Business Insights

Senior Dining: Elevating the Experience

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Resident dining in a senior living community is much more than a meal. It’s social connection. It’s fuel for the body and soul. It’s simultaneously a comfortable routine and a break from monotony. Here are a few creative and effective ways to refresh your culinary model to go beyond meal service and meet the diverse needs of your community.

Room Service

With the increase of residents eating in-room, tapping into Menu Wizard+ Tray Ticket and Menu Wizard + Selective Dining will improve the dining experience.

The Menu Wizard+ Tray Ticket selection sheet allows residents the option to customize their meal, giving them a sense of ownership over their meal and likely increasing consumption. Menu Wizard + Selective Dining takes it one step further by involving staff interaction to complete the residents order using a tablet device. Once the order is complete, the resident’s selections will print for the back of the house staff to plate up and deliver.

Cart Service

Everyone turns their head for a rolling food cart. Bring a little variety to your residents with a dessert, beverage, appetizer or snack cart. Not only will this bring them joy, it ultimately reduces food and beverage waste when residents make their own choices.

Cart service also provides the opportunity for some fun. Theme your dessert cart to be an ice cream sundae bar, cake or pie day, or a make-your-own parfait. Host a coffee cart with fresh hot and iced options as well as flavored creams to provide a little customization for a top-consumed beverage.

With many residents eating alone, a staffed food or beverage cart is also a great way for kitchen staff to provide some comforting interaction with residents and survey their preferences to improve kitchen operating efficiencies.

Doorway Dining

Bring the kitchen to your residents and stimulate their senses with a doorway dining experience using a portable cooking station. Made-to-order omelets, a pasta station or a waffle bar are perfect options for a satisfying hot-off-the stove/griddle meal.

Meal Plan Extensions

Offering residents meal plan extensions is another great way to provide variety and customization. Do-it-yourself meal kits and grocery delivery are great options for independent living residents, with meal delivery a convenient option for both assisted and independent living residents.

Food-Inspired Activities

Bring the Food Network to your residents with a chef cooking demonstration. Select a dish to demonstrate and then offer a do-it-yourself meal kit for interested residents to take with them.

Another great social option is to offer residents a family or friend mealtime video call, with assistance setting this up. Conduct a training session or offer residents the option to sign-up for mealtime “tech support” to encourage social connection even while social distancing.

Perfect The Plate

Regardless of which strategies you deem best for your community, always remember that presentation is everything. It improves resident consumption and satisfaction, resulting in improved nutrition. Check out our Perfecting Plate Presentation blog for ideas to improve meal and tray appearance with colorful plates, placemats, garnishes and even personal messages to really go the extra mile.

Reach out to your Shamrock Foods Sales Representative or email the Menu Team directly at to help identify the ideal opportunities for your community.

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