Today’s aging population wants more from the senior living landscape than what nursing homes and long-term care facilities have traditionally provided. The days of an institutional, medical environment are on the decline. Residents want a sense of community, especially when it comes to food service programs. In order to meet the desire of the residents, senior facilities must rethink how they approach the dining experience and food service equipment. From upgraded commercial refrigerators to restaurant-style dining, here’s how senior facility food service is upgrading and evolving its look.
Upgraded Kitchen Equipment
Kitchens need more than an oven, range, and steamer to satisfy the needs of the residents. Since space is often limited, multifunctional equipment like combo ovens helps staff do more with less. As senior living facilities move to keep up with the hospitality industry, energy-efficient equipment enable made-from-scratch cooking methods and open the door for more robust dining options.
Serving the senior population comes with increased concerns for foodborne illnesses, so stainless steel equipment that’s easy to clean and maintain is ideal. Residents will have varied dietary needs, so kitchen equipment should be adaptable to different menus and dining occasions.
Cafes, bistros, delis, and other quick service options are growing in popularity at senior living facilities. Countertop refrigerators help showcase products without taking up too much space, and units with automatic health locks are ideal for areas that are unattended by facility staff.
A Restaurant-Style Approach
Studies have shown that resident satisfaction goes down when facilities use in-room and tray dining programs. With restaurant-style dining, residents order from menus, use china and flatware, and enjoy the social experience of dining with other residents. When food is made-to-order rather than prepared in advance in batches, community residents also get the opportunity to form better relationships with chefs and waitstaff.
A Multi-Faceted Dining Experience
Revamping the foodservice experience goes beyond implementing restaurant-style dining. Many senior facilities have seen success implementing programs like holding food tastings to get resident feedback, utilizing local food resources, and offering made-to-order menus. Cooking contests, food demos with action stations, and themed menus emphasize the social aspect of dining. Investing in mobile steam carts introduces the option of decentralized dining, giving residents more choice and flexibility when it comes to the timing and location of their meals.
Senior living residents want to be able to enjoy their dining experience, which is why many facilities are evolving their food service to replicate restaurants or the comfort of home. Imbera carries a wide selection of commercial refrigerators that cool with maximum efficiency while using a minimum of space. To learn more about how you can keep food products safe while increasing resident satisfaction, contact us today.