For food service managers, developing assisted living food menus can be a challenge, as residents at assisted living facilities can be a tough crowd to please. As the Baby Boomers retire and embrace group living, they come with high expectations of what food should be. Facility managers, faced with high costs, government nutrition mandates, and the requirements of special diets, sometimes fail in the residents’ view to provide the tasty, ample food they want.
Complaints about Assisted Living Food Menus
The large population of people now entering retirement grew up in the “have it your way” era of fast food. In addition, as a result of traveling, they have more sophisticated palates and a sense of adventure about eating. They come into assisted living with expectations that the food will be good. Instead, the food becomes a top complaint at many facilities. Why?
- Not enough variety
- Poor cooking techniques
- Doesn’t taste like homemade
- Portions too small
- Not enough choice
- Not enough seasoning
When there are resident councils in place, residents bring the complaints to the group and expect changes from management.
Accommodating Resident Food Preferences with Computerized Menus
Many food service managers find that computerized menus can help keep residents happy while allowing them to also keep a handle on USDA requirements, special dietary concerns, and cost. Recipes that are popular can be put in the rotation often, while some that are not can be offered occasionally and made in small quantities to please those who like them.
Menu programs also allow food served to accommodate varied tastes and Boomer appetites for international foods. With thousands of recipes available, the software can find recipes from the ethnic cuisines of the world along with the nutrition and cost breakdowns. A chef who wanted to test how the residents liked the recipes could easily figure the right amount of ingredients for a select number of residents.
Computerized menus often have seasonal options to allow local managers to buy food from farmers markets and other local sources. Using fresh ingredients makes food taste more like homemade.
The ability of computerized menus to precisely figure what is needed allows a food service to offer a more personalized, bistro-like approach to dining. Some facilities offer a flex-approach to dining, where residents can choose restaurant dining, as well as a fast-casual option in the Gourmet Market, private dining elsewhere on the premises, and in-room dining. Different menus to accommodate preferences in dining style are manageable.
Increase Resident Satisfaction with Grove Menus
A good assisted-living facility aims to give residents what they expect, within guidelines of cost and dietary restrictions. While the facility can increase resident satisfaction by catering to the way residents enjoy eating, using computerized menus from Grove Menus offers people food they enjoy while making developing assisted living food menus a snap for food service managers.