Is your community aware of the new trends in food service?

Is your community aware of the new trends in food service?

Fresh food on cutting board for new trends in meals

The latest trend towards cooking to order is setting assisted living community chefs and food serving teams on fire!

Spring changes in the kitchen in food preparation and in the dining room in serving food have awakened creative culinary minds. The focus on utilizing local, fresh, and seasonal foods results in fresh food prepared without increasing the food budget. Chefs use their talent to create additional innovative ways to present healthy selections of food.

Residents with a waning desire to cook for themselves still want to dine on meals that tempt their taste buds. Cooking with fresh herbs and seasonings instead of sodium pairs healthcare with hospitality. Eye appeal is important and can easily be achieved by creative cooks in the kitchen. Staff who serve timely meals with pleasant, positive comportment and are neatly attired carry food service to a higher standard.

With many older adults entering the community companionless, mealtimes are even more important as social hours that will keep them from feeling isolated and lonely. Food has always been a key factor in bringing people together to form friendships and share stories. Mealtimes are the highlights of the day; a time to experience, savor, and enjoy.

Today’s senior living residents have been introduced to multiple cultures in their lifetimes and wish to continue the wide knowledge of taste they have acquired. This fine dining experience that satisfied them in their favorite restaurants is sought in the community they chose to call home. Grabbing a candy bar or bag of chips for a snack may no longer be satisfactory. Interesting, healthful refreshment options are desired at snack time they want. These goals are attainable for your community. Consider salad or sandwich bars and cooking stations that have become popular.

Kind Dining® training modules are a proven turnkey curriculum for assisted living communities that realize resident-centered care is good for business.

Our modules include:

  • Can we Make a House a Home-(creating community);
  • WHO are you Serving?-(respecting the aging process);
  • What do YOU bring to the Table?- (how to be successful);
  • Making it Personal- (knowing how to be ready to serve);
  • The Symphony of Service- (applying what you know correctly);
  • If Only I Had a Heart- (caring to become better);
  • Emotion Control-(dealing with the hard parts of serving;
  • Don’t Touch That!- (preventing foodborne illness);
  • Polishing Service- (respecting the company that hired us).

We believe active learning in practice and experiential classes are better ways of educating. Our unique approach to teaching benefits the seasoned server and the novice, the part and full-time employee alike.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Grabbing a bag of chips for a snack may no longer be satisfactory.

Do your food servers understand and use empathy?

Do your food servers understand and use empathy?

Being a top-performing food server in a senior care community is complex and challenging at the best of times. During COVID 19 it is so much more. Add being alert to the residents’ emotions, having small chit-chat handy, and being cheerful and making sure they have the resident’s meal correct to the standard usual of being neat, clean, well-spoken, and efficient.

One more skill added to the list is having empathy, the ability for a food server to imagine being in the mindset of the resident they serve.  The resident may be stressed, lonely, feeling isolated, and abandoned. Feeling empathy is a highly desired talent. Kind Dining addresses empathy in training sessions.

Food server-to-resident relationships and server-to-coworker relationships often need a heavy dose of reconnection to company values. Empathy is often listed as a core company value in many senior living communities. Hanging posters to remind staff of these company values is not enough.

Encourage coworkers to see the extra effort their teammates are working under, to lighten the load by giving praise with a positive comment or cheerful, sincere compliment. This is part of building strong coworker relationships by showing empathy. The rapport we extend to each other is often a reflection of company values.

It is the company’s responsibility to hire a sufficient number of serving staff and give them the skills needed to perform at their top level. The administration that is aware of the food servers’ critical obligations can show empathy and extend welcome support. The absence of a server must not affect the quality of service to residents or overburden the other servers.

The team of servers must be allowed to give their top performance. They cannot do that if the community is understaffed. Other staff needs to be willing to fill in as food servers when an emergency arises when too many servers are absent. Other staff skills should be equivalent to the same standard of serving the regular food serving team’s skills. Quality of life and resident satisfaction is always the priority and must never be compromised. Kind Dining training prepares all staff for emergencies when their service is called upon. This level of training for all staff is what creates great companies out of good ones.

When the food serving staff uses their skills, tending to comfort and keeping the residents happy and content, especially under the strain of COVID 19, it is the duty of top-level administration to take note and convey their appreciation to the team. Sincere compliments that excellent service has been noticed is one of the best rewards a high-level administration can give.

Our B Kind® Tip: Remember, just by coming to work today, your food servers make a difference.

Do your food servers understand and use empathy?

What are you communicating without realizing it?

Looking at it from a resident’s point of view, after their own grooming, followed by waiting for hours for their next meal, what do they see when you enter their room? Can they rely on an enthusiastic “Hello, Mr./Mrs. …, How are you doing today?”  Can they see a smile behind the mask being worn? The smile that moves up to your eyes where everyone can see it while hearing it in your voice? Do you use a lively step into the room so they know you are truly as happy to see them as they are seeing you? It’s vital that you mean it when you say you are happy to be bringing their meal. Your voice reveals how you feel even more than the words you use. Guaranteed you will feel better using a chipper tone of voice while you are extending a happy word to the resident. It’s human nature.

Using an upbeat attitude is a choice, one that can be learned through practice even if you have heavy problems waiting for you elsewhere. It’s a way of tucking your own woes into a little pocket that you can bring out later when you need it. They don’t have to be foremost in your mind when you are serving meals. You will find facing your own problems easier by starting with the confidence you carried throughout your workday. Kind Dining® training teaches how to make choices, how practicing hospitality lightens your own load. You will be improving the quality of the meals you serve without changing a single thing on your resident’s tray. 

Basic training of your food serving staff is an investment that remains with practice until it becomes part of your food server’s natural attitude. This improvement in your food serving staff will make a significant difference to your residents.  Making and keeping residents happy in these trying times is a gift you can easily give them. Provide your residents with nutritional, tempting dishes, eye-appealing to whet the appetite, and top it off with pleasant, effervescent food servers whose presence will be remembered after they have moved on to serve the next resident. Your food server can make their day!

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Non-verbal communication is indispensable to great service.