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Ensuring Dining Satisfaction…Even Through Challenges

Christy Edwards
Christy Edwards | January 21, 2021

How would your residents, staff and family members describe your dining program? How well did you or have you adapted to the recent disruption in communal dining?

Although the pandemic has shaken up dining experiences, now is the best time to determine the level of satisfaction for your culinary program. Dining programs are one of the top marketable features in senior living communities. Delivering great resident experiences is key to resident satisfaction, referrals and retention.

Why do we need to hear from our customers during this challenging time?

The dining program is one of the top marketable features in senior living communities. Delivering satisfying resident experiences is key to resident referrals and retention. Guests consistently say that the dining program is an important part of their overall experience when staying at a healthcare community. According to The Pioneer Network’s, The New Dining Practice Standards, the most frequent questions and concerns CMS receives from regulators and providers consistently focus on dining and food policies in nursing homes. The J.D. Power 2020 Senior Living Customer Satisfaction Study found that 86% of family member decision-makers have suggestions for improving the dining experience, with quality and variety of food being at the top of the list. Portion size and speed of service are other areas of opportunity for the senior dining industry according to the study. We need to find new ways to serve our residents and help them feel confident and safe. The dining experience must overpower the fear this pandemic may have left on our seniors.

How do we find out what our customers think?

Consider a variety of ways to gather feedback from your customers. Ask about food quality, variety, food temperature, timeliness of service, portion sizes, dining room atmosphere and customer service. In some instances, you might find open-ended questions valuable; and other times, a yes/no type survey might work best. Offer anonymous options for customers to communicate their dining wishes, such as a resident and/or family survey, comment cards or a suggestion box, phone calls or in-person communication if possible, meetings, focus groups and tastings.

The level of satisfaction with your dining program has a lot to do with the level of engagement you have with them. The more communication, the better. Staying in touch with your residents, family and staff about dining concerns and ideas is always important, but it is especially important as we continue to navigate through these trying times. Be sure to let everyone know how much you value their input and that you are available for anything they may need.

What next?

Contact your Martin Bros. representative for resources on conducting dining surveys, setting up resident council meetings, conducting tastings and other ways to evaluate your dining program. Martin Bros. is ready to help you create satisfying resident dining experiences!



Questions or comments about this article? Feel free to contact us!


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