Dish!Blog

Redefining Senior Living Dining

Christy Edwards
Christy Edwards | April 15, 2019

Senior living dining is rapidly being redefined. More and more baby boomers expect higher-quality, upscale menus.

How upscale or trendy is your menu? What types of comments do you hear about your menu when viewed by residents, team members, guests and prospective customers?

Simple, non-descriptive menu items such as baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, bread/marg and frosted cake are no longer enough to tempt this decade of seniors.

Your menu choices and descriptions should entice your residents and guests just as much as the quality of your food should satisfy them.

Consider using tempting language and new ingredients to upscale your menu and dining program. Change your currently menued baked chicken, for instance, to Honey Mustard Chicken. Turn your chili into Turkey Black Bean Chili. Take your meatloaf up a notch to BBQ Meatloaf.

Start simple. If your guests are not ready for Red Pepper Coulis, for example, then start with Tossed Greens, Creamy Coleslaw, Seasonal Fresh Fruit or Herbed Baked Chicken.

Then, on occasion, feature a menu item that takes it to the next level! Add in a Zesty Turkey Pesto Sandwich, Flatbread Pizza, Chicken Piccata, Chardonnay Roast Turkey, Catalina Carrots, Garlic Mashed Cauliflower, Quinoa & Kale Blend or Tuscan Crusted Cod.

Make sure to use familiar ingredients to describe new, unique menu items. Listing the name of an uncommon item without any supporting information alienates the many people who are not familiar with it, and some are afraid to ask for clarification. If you have an uncommon menu item, you might include the name of the main ingredient, a description of how the ingredient tastes and the food category to which the ingredient belongs. For example, Blistered Shishito Peppers are bite-size, mild peppers with grilled lemon and flake salt.

Also, go ahead and mention a brand name if an ingredient is supplied by a well-known and respected brand. Adding a few brand names among your descriptions shows that you are buying “the good stuff,” which in your guests’ minds raises the value of all your menu items.

And don’t forget to introduce your residents and guests to new features by offering tastings and explanations of the new recipes and ingredients!

*Find all the highlighted menu items on Martin Bros. Mpower Menus!

Looking for more help with your dining program?
Click here to find about about an upcoming dining webinar!

"Always-Available Menus: To Infinity & Beyond" Webinar
Chef Steve Tiezzi, Martin Bros.
Wednesday, May 15
1:30 - 2:30 pm
Having trouble implementing an Always-Available Menu, or has it become "forever available"? Join us as we look at a few refreshing ideas. Approved for one general hour of continuing education for Certified Dietary Managers.

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