melancholy to many seniors?

Even though the pandemic is gone, it has left many elders without loved ones who passed away during that time.

There is nothing a food serving staff can do to bring back those who have passed away, but they can turn a sad moment into a happy memory just by knowing the right words to say.

A minute can mean a lot to an older adult who is experiencing loneliness.

Kindness of thought or a few words can change a tear to a smile. The moods of food servers affect everyone they come in contact with on their daily rounds of service. It is a small thing that has big results.

When training is offered for new hires and refresher sessions for experienced servers, it is vital to add the knowledge, and skill, of kindness to those sessions.

From a leadership point of view, kindness can aid in building relationships with elders, but also with coworkers.

Your food serving team armed with vital skills applied continuously, reduces loneliness and melancholy. This is especially so during the holidays when the mood of your food serving team turns the general atmosphere into holiday fun and happy exchanges of greetings.

Keep in mind that many residents were previously hosting the holidays. After moving into a retirement community, they are just another person living among a melting pot of people who are strangers to them.

Their holidays are now vastly different.

This is a time when gathering around a mealtime table, meeting new friends, and sharing holiday stories becomes the most important hour of the day. This is a time of creating a new normal way of life. This is a time when food servers can help elders acquire a sense of belonging in your community.

A huge part of how quickly your residents make that adjustment depends on how your staff welcomes them while dining.

Kind Dining® training sessions show your employees the way to improve and grow their behavior patterns.

Knowledge and practice can make your food serving team aware of their movements and moods and how they affect your residents.

To aid new residents in making positive, permanent changes, invite the Kind Dining® curriculum to teach your employees how to make positive, permanent changes in their own lives. It doesn’t happen overnight.

When your employees work as a team, helping each other through education and practice, your community is on the way to being a top-learning and earning company.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Are your employees aware of their behaviors and moods?

Do you lose good employees for lack of good supervisors?

Do you lose good employees for lack of good supervisors?

“Does this new management team take care of us employees as we take care of our residents? No, I’ll answer for you.

As you know, I’m unhappy and have been for the last six months since the new, upper regime moved in.

I’ve brought my concerns to the bosses hoping to discuss some problems with them. I was sincere and wanted to get answers to my questions. They have canceled our discussion and training meetings and I haven’t heard a word from anyone at the top.”

A friend was eavesdropping at the park listening to two women sitting on the next bench feeding the pigeons.

One of them was obviously upset.

“What can you do? Her companion asked.

“I know exactly what I can, and will do.

I’m taking my eight years of skill and experience and going to our competitor on the other side of town.

I’ve already spoken to a woman I know who works there. She’s quite happy and content with their work schedules, responsibilities, training/discussion sessions, and management, and she’s even content with her paycheck.

That says a lot!” she laughingly replied.

Any employee who has concerns about work and takes those concerns to a supervisor shows evidence of being a responsible worker.  A knowledgeable supervisor with good leadership qualities would appreciate it.

Employees have private lives too, with their own families to look after.

When occupational issues arise for them, they need to be addressed. It’s important to keep stress from building up or burn-out forcing a good employee to feel they need to quit their job.

Health problems can result. That should not happen to any employee. Issues can be avoided with discussions and compassion.

The Kind Dining® Experience in Senior Living Communities is vital to improve the health and well-being of employees. That includes residents and staff.

We believe our training sessions help build relationships in ways that improve our communities.  Again, that improvement is for residents and all employees.

Our passion is to improve the work experience for staff serving meals, and residents receiving them.

We do this with education that involves kindness, civility, and empathy because we also believe that hospitality is healthcare. 

Actually, training never ends. It continues to educate employees about changes, adjustments, new ideas, and ways to improve their work performance. It builds communication skills necessary for a community that feels like family.

Be Kind Tip: The employee who brings a problem to a supervisor is a responsible employee.

How do you see the work you do?

How do you see the work you do?

Male chef and group of people at cooking classes kind Dining

“How did you come to work in this assisted living community?” Maryann, who is a part-time food server on Spring Break from college, asked Helen. They formed a friendly/mentor relationship since Maryann first came to work and now share a table during their lunchtime.

“Well,” Helen said, “my kids were off to college, like you” she smiled.

“I married young and was a stay-at-home mom, so I had no business experience, but wanted to go back to work again. There wasn’t much to do once the kids left.

I read the Help Wanted ad and felt confident I would qualify for the job. I had restaurant experience from years ago. They were looking for someone with a work ethic interested in learning and growing skills, friendly, caring, and with strong communication and listening skills.

I’m a mom and superb at those!

The ability to participate in teamwork was mentioned, too. That also appealed to me. I’m a believer in teamwork. Working weekends didn’t faze me and I would not be here later than 9 p.m. A perfect fit, I thought.”

“Wow,” Maryann replied, smiling. “I thought you’d been here forever.”

“No, only five years. I started part-time like you, but the training and continuing education sessions were so helpful that I quickly went full-time. I loved it from the first day. I enjoy the elder residents. Each one has told me their story. That sort of forms a personal bonding connection. It’s true that we food servers work as a team, even the staff who step in when needed. There is no bullying or ridiculing here! You must have noticed.”

“I’m embarrassed to say I kind of just come to work for the wages and convenience of hours.”

“You have noticed the rewards and recognition program, I know. Full-time employees receive excellent benefits, showing that the company respects the effort we make and cares for us, too. They want our residents to be the happiest and healthiest, fulfilling their lives as they desire. As a team of dedicated professionals, we aim to do just that!”

“Thank you, Helen. I see things differently now and will be more caregiving and considerate every day. It’s funny, looking at my work through your observations makes me see clearer and want to change my work habits for the better.”

Kind Dining® training sessions are designed for all employees whether full-time or part-time, including nursing and wellness, housekeeping departments, care staff, recreation teams, and managers. Your team is a powerful asset to the company when they are giving quality service.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: To see your value, look at your work through the eyes of others.

Would you recommend your community to your job-hunting friends?

Would you recommend your community to your job-hunting friends?

young pretty black womanfeeling puzzled and confused, doubting, weighting or choosing different options with funny expression

Cindy Heilman, Kind Dining Training

Can you honestly recommend your assisted living community to friends who are looking for a job?

If you know they are naturally thoughtful, caring, and considerate, and would look forward to training and education sessions to hone their skills, would you alert them to position openings?

Do you know if they are good listeners, and communicators, and enjoy interaction with the older adult population?

These are skills just as important as knowing how to serve a proper meal, clear a table, and deliver room service meals with all the condiments, along with a cheerful smile and kind words.

Are they well-groomed, have integrity, and respect for a Code of Ethics?

Would any of your friends realize that teamwork is involved and that the team becomes an on-the-job family that supports each other as the company also does?

Could they handle flexible hours and schedules if necessary?

Are they aware that the residents of today are more sophisticated and worldly than generations past?

That they come from various ethnic backgrounds, bringing vast experiences with them? Do your friends display empathy for others?

Have you ever told them that you are a skilled professional with finely honed skills that encompass many avenues?

Can you honestly recommend your company as one that invests in its employees with excellent training and has ongoing educational meetings?

During those meetings can you participate and offer ideas, suggestions, and discussion?

Can you tell your friends that you are supported in your efforts, offered guidance, and recognized for your unique talents?

Can you say that the wages are competitive with other communities?

How about rewards, recognition, and benefits?

Are they offered?

Does the company offer schedule flexibility?

Is there a 401k plan for full-time employees?

Would they receive vacation, holiday, and sick pay?

Do full-time staff receive medical benefits? Are your company’s values clearly stated?

Is your community one they would love to work in?

And a company they would come to love working for?

Kind Dining® training sessions help to build the company/ employee relationship that creates the community employees love to work in and the company shows pride.

We deliver our unique 9-module dining service training beneficial for all your employees. We deliver wise training investment consultations by phone and virtually in Zoom.

We are approved for 11 Continuing Education Units for RDNs, & NDTRs.

CEUs are from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This includes 1 Ethics unit for the entire series.

young pretty black womanfeeling puzzled and confused, doubting, weighting or choosing different options with funny expression

Cindy Heilman, Kind Dining Training

The credentialing board for Certified Dietary Managers is the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers (CBDM), also approving 11 credits,  9 General, 1 Sanitation, and 1 Ethics.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Can you recommend your company as one that invests in its employees?