2021 Dining Trends in Long Term Care
Long Term Care has been turned upside down in 2020. So what does that mean for 2021? One thing is for sure, satisfaction with food service may be more important than ever before.
No one could have predicted the year that 2020 has brought. But one thing we do know, dining trends for choice and flexibility are at the very top of the trends list. The question for many operators is how exactly to implement these trends?
At DiningRD, we know a few things for certain, residents have the same expectations for food service as any other diner: the quality of the food they eat, the available menu options, the aesthetics, and the service they receive. It’s all about mimicking that perfect restaurant-style dining experience. And while some senior living communities have transitioned to this type of service, far too many are still serving up the status-quo.
Embrace the spirit of hospitality
We know now more than ever the importance food service plays in resident satisfaction. And like we said earlier, they’re willing to find it. Compared to five years ago, there is far more consumer choice now. Residents and their families can choose where they want to live. And while they are looking at a variety of factors, “how good the food is” has a significant role in the marketability of your long-term care facility.
If you’re looking at transitioning to a restaurant-style dining experience or beefing up your existing structure, the easiest thing to do is focus on these three components during your journey.
- Service — Your residents want to be the customer, and they want you to be their waiter or waitress. You are communicating with them and putting them first. You are focused on being professional and efficient in everything you do.
- Changing your menu to meet demand
- Relocating staff members based on peek times
- Honoring specialized diets
- Offering snacks, appetizers, or beverages before meals
- Speeding up service
- Choice — We are all familiar with person-centered care because of the regulations we follow. But we should be customer-centered with our dining experience. Our customer isn’t just our resident who lives with us; it’s their friends and family who are visitors and our fellow staff members. And they should all have a choice.
- When they are eating
- Where they are eating
- Who they want to eat with
- What food they have to choose from
- Quality — Think about when you go to your favorite restaurant. If you always order the meatloaf, you expect to have the same consistent dish and quality of meatloaf every time you go there. News flash: your residents expect the same quality.
- Plate presentation
- Quality ingredients
- Your cooks are following recipes correctly
- Consistently good-tasting meals every time
Your residents deserve a successful dining operation — and so do you!
Achieving the perfect restaurant-style dining experience is a delicate balancing act that requires you to look at everything from what’s on your menu to your staff, budget, service limitations, tools and resources already on-hand, resident needs, etc. If you’re just starting on your journey, our suggestion is to start with small goals and make incremental changes.
This is not something you can achieve overnight — it’s a journey. And we are here to help you get there!
Health Technologies is committed to improving dining and nutrition services in healthcare communities through expert clinical consulting, innovative menu solutions, and training support for food service teams. Everything you need from us can be found with a quick phone call to one of our helpful professionals. This includes more information on our state-of-the-art TableSide dining manager menu program.