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May 11, 2021

Fostering Transparency & Instilling Trust in Resident Families with Foodservice Technology

Any great relationship is built upon a foundation of trust. As a senior living operator, you see this every day from your residents who trust in you to provide the best care, to the trust you have for your team to carry out their responsibilities.

It’s no secret that resident families can be major influencers and decision makers when it comes to choosing a senior living or long term care community for their loved one. And when making an emotional decision like this, knowing that they can entrust you with the wellbeing of their loved one means the world.

Foodservice and nutrition is a major decision factor when it comes to selecting a home, and families want to feel confident that their loved will receive nourishing plates and personalized care meal after meal. But – when they can’t always visit, or be a “fly on the wall” of a resident’s life at your community, how can you provide that transparency and assure that their loved one is in the best of hands?

With the right foodservice technology solutions, you have the opportunity to offer them a virtual ‘front row seat’ to everything they want to know, from your tasty menu selections right down to the nutrition offered in each meal.

We invite you to dive into the importance of using technology to build trusting relationships with families, followed by all of ways you can use dietary technologies to offer full foodservice transparency, and keep that trusting relationship going strong for years to come.

The rise of digital relationship building

According to McKinsey & Company, due to COVID-19, "digital adoption has taken a quantum leap at both the organizational and industry levels". That means, not only are we seeing our seniors picking up more tablets, but we’re also seeing their families getting more comfortable with technology due to factors like an increase in working from home.

Father in blue shirt showing his young daughter his cellphone and computer

Families now more than ever are getting comfortable with creating connections and seeking information to make important decisions, virtually. And as a community, it’s up to you to ensure you’re providing an online experience that allows them to connect and engage with you in similar ways to visiting in person.

One of the most effective ways to get started is through your foodservice – and with the following digital tools in place, showing off your incredible mealtimes will be easier than ever.

Foodservice Technologies That Will Help You Foster Trusting Relationships

1. Nutrition Portals offer a virtual “taste” of your foodservice

Building a virtual, trusting relationship with prospective families often starts with your website. Think of it as making a great first impression – because, these days, it often is!

Including a quick paragraph about your foodservice on your website simply isn’t enough anymore. When a family is searching for the right community, they want tangible proof that they can trust you to deliver nutritious, delicious varieties paired with opportunities for celebration, fun and connection week after week.

Sample menu board displaying menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner

On top of boosting your foodservice content with testimonials or staff profiles, including a link to your in-depth 'Nutrition Portal' is a great way for families to have an inside view of your foodservice experience.

The best Nutrition Portals can be custom-branded and integrate with your communities’ menus, activities, catering and more, so prospective and current families can:

  • View your weekly or daily menu including optional diet order details
  • See any upcoming community activities or special food events from Live Performances to a special Holiday Meal
  • Place special orders or catering requests such as their loved one’s favourite cake for their upcoming Birthday visit
  • Read stories about what makes your foodservice experience special; such as your farm-to-table initiatives or community garden

2. Family Portals provide transparency and ongoing engagement

Families want to know that their loved one’s nutritional needs are being met, diet orders are being followed and that they’re receiving quality ingredients and service at each meal.

And while you know that all of the above is happening, you have the opportunity to gift families with the peace of mind they’re looking for with a customizable Family Portal.

Couple smiling on couch as they look on their computer and talk to family over the phone

With permissions set by you, the portal gives them a remote view of daily menus, right down to the details like specific ingredients and nutrition in each item. This will give them trust and confidence in knowing that their parent or grandparent is always receiving a well-balanced meal; or allow them to track selections for improved choices. This ultimately boosts trust and engagement with current families, and shows prospective families that you value transparency and engagement (so be sure to mention that you offer this feature on your website!).

BONUS: You can take mealtime monitoring one step further with an integrated Service Dashboard. Especially helpful for in-room ordering and delivery, staff can scan meals and snacks with handheld devices at the exact moment they arrive to the resident. This way, families not only know that their loved one has received a nutritious lunch, but the exact time it arrived for them to enjoy.

Woman looking down at her cellphone taking picture of yogurt cup

3. Emergency Preparedness Technology boosts peace of mind

How will you ensure my loved one continues to receive the best care in the case of an emergency?

If it hasn’t already, this is sure to be a common question that comes up with prospective and current resident families. The onset of COVID-19 has only amplified the importance of emergency preparedness, and there’s no doubt that they’ll be looking to you for answers.

Woman in pink striped shirt and facial mask holding a basket full of food with the help of healthcare worker who is wearing purple gloves and face shield

Having the right foodservice management software on your side will help make your contingency plan that much more secure. With solutions like Advance Ordering and Self Ordering, you can let families know that you have the tools in place to navigate unforeseen instances such as tray service or in-room dining restrictions, while still offering the resident quality meals and freedom of choice.

Computer monitor and tablet displaying advanced ordering software

Wherever possible, share your mealtime innovation and emergency preparedness plans with your current and prospective families via your website, social media and e-newsletter. This will help them have that peace of mind in knowing that they can trust you with the safety and wellbeing of the ones they love, no matter the circumstance.

Building a trusting relationship with families is kinda like building a solid foundation of a house. When the transparency and trust is valued, the whole structure remains strong! And the right tools and technology are the perfect building blocks for developing that critical foundation.

And the best news is: everything you need for your foodservice repertoire is available with MealSuite. If you’re interested in exploring the solutions outlined above, contact us to connect with our technology experts for a personal demo.

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