Do You Have Blinders on Your Food & Beverage Operations?

March 21, 2022

In today’s environment of rebuilding census, hiring & retaining the best people, cost cutting, and supply chain concerns (just to name a few), one of the things that our food & beverage leaders can often overlook is the need for on-going self assessment. Often those who oversee the operation on a daily basis are so close to their business that they don’t see the opportunities for improvement-the proverbial “blinders”. Because of this, operations can get stagnant or even worse, begin to fall off.

So how do we counter this? It all comes back to identifying the critical areas that need to be monitored, creating the expected standard, and then monitoring it for consistency and accountability. The other important piece of the puzzle is to identify what is important to monitor, and then create an easy to use system of assessing their status. Here are five key areas that every senior living food & beverage leader and dining manager should be including in their assessment process and tools. As you build out your own approach, here are a few areas and thoughts to help you create the best possible system for your own dining operations:

Resident/Guest Experience: Many senior living operators do resident satisfaction surveys on the overall resident experience within the community, but these are usually no more frequent than quarterly to avoid survey fatigue. This won’t work in a dining operation because you need instantaneous feedback to make adjustments and provide coaching. Maximize your dining committee to institute a resident driven survey system, as well as implement regular daily/weekly flash surveys.

Product Quality: We are focused on using resident feedback to improve our menus and our offerings. But another quick and easy way to ensure that we always have a quality product going out the door is to implement a line check process. We are often afraid to add paperwork and tasks to our daily operation to avoid bogging it down, but this one is a must. Make it a recordable process and make sure every employee knows how to do it

Financial Performance: If you are reviewing the financials at the end of the month to see how you did, it’s too late. While many operators don’t produce financial statements until the end of the operating month, food & beverage leaders have to have a system for managing their labor and food costs daily. Implementing a system or technology to assist with monitoring these areas will let you stay in front and make important financial decisions. And share these with your team to let them know where they can assist in keeping costs in line.

Staff Training & Development: Training and development is a key area for food & beverage managers to assess. Are required certifications up to date? Are your daily & weekly trainings being attended, especially if you do them on night and weekend shifts for part0time employees? Regularly assessing your training status and adjusting your needs here will help you stay in front of any quality or service issues.

Food Safety & Sanitation: Food safety & sanitation is an obvious and critical area of assessment. The key here is to conduct the walkthroughs regularly, but sporadically. Do your food safety audits at varying times of day, and on different days of the week. Doing this will allow you to find any area where staff are less attentive to it, and identify training needs. It may also let you better understand who your food safety champions are. These employees can take frontline ownership in ensuring that everyone knows and executes food safety as a regular part of their job.

The most important aspect of any self assessment process and tools is that they create regular and routine accountability. Having a repeatable and easy to use process will allow you to keep your blinders off and keep you creating and executing amazing experiences for your residents and guests.

Let us know how the team at Trestle Hospitality Concepts can help your senior living food & beverage teams set your table for success by implementing ideas like these and more.