18 Dec Raiding the Pantry: Lessons from the Holiday Season
Home for the holidays:
The phrase conjures up images of heaping dinner platters, the smell of fresh-baked pie or cookies, a cozy fireside dining spot and a glass of wine or mug of hot chocolate…
Whatever the concept means to you personally, it’s usually a powerful one.
The holidays are the perfect time of year to remind everyone involved with your organization that you’ve created a unique and beautiful community together. Showing off your team’s culinary skills can be an excellent way to do this and can doubly serve as a point of differentiation for your community.
Every meal sends a message, and it’s important to know what message your community is sending, especially during the holiday season. “How is the food?” is one of those questions asked every day by prospective residents, and it can make or break your community’s reputation. When handled well, it can be part of your identity, and in a very real sense, an amazing dining program differentiates your organization and builds census while improving your bottom line.
Almost everyone looks forward to their next meal. As we age and our activities narrow, for some, food is THE activity of the day. And yet many communities struggle to consistently provide quality, enticing dining options.
Dining is one of the most complex areas of your business to manage— and so it’s no mystery why one of the most important aspects of resident life is also one of the most difficult to get right.
This holiday season, we’re giving out a few ideas for ways to provide the most home-like, seasonal dining experience for your residents and kick start prioritizing your menu in the new year:
- Host a festive dinner for residents’ friends and families! Offer a different dining experience from the everyday, that residents are excited to invite their loved ones to. Maybe that means serving a holiday meal family style, or carving ham tableside. The holiday season is an opportunity to highlight your organization’s dedication to providing an exceptional environment for residents.
- Survey residents’ favorite local dishes and eateries. Pull answers to inspire future menu innovation.
- Work with a culinary coach to quickly and effectively revamp your dining program, improving resident dining experiences and cutting costs at the same time.
- Explore fresh and local ingredient options, even better if you have space to grow some produce on your campus. Even if there’s only space or resources to start a small herb garden that the chef can use, it communicates to prospects that you care that they have fresh and beautiful food.
- Try something trendy. What’s the hot new food that everyone is buzzing about? Maybe you have residents who have heard that Poke bowls are becoming really popular and you give those a try. Whatever it is, trying something new shows residents and prospects that you are committed to providing an interesting dining experience that is can evolve with changing tastes.
In the new year, revitalizing or overhauling your dining program can be part of a larger rebranding process. Let’s chat about it!