A friend told me about her friend Anne starting a new job as a food server in a senior living community. She ran smack into a bully that pulled gloom down over everyone in the dining room. It was a sad place to be. She boldly criticized every other food server trying to get the residents to laugh at them.
They didn’t. They did look uncomfortable but hesitated to say anything, lest the woman turned on them. The bully also made derogatory comments about the food that came out of the kitchen. Residents looked down at their plates with an expression of ‘do I want to eat this or not?’ When she started on her friend, Anne put up her hand, palm out and quietly said, “Stop. You don’t know me. I will not tolerate any comments from you to me or about me.” She made it a point to make pleasantries to each of the residents she served. The other wait staff practically glowed when she extended a helping hand without being asked. She smiled at them with friendliness. Anne did not shun the bully but she did not cater to her either. The next day she extended the same pleasantries to her as she did to the others.
The bully’s reaction was silence. It was obvious that she watched Anne and the effect she had on the dining room. The other food servers picked up the cue and began smiling….at everyone! The residents and their fellow food servers loved it! When the bully shot a rude comment to a server, the server shook her head side to side, meaning, NO! She went on serving cheerfully as the bully just closed her mouth and left it closed.
Kind Dining® trains food servers on how to change their attitude and learn to work together. We coach personal and professional habits of hospitality to give the food serving team tools to use in bringing value to their work. These are skills that can be learned to improve your residents’ and your food serving teams’ dining experience.
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Mealtimes offer an extraordinary opportunity to excel at customer care.
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 # 1 is a trumpet announcing that your dining room is the best marketing tool you have!
It’s the authentic showcase to the public, the foundation of social life in your community. It’s where your residents will break bread with their family and friends during visits. When they don’t have visitors, mealtimes are when they connect with the other residents to form friendships.
Family guests will carry their perceptions back to the office, to BBQs, and to committee meetings where they will boast, or not, where Mom is spending her days. Happiness; they want to tell everyone how happy Mom is. There is a way to secure these impressions are carried away from your community and in your favor.
The Kind Dining® way is to unite all the company working together as a top-notch team. The intent is to add management, kitchen, and ancillary staff working with the serving staff. Include the marketing department in your objectives to enact the culture change that is in demand today. Pride will abound when your residents begin responding to the consideration they deserve during all mealtimes.
A noticeable difference is made when community engagement, which includes all staff, understands and promotes socializing over meals. Incorporate your servers to wear nametags and to introduce themselves to your residents like the best restaurants do. Be sure that the print is large and bold enough for a senior to see easily. When your residents put a name to a face that is improving their daily life, your marketing soars to the top. This is a small step in your community marketing that brings in happy moments to work for you.
Parade Magazine and Random Acts of Kindness Foundation say that the year 2017 has been designated ‘The Kindness Year’. Enjoy it. Promote it. Slide it into your marketing program. Your residents will love it and you, too.